Meet