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Sapphire Ballroom News

April 2020

Get moving to keep going!
(You can do this)

LAptop dance love
Hello Dancers! Are you enjoying all that isolation? I’m not either, but to take a line from what might be my favorite song right now “we can’t get on each other’s nerves if we're dancing constantly.”

In this newsletter, we’re gonna give you the resources to do just that, and lots of reasons (beyond the one above) why you should.

I tell you, this virus has thrown us for a loop. We have had to completely reinvent ourselves to try and stay afloat. And that would not work if it weren’t for the generosity of the Montgomery County Christmas Store, our neighbor on Main Street and the owner of our building. They forgave our rent next month, the single largest bill we have. I cried when they told me. :) I hope all of you will help us show our appreciation and try to donate something during the coming Christmas season!

Meanwhile, we might as well dance.

If you get moving, it will help you to keep going!
What does an Online Dance Class by Sapphire look like?
4 online resources to keep learning for free (or pretty cheap)
Help keep us afloat while social distancing is keeping us apart
Music to dance to - at home

Upcoming Events


If you get moving, it will help you to keep going!

As we all face the uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought into our lives, many of us are really missing the connections, exercise, and community support we get from dancing with each other! One of the very real concerns about the “stay at home” order is whether we can do it long enough to flatten the curve enough to make a difference. It looks like it’s working, but how long can we keep it going? Aside from the economic impacts, everyone is getting antsy with cabin fever. Here in Virginia, we are facing a 13-week (or ¼ of a year!) quarantine. And we are just a few weeks into this time.

This is where getting moving can help you get through. Engaging in moderate aerobic physical activity can...

  • help decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety,
  • distract you from stressors
  • provide a feeling of control, and
  • produce a sense of accomplishment.

Learning a new skill can result in many of the same outcomes, and has the added benefit of providing a mental challenge and distraction - a crucial element for those unable to work, volunteer, or participate in normal activities right now. Or for those who need a mental escape from the rigors of an “essential” position.

All of these outcomes are more likely to result in people staying satisfied, if not fully happy, while self-isolating at home. Dancing, jogging, cycling, enthusiastic gardening, and even vigorous house-cleaning (like speed vacuuming or old-fashioned mopping) all count as moderate aerobic activity. So, we here at Sapphire have joined in the movement and adopted a new little saying: “Break a sweat to help keep your cool during isolation!”

Even though we can’t welcome you into the studio or to a lesson at the Blacksburg Community Center for a few more months, we encourage you to use your own homes and backyards to get a little movement every day. And help the people around you too - ask those you care about what they’ve been doing, offer to be a virtual work-out buddy (walking on the treadmill while talking on the phone), or schedule a virtual dance jam over Facetime, Google, or Zoom.

And of course, because we are dancers we have to point out that dance is a great option for solo physical activity at home, even if you don’t have a partner handy. You don’t need any special equipment and can select from a variety of options to fit your mood or desired outcomes. Use technique exercises to focus on building specific muscle groups or just put on some fast tunes and free-dance for a great cardio workout. If you’re not sure how to get started, check out some of the resources below.

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What does an online lesson from Sapphire look like?

Teaching from homeAt Sapphire, we are using Zoom for online classes.

If you haven’t used Zoom yet, let me tell you - the reason it’s so popular is that it’s so easy to use. When you register for a class or schedule a private lesson, you will receive an email with a URL in it along with a passcode. Tap on that URL and you will be taken to a “waiting room” until the teacher or host lets you into the meeting. The default settings seem to have your camera and microphone off, so you will want to find the buttons to turn those on before you start. Even if you don't turn them on - it’s good to have the option.

You don’t have to have an account to take a lesson or join a class. You don’t have to have a special camera or microphone, just a computer with a webcam, phone, or tablet with wifi access.
Right now we have 4 types of lesson to offer (more details on our website

  • Online Private Lessons.
  • Intermediate Workshops, Mondays at 7pm.
  • Line Dancing with Lisa, Saturday 4/18 at 7pm.
  • Beginner Workshops on Fridays at 7pm. No experience or partners required!

