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Dance Therapy By Rae Burgess, LPC, LCMHC

“Social dancing,

Rae and Husband at Nesselrod Dance, June 2023

in groups or pairs,

Rae and Husband at Nesselrod Dance, June 2023

offers an experience of real

Nesselrod Dance Party, June 2023

connection and growth.”

Photos taken by Sapphire Staff at Nesselrod on the New, June 11, 2023.

Psychology comes from Greek, meaning “the study of the soul.” As counselors, we study psychology to become experts on the psyche. We understand how synaptic pathways and neurotransmitters in the brain influence our emotions and behavior, and we also strive to see the world through your eyes, to appreciate what you value, empathize with your feelings, and help you connect to the things in life that feed your soul. As it turns out, dance is good for your psyche. In the literal sense, it’s good for your brain and body, and in a metaphorical way, it keeps your spirits up.

Research shows that physical activity increases brain health by improving learning, problem-solving, and emotional balance (Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, 2023). Dancing is one of the best forms of exercise and self-care because it gives you a good workout and a good time. Practicing new steps activates the learning center in the brain, while moving with the rhythm and music releases reward chemicals that enhance mood and relaxation. And because it’s fun, it’s easier to sustain as an exercise routine. Social dancing is not only a way to increase body movement and learn a new skill, it provides the added benefit of interaction with others.

Social dancing, in groups or pairs, offers an experience of real connection and growth. Humans have evolved an amazing capacity for attachment and relationship building, and we all have a strong need for belonging. Our brains crave oxytocin, a hormone that bonds people together and reduces stress levels (Biggers & Santos-Longhurst, 2018). The most effective way to increase oxytocin is through touch and eye contact, which is why social media doesn’t actually meet any of our social needs. It’s the equivalent of binging on junk food, when what we really need is the nourishment we get from face-to-face, eye-to-eye interactions. Dancing with a partner involves physical, emotional, and social engagement, which means you can take care of your mind, body, and spirit at the same time. It’s dance therapy!

If you want to do your psyche some good, you can join group classes and social dances at Sapphire Ballroom in downtown Christiansburg.

There’s a Beginner Workshop Fridays at 7 PM.

Summer Road Trip Dance Party is coming up on Saturday, July 8 at 7:30 PM.

The next Swinging on the New is Sunday, August 13th 4-6:30 PM. Counseling Connect, PLLC will be there to promote the mental and physical health benefits of social dancing.

If you need additional therapy, Counseling Connect can help. We provide mental health and wellness services for the New River Valley. For information and appointments, call 540-315-1445 or visit

To learn more about programs at Sapphire Ballroom, visit, email, or call 540-382-8782. You can see all of their upcoming events on their website:

Center for Disease Control. (2023).

Medically reviewed by Alana Biggers, M.D., MPH — By Adrienne Santos-Longhurst on August 30, 2018.

Rae Burgess is the owner of Counseling Connect, PLLC, a downtown Christiansburg neighbor of Sapphire Ballroom and (along with her husband) a long time ballroom dancer. They have been students at Sapphire Ballroom off and on for over a decade, bringing humor and dedication to their lessons (as well as occasionally looking from a break from other parts of life). Rae also hosts a business networking group called Connect on the New at Nesslrod on the New once a month.

You can keep up with Sapphire's news on Facebook at SapphireBallroom and Instagram at SapphireBallroom. We appreciate early registration for our dance parties whenever possible and require it for group classes. You can let us know you're coming by email or phone message, or by paying ahead at


Schedule Highlights

Summer Road Trip

Saturday, July 8

Summer Road Trip Dance Party

This was my favorite dance party last year! We had a good crowd and great music inspired by country roads, classic cars, and Bruce Springstein. Let's do it all over again! Start with a Country Two-Step lesson and keep cruising until we get to Margaritaville.

Reserve your space today.

Want to help make events like these success? Bring your friends, share the Facebook event, like our Instagram posts. It all helps!

More details, as well as online registration at and

Carolina Shag


June 23 & 30, July 7 & 14 - "We'll be dancing, shagging on the Boulevard... "

Friday Beginner Workshops

Start your weekend off on the right foot (or left foot if you're a leader)!

These workshops do occasionally sell out, so be sure to register ahead of time to save your space. Details and registration online at

A new style will start July 21 - what would you like to see? Country Two-Step? Salsa? Tango? Something else entirely?

NRV Historic


Tuesday, July 11
Learn to dance like Jane Austin, but in casual clothes

Keep the jeans and sneakers. Or even the yoga pants and slippers. You don't need to dress up to enjoy the elegance of historic dancing.

Details and online registration at


Spring Sale

Line Dance


Spring Line Dance Sale - 6 workshops for $36! Still on through June 21!

You’ve heard of line dancing. Maybe you’ve done the Electric Slide or the Wobble. But there’s so much more! More music, more moves, more variety - and now, it’s on sale.

Through Summer Solstice (June 21), the last “official” days of spring, you can buy a package of 6 Beginner Line Dance Workshops for just $36! Share them with friends, family, or keep them for yourself - it’s up to you. Registration for any particular workshop is required by noon the day of that workshop, not at the time of purchase. So, you can take advantage of the sale now, then take your time, choose the nights that suit you, and learn to line dance. The dance floor is waiting for you.

Sale is for Beginner Line Dance Workshops only. See the spring (I mean, really summer now) schedule on our webpage at Please use your Spring Sale workshops within 6 months of purchase.

Summer Road Trip
April Nesselrod Dance
April Nesselrod Dance
April Nesselrod Dance
April Nesselrod Dance

Sunday, August 13 - 4-6:30pm

Dancing on the New at Nesselrod on the New

Combine the emotional heath benefit of time outside with the cognitive health benefits of learning a new skill, and you've got the perfect afternoon of fun self care. Surrounded by trees, with the sound of the New River flowing nearby, you'll forget about the rest of the world as you spend quailty time with loved ones and friends. Learning to swing dance is something you can take with you everywhere you go - the good kind of baggage.

This month 's Nesselrod Party will feature a lesson in East Coast Swing and Hustle. Both lessons are beginner friendly, but will progress into something intriguing and a little challenging for repeat dancers. We'll keep things cool and light, with lots of humor and good music.

Bring a drink, share a snack (if you feel like it), and connect with other human beings while creating life-long memories.

These outdoor, afternoon dances at Nesselrod on the New in Fairlawn/Radford will be on the 2nd Sunday on even numbered months through October (to complement the in-studio dance parties on odd numbered months).

Have mercy on our mental health and don't wait to save your space!

This event is outdoors but well sheltered, so rain and other weather won't be a problem (one less thing to stress about). The floor is smooth concrete - splendid for my second best pair of dance shoes. It's the perfect outdoor venue for us dancers!  



Sapphire's group classes and workshops are always small, low stress, and fun. They are a great way to meet other people who have also decided to learn to dance, as well as get to know our teaching staff. It doesn't take any long-term investment to get started, no special clothing or shoes - just something comfortable to wear and a sense of adventure. So, take the plunge and try it out.

All classes (in person or online) require registration by noon the day the class starts. We are happy to add late-comers if we can, but classes may be cancelled or rescheduled if registration is low.

Five ways to register, just choose one and we'll take care of the rest:
1 - reply to this email;
2 - register and pay at the same time at our online store at;
3 - talk to your favorite Sapphire Staff member;
4 - give us a ring at 540-382-8782;
5 - Blacksburg Group classes are best registered through the Blacksburg Community Center webpage.

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


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540-382-8782 -  
30 W. Main Street, Suite C, Christiansburg, Va.