Virtual ballet classes offered by local studio amid COVID-19 response

Special Reports

Classes are free of charge or donation accepted to help keep business afloat

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A local dance studio has begun to offer virtual ballet lessons in order to restore a sense of community to people’s lives amid COVID-19 social distancing measures.

“Nothing else in life has seemed very normal except for starting, turning the music on, doing pliés and seeing some faces that I know and care about and seeing some new people join us. It’s just been a blessing,” Classical Ballet Academy Director Sarah Rigles-Cocker told KOIN 6 News.

Classical Ballet Academy in Southeast Portland is able to host virtual ballet classes via teleconferencing software. March 27, 2020 (KOIN/Danny Peterson).

Though the Southeast Portland studio had to shutter its door to students and downsize its business amid COVID-19 response, it will be offering its online classes via video conferencing for free or an optional donation to help keep the business afloat during these uncertain times.

The five week program of virtual classes begins March 30 for ages 3-adult and those interested in participating should email

The classes won’t just be a static one-way live stream of a lesson, but also includes live feedback by the instructor, if so desired, as the video conferencing allows two-way web cam viewing.

Rigles-Cocker has been informally hosting the lessons and is already instructing dozens of people, some from different parts of the country, from the teleconferencing set up in her studio.

She said its an effort to encourage people to keep dancing during difficult times.

A largely empty studio features Sarah Rigles-Cocker, her assistant, and live video conference stream set up for virtual ballet classes. March 27, 2020 (KOIN/Danny Peterson).

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