Arlington, VA

The show has ended Saffron Dance, a belly dance studio at 3260 Wilson Blvd in the Clarendon area, at least for now.

Founder and owner Saphira the studio said in an email that it would be going “on a hiatus” at the end of its current semester. After the last classes on June 7, Saphira said the studio’s leadership will take the summer months to consider their future.

In April, Saffron Dance closed the dance studio it operated from since 2007.

We've come to the end of a chapter. Join us on Facebook Live in a few minutes at 5pm EST to bid farewell to our beloved dance home of 13 years.

Posted by Saffron Dance on Wednesday, April 15, 2020

“When you become your own ally and your own best resource, it’s really hard for life to beat you down,” Saphira said. “I am so incredibly proud of the fight we’ve put up against COVID-19. Our staff, faculty, and students have barely skipped a beat during this major disruption to our lives.”

Saphira said she and the others running Saffron Dance did everything they could to to keep going, but it wasn’t enough.

Here are just some of the things we’ve done in the past few weeks to defend our community:

  • We applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance. Like so many businesses, we’ve heard nothing in reply.
  • As independent contractors, our staff has applied for relief under the Paycheck Protection Program. Again, they’ve heard nothing in reply.
  • We’re waiting for applications for the Arlington Small Business Emergency GRANT Program to go live, so we can pursue that avenue as well.
  • In sum, we’ve done everything we can and have been frustrated at every turn.

Several members of the core staff are planning to move on to different careers, according to the email, from farming to interior design. Several said that the last few weeks of managing dance classes remotely were some of the most stressful times of their life.

“That weekend was one of the most difficult 48 hours of my life,” said Jenna Shear, artistic director of the program. “It was the start of a new semester. I had new staff to onboard, and I had no idea how I was going to pull the whole thing off.”

Shear said it was the support and encouragement of her students in the program who helped get her through the stress of the pandemic, but afterward, she’s ready to step down as artistic director and step away from teaching.

“Since COVID-19 reared its ugly head, I have had lots of time to think about what Saffron means to me,” said Linda, the Saffron Dance studio manager. “Obviously, it has brought me the joy of dance. It has exposed me to a group of women that I couldn’t imagine my life without. It has taught me a lot about who I am and what I am capable of in a professional capacity. Most of all, when I think about what Saffron has done for me, I keep coming back to the idea that Saffron has allowed me to be me.”

Photo via Saffron Dance/Facebook

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