Dining roomIn all these cases, you’re going to see a couple things on your screen:

1. My dining room (or another instructor’s, depending on the class). During the day, my husband, two kids, myself, and my dog all camp out in this room doing school work, work work, and napping (that would be the dog :) ). During the evening stuff gets put away and the table folded up. There’s still going to be clutter and the lighting is a little meh. It’s not ideal, but it works and I get to dance with you.

2. A smiling face. We are dance teachers at heart and it feels so good to see you and to be teaching… you’re sure to get a grin on the other side of the connection.

A private lesson online3. If you’re taking a group, you will see lots of thumbnails of the other people in the class. You’ll get the chance to talk to them using the chat window before class starts. This is a great time to reconnect with people you haven’t seen or to make new friends. To keep your teacher in the big window, double click on his or her thumbnail.
You can also use the controls in the bottom left corner to turn on and off your audio and video. Usually in group lessons, we turn off all the students’ microphones except for when you have a question. That makes the audio better for everyone. You can leave your video off if you don’t want other people watching you.
True Story: I have been taking classes with Dance Insanity ( see more about them below) over the last few weeks and I left my video off the first time I took one of their classes. I was intimidated to join people from all over the world in a class with teachers I didn’t really know and hiding a little made me feel better. It’s ok - I still did the lesson and now I’m fine with having my video on. I even ask questions!

During your lesson we can work on lots of things depending on your interests or the class plan, the space you have available, and if you have a partner: balance and timing, spinning, step patterns, body shape and posture, musicality, and (when it’s possible) dancing with a partner.

There’s so much we can do even if you are dancing by yourself in socks in your kitchen.

Things you won't see:

I promise, you won’t see me in my pajamas and I won’t turn into a potato.

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4 online resources to keep learning for free (or pretty cheap)

So that’s what online learning from Sapphire looks like; what about other places?

I have been learning by video for years. I absolutely prefer in person, but sometimes that’s not an option. Like when I had a week to learn Paso Doble and no one to ask for help. Or I can’t afford to travel to the cool events with the awesome pros. Or now. Over the years, I have collected a few resources that I really enjoy and will use over and over again. Here are 4 of my favorites:

West Coast Swing Online
West Coast Swing Online

These guys are producing an incredible amount of free content every week on YouTube. Many of their lessons are available in a “live” format where they will absolutely answer questions that come to them by way of comments on their YouTube Channel ( or Facebook page ( ). They are charming and friendly, incorporate lots of humour and technique in their lessons, and will leave you ready to learn more. They have three websites:,, and brand new, where I hope they will be focusing more on Ballroom styles.

Country Dance X

Country Dance X

Obviously focusing on country dances, this free YouTube Channel features (mostly) Anthony and Rose, who tech a bunch of technique along with some really incredible moves in West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, Hustle, Cha Cha, Waltz, Nightclub 2-Step, and of course Country Two-Step. They are fun, easy to learn from, and will usually answer questions posted in the comments on their videos. They just published a video on Two-Stepping at home.

Dance Insanity

Dance Insanity

This site is kind of an on-line studio for award-winning dance couple Tytus and LiWen. They offer lots of free, fun, and funny videos on their YouTube Channel ( which is how I found them. But the thing I like the best about them is their on-line classes through Zoom. I've taken several of their international Latin technique classes (on my own, no partner) and feel like each one makes a significant difference in my dancing. They are not free - like Sapphire, this is their business and they are trying to cope with the current reality. But the classes are very reasonably priced and incredibly valuable. Plus there’s all those free videos too!

Ballroom Dancers .com

Ballroom Dancers provides and extremely clean and comprehensive collection of common Ballroom, Latin, Swing, and "Street" styles. Access to their archive usually costs $100/year, but right now they have made their entire, enormous library of videos available to everyone for free. If you want competition approved moves, this is the place to go. They also feature a new "Variation of the Week" so you can always find something new.


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Help keep us afloat while social distancing is keeping us apart!

In an effort to keep all of our wonderful dancers safe and healthy we have closed our physical doors, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dance together! We are happy to offer a way to allow each of our community members to continue developing their dance skills and help keep our ballroom afloat while abiding by the COVID-19 guidelines.

