Photo by Lia Crowe, In Studio with Daniel - Arthur Murray

Photo by Lia Crowe, In Studio with Daniel - Arthur Murray

Care to Dance?

From never having danced before to becoming an instructor

  • May. 4, 2020 8:00 a.m.

When you watch Arthur Murray Dance Studio owner Daniel Seguin gracefully sashay and confidently twirl around the dance floor, it’s hard to believe he was once severely overweight and painfully shy.

“I started taking dance lessons because I was 5’6 and getting close to 195 pounds and I had to do something,” the now svelte 53-year-old says.

Daniel, who was 26 at the time and living in Ottawa, had never danced before, but after seven months of lessons, he loved it so much he decided to become an instructor at Arthur Murray.

“I always thought you had to be tall and slim to be a dance instructor, but then an instructor who was my height started at the school and I realized that wasn’t true,” he says. “When you watch ballroom dancing on TV, a lot of people think you have to be a certain body type or age to do it, but that’s just not the case. It’s one of the biggest misconceptions people have. I didn’t fit the mold at all.”

Daniel was working at Canada Post as an internal auditor for the money order division and didn’t fit the “arts mold” either. He’d grown up wanting to be a high school math teacher and loved numbers. But he didn’t realize something was missing until dance came into his life.

“I really enjoyed working with numbers and the checks and balances, but I was always a pretty creative kid growing up and it didn’t add to that,” he explains. “When I became a dance teacher, those two worlds came together because music is numbers and creating patterns and creating routines.”

Choreographing cha-cha-chas and award-winning routines instead of crunching numbers on a spreadsheet, Daniel quickly found his passion.

“Dance is just so freeing because you’re just able to feel the music and, for me, it’s making sure my partner feels good,” he says. “It’s a shared experience and it can be life-changing.”

For Daniel, who was never one of the popular kids in school and painfully shy in social situations, dance has given him confidence and opened up a world of opportunity.

“I probably would have been that guy who just has a couple of friends and does a lot of stuff as a loner,” Daniel says. “But dancing has helped me break out of my shell. I think that’s one of the appeals of dancing — people want the opportunity to shine in some way.”

After Ottawa, Daniel moved to Chicago and then Edmonton to teach and manage studios before landing in Victoria and opening his own studio in Saanich Plaza last May.

“It was a 14-month-long search to find the right location and open our doors,” Daniel says. “It’s a great business model with lots of things I love and, as an owner, I can build on that and interact more with each student.”

Teaching people of all ages and ability levels for more than 27 years, Daniel has found that everyone comes for a different reason: from simply having fun or for weight loss to coping with PTSD or trying to recharge a relationship.

“Some people are lonely or may have lost a spouse and are ready to start meeting people again,” he says. “And some people are just stressed at work and, at dance, their biggest worry is which foot is their left foot. It’s like a mini vacation in their lives.”

There have been a lot of success stories over the years, including couples headed for divorce falling back in love.

“For 40 minutes, they’re in each other’s arms and no longer watching TV side-by-side or even in different rooms,” Daniel explains. “They start seeing the person they were interested in when they first started dating. It’s kind of magical when you see it because it’s a really special moment you’re witnessing.”

Another success story that’s really stuck with Daniel is a student early on in his career who was incredibly shy. When she first came to the studio, the young woman could hardly look up from the floor when having a conversation.

“Through working with her and getting her to come out of her shell, people at work started noticing she had more confidence, she became part of their social group and she got promoted,” he says. “She also became good friends with another student and they started dating and that gentleman became her husband and they had a child together. We’re not psychiatrists or career builders, but the benefits she got from dancing brought out the beautiful person she already was on the inside.”

Daniel says it’s life-changing stories like that that keep him going.

“You always hope you can make a difference in life. I don’t know if I have the right words to really convey how it feels, but it’s really special.”

Given his love of dance and what it can do, it’s hard to believe Daniel almost gave up on his passion early in his career. He was ready to quit after a few years, but encouragement from a dance competition judge spurred him on and convinced him to stick with it.

“Everyone will tell you that to become really successful, a master will have failed more times than a beginner has ever tried and going through hardships makes the success so worthwhile,” he says.

“The life lesson I got is that if there are hardships and tough times, you just have to ride through them and eventually you’ll be able to realize all your dreams.”

Dance

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Photo by Lia Crowe, In Studio with Daniel - Arthur Murray

Photo by Lia Crowe, In Studio with Daniel - Arthur Murray

Photo by Lia Crowe, In Studio with Daniel - Arthur Murray

Photo by Lia Crowe, In Studio with Daniel - Arthur Murray

Just Posted

Kelly and Mila Bradley attended a drive-by volunteer event for Coralee Oakes before the 2020 election. The third-term B.C. Liberal MLA was named to two opposition critic roles Monday, Nov. 30. (Submitted Photo)
Coralee Oakes named as post-secondary critic in B.C. Liberals’ Cabinet

The Cariboo North MLA was also named the sports critic on Nov. 30

The Billy Barker Casino team went 1-1 in the last two weeks, and continue to lead the standings of the Quesnel Curling Sponsor League.(Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel Sponsor League Curling: First blemish for Billy Barker

The team representing the casino and hotel is no longer undefeated but stays at the top of the table

The Cariboo Regional District has launched a broadband survey for residents, businesses and organizations. (Monica Lamb-Yorski Photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Cariboo Regional District launches broadband connectivity survey

Paper copies of the survey will be available beginning Dec. 2

Forestry Ink columnist Jim Hilton. (File Photo)
FORESTRY INK: Responsible use of herbicides

Columnist Jim Hilton writes about the issue of spraying herbicides like glyphosate

This screenshot from the City of Quesnel website shows where paving took place during the 2020 season. (City of Quesnel website)
City of Quesnel completed overlay paving at five sites in 2020

The season’s work was completed within a budget of $375,000

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Most Read