The Ballroom exists to provide adults a safe, supportive, nurturing and loving atmosphere in which to play and learn the art of dance.
R e v . J o h n R o s s ~ O w n e r & D i r e c t o r
Professional dancer / teacher / choreographer / competitor
John Ross began dancing at the age of 16, finding it a healthy way to celebrate life during challenging times.
After finishing college he changed direction and began training to teach dance. By this time he had performed with Buddy Schwimmer's Northern California dance team and had studied with the top competitors in Europe and America. He received his teaching medals and taught his first class in 1982.
John is an ordained interfaith minister, certified massage therapist, and spiritual counselor, which – when combined with his decades of dance experience – results in a well-rounded, all-inclusive unique experience for his students.
John also pairs with students competing at all levels of Smooth and Rhythm in regional Pro-Am competitions including the San Francisco Open, International Grand Ball, and The Autumn Dance Classsic. He has trained thousands of dancers in Sonoma County and calls his dance home "The Ballroom".
John teaches group classes on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and offers private lessons Mondays through Fridays, in addition to hosting our 3rd Saturday of the month drop-in lesson with dance party.
J e n n i f e r B e d f o r d
Jennifer has been involved in many different styles of dance since she was a small child and joined our teaching staff in 2004. Her day-job as a "computer geek" contributes to her specialty in breaking-down dance steps into their component parts, resulting in a loyal following of students who appreciate her piece-by-piece approach to teaching the art of dance.
Jennifer typically offers group classes on Wednesdays and/or Thursdays, and is currently teaching our Wednesday night Just-the-Basics Beginners Drop-In Class. She is available for private lessons on Wednesdays, Thursdays and some Fridays upon request.
E l i z a b e t h B a r r e t t
Elizabeth, a native of Toronto, Canada has been teaching partner dancing in the North Bay since 2001. Originally trained in International Standard Ballroom, she has since studied many other dance disciplines, training with some of the best in the business. She has shared her knowledge with countless students, and the intricacies of partner dancing have been areas of focus for her over the past dozen years.
Elizabeth teaches group classes on Monday evenings and private lessons on Mondays and Fridays upon request. She also regularly hosts our 1st Friday of the month weekend drop-in lesson and dance party as well as the Mountain Shadows Milonga (a night of all Argentine Tango) on the 2nd Saturday of the month.
Our Student Assistants
Every now and then a very special type of person walks through our doors and falls in love with dance — and, after spending many hours a week with us on a regular basis, decides the next step in their evolution as a dancer is to share their love of dance with others. This is where our student assistants come from!
These assistants are students who continue to learn and take classes, just like you, while also generously volunteering their time in beginning level group classes, drop-in lessons, and weekend dances. They are able to provide emotional support — and an understanding of exactly what you are going through — because they are actively experiencing the same types of things while progressing through upper-level classes.
If you are interested in becoming a member of our Student Assistants Team, please let our Director John Ross or your dance instructor know. They can provide you with additional information and arrange time for you to meet with John to discuss things in more detail.
Dance Police, K-9 Unit
We have a saying here at The Ballroom: "The Dance Police are NOT going to write you a ticket!"
Who are the Dance Police? They are that mysterious league of people who live only in our minds, critiquing our every move on the dance floor.
Far from the critics that most people fear these non-existent Dance Police to be, our K-9 Unit patrols the dance floor solely to offer support and encouragement. They enjoy everyone's dancing and often even try to join in the fun.
They can sometimes even be found trotting along the back of class, trying out the new steps being taught. But mostly they are just two sweet, well-behaved miniature poodles spending their days in spoiled luxury.
Any time they are on-site, they are eager to greet students and can be found making the rounds introducing themselves to everyone before classes and lessons. Give any one of them half a chance, and you'll find yourself with a new best friend – or a cuddly lap warmer offering emotional support while you work up the courage to get out on the dance floor. (Listen closely enough and you might hear them reminding you that the only "wrong" way to dance . . . is not to dance at all.)
Buddy & Bristol