Please take a look at your options to support our studio::

West Coast Swing Online

1. Take some of our online classes or start private lessons -

Since we know that there are many of you feeling the financial constraints of this quarantine just as we are, Most of our online learning opportunities offer 3 or 4 differnt levels of payment while receiving the same dance instruction: small, regular, extra-large and superhero. Each one of these levels gives you access to group workshops or private lessons with one of our amazing instructors.


eGift Cards

2. Share the Gift of Dance with a Sapphire Ballroom Gift Card -

The purchase of any eGift Card provides our studio support during these uncertain times and helps rebuild the NRV dance community in the long run. Please consider giving your friends and family something to look forward to by sharing the gift of dance with them!

Dancing heart

3. Spread the Word and Share our Online Learning Opportunity

If you are unable at this time to contribute to our efforts financially, you can still be an incredible asset to the studio by sharing our online learning program with anyone that may be brought joy from dance, even if just in their living room.

Thank you all so much for your continued support of our dance studio over the years, and we are so grateful for your consideration to support us during these difficult times.
We look forward to staying connected with all your smiling faces as we weather this quarantine together!


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Music to dance to - at home!

I have been working pretty hard over the last few weeks updating and adding to Sapphire’s library of music lists on YouTube. We actually have 21 playlists of “Songs For Practice,” started years ago.

So, this month I’m going to point you in the direction of a handful of these playlists instead of putting together a new playlist. Additionally, I’m going to work on getting regular mini dance party playlists posted every week. They will be posted on our facebook page (, hopefully every Friday, because we need a dance party on Fridays, right?

Bachata Playlist


Bachata is a relatively simple dance with a lot of potential. It can easily be done in a small space and has a kind of a tropical feel that would go well with sunset or a beverage on the deck. To learn Bachata, check out the Beginner Workshop on May 1 (details below).

Fox Trot Playlist

Fox Trot

Fox Trot is steeped in classic ballroom elegance, except when it shows a casual side. Big band sounds and a walking bass line (hope I’m using that term correctly!) will get you bobbing your head and breathing a little easier than a moment ago. To learn Fox Trot, check out the beginner workshop on May 8 (details below).

Hustle Playlist

Hustle (4-Count)

Hustle is one of the simplest of swing styles and it has some of the most modern music. In fact, if you turn on the radio to a music station, there’s about a 50% chance they’ll be playing a Hustle. If you know Hustle, this dance does not take a lot of space and practicing in a hallway will help your slot. If you don’t know hustle, get up and boogie any way you want. :)

Nightclub 2-Step Playlist

Nightclub 2-Step

Nightclub 2 is the perfect slow dance and the romantic half of it’s music makes wonderful wedding songs. Unfortunately, a lot of Nightclubs are sad, so be forewarned - there’s some heartbreak in this playlist.

Swing Playlist

Triple Time Swing

Triple Time or East Coast Swing is what I call the “big daddy” of swing styles. It’s energetic, up-beat music will get your toes tapping. And if you want to learn how to tap them swing style, check out the Beginner Workshop on May 15 (details below). The Workshop on April 24 will introduce you to it’s somewhat easier brother Single Time Swing, if you want to check that out too.





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April and (some) May ONLINE Dance Classes:

Events are hosted by Sapphire Ballroom & Dance Center.

Online classes are easy, once you try it. You do not need a partner; you do not need a fancy space. You do not have to share your picture or video.

All events require a Zoom log in which we will provide you, but not a Zoom account. To get more details and the log in information, please email us at

All events offer a variety of payment amounts. If you are strapped for funds, out of work or whatever, please still dance with us! If you have the means, please consider paying a little extra for your classes, like you would tip a server at your favorite restaurant. It will go towards paying our rent and utilities until we can get back on the dancefloor (hopefully in June!). We love you all and believe you deserve the chance to dance as often as possible.

Email your registration with your name(s) and workshop date before the day of the workshop. You will get a reply with details on how to join the class as well as a link for payment soon after we receive your email.

