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

 

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

Kenny Podmore, here seen at Sidney’s cenotaph in November, says he feels for the veterans after organizers had to cancel an event acknowledging Victory in Europe (VE) Day for the second time in as many years because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich event marking 75th anniversary of VE-Day cancelled

Sidney resident first planned event for May 9, 2020 moved to May 8 before being cancelled

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to bring their unwanted electronics to Tillicum Centre May 14 to be shredded, recycled or donated. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can shred, donate electronics safely

Vancouver Island Better Business Bureau hosts event May 14 at Tillicum Centre

Scheduling popular summer events like the Canada Day celebrations is difficult due to the pandemic. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke summer events schedule clouded by COVID

Public health guidelines hamper plans

The District of Sooke is looking at new plans to build a fenced dog park at Ponds Park Corridor. (Pixabay.com)
Sooke seeks input on dog park

Public comment welcomed until June 4

Sooke RCMP are asking for the public’s help in finding Jeremy Tinnion after he was last seen in leaving a Sooke shelter on May 13. (Photo courtesy of Sooke RCMP)
MISSING: Jeremy Tinnion last seen in Sooke on May 13

The 31-year-old was last seen by staff members as he was leaving an Otter Point Road shelter

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
MISSING: Salt Spring RCMP find woman’s car, still seek Island resident

Sinikka Gay Elliott is 5’3” with a slim build and dark brown short hair

A Saanich man received almost 10 years in Supreme Court in Courtenay for a shooting incident from 2018. Record file photo
Shooting incident on Island nets almost 10-year sentence

Saanich man was arrested without incident north of Courtenay in 2018

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Most Read