Upper Level

Monday, April 13, 7pm - Cha Cha What’s Next Workshop
Learn a short, repeatable snippet of Cha Cha choreography and then dive into the stuff that gives this dance its sass.
Suggested cost: $9/person
Prerequisite: Level 1 Cha Cha
Please register by 4/12.


    Friday, April 17, 7pm - Friday Beginner Workshop - Rumba
Learn the beginning steps for Rumba, a chill, useful dance, on your own or with a partner.
Suggested cost: $6/person
Prerequisite: None! This is just for beginners, just for you!
Please register by 4/16.
It's Line Dance Time   Saturday, April 18, 7pm - Line Dance with Lisa
Join Lisa for an hour of line dancing. With an exciting combination of beginner friendly and more challenging dances, as well as tips on how to jazz up any choreography, this workshop will get your toes tapping in no time.
Suggested cost: $6/person
Prerequisite: None! Beginner and advanced line dancers will find lots to love at this workshop.
Please register by 4/17.
Upper Level

Monday, April 20, 7pm - Waltz What’s Next Workshop
This may be the only time Debbi doesn’t care if you take big steps!
Suggested cost: $9/person
Prerequisite: Level 1 Waltz
Please register by 4/19.


    Friday, April 24, 7pm - Friday Beginner Workshop - Single Time Swing
Learn the beginning steps for Single Time Swing, get bopping to some great music on your own or with a partner.
Suggested cost: $6/person
Prerequisite: None! This is just for beginners, just for you!
Please register by 4/23.
Upper Level

Monday, April 27, 7pm - Salsa What’s Next Workshop
Learn a short, repeatable snippet of Salsa choreography and then learn to do it faster! ;-D
Suggested cost: $9/person
Prerequisite: Level 1 Salsa
Please register by 4/26.


    Friday, May 1, 7pm - Friday Beginner Workshop - Bachata
Learn the beginning steps for Bachata, a happy dance that will fit in your kitchen. Learn on your own or with a partner.
Suggested cost: $6/person
Prerequisite: None! This is just for beginners, just for you!
Please register by 4/30.
Upper Level


Monday, May 4, 7pm - Rumba What’s Next Workshop
May the Fourth be with you as we revisit the first Solo Routine taught in this format - this time looking at it in reverse! It’s not harder, just different. And if you are lucky enough to have a partner in lockdown with you, you’ll be able to dance the two pieces together.
Suggested cost: $9/person
Prerequisite: Level 1 Rumba
Please register by 5/3.


    Friday, May 8, 7pm - Friday Beginner Workshop - Fox Trot
Learn the beginning steps for Fox Trot, a smooth, mellow dance. Usually Fox Trot takes a lot of space, but we’ll show you how to make it fit in your space. Learn on your own or with a partner.
Suggested cost: $6/person
Prerequisite: None! This is just for beginners, just for you!
Please register by 5/7.
Special Event  

Saturday, May 9 - Eddie + Adela! We are doing it!
Some details are still being worked out, but we are looking at having one workshop specifically geared toward dancing in your own body (no partner) and another one for couples which singles are still welcome to attend. More information available on our Facebook page
Please register by 5/7.

Upper Level

Monday, May 11, 7pm - Fox Trot What’s Next Workshop
Want to learn how to Fox Trot in your dining room? I’ve got the tricks and I’m willing to share.
Suggested cost: $9/person
Prerequisite: Level 1 Fox Trot
Please register by 5/10.



Friday, May 15, 7pm - Friday Beginner Workshop - Triple Time Swing
Learn the beginning steps for Triple Time Swing, the bouncy, groovy, big-daddy of swing styles. Learn on your own or with a partner, either way, you’re gonna break a sweat.
Suggested cost: $6/person
Prerequisite: None! This is just for beginners, just for you!
Please register by 5/14.


All of our online events are listed at

For more information about anything or to register for any of these classes, please email us at


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Thanks for reading; we hope you found something you liked. Until we see you again, happy dancing!

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Sapphire Ballroom & Dance Center
30 W Main Street, Suite C, Christiansburg, VA  24073 - 540-382-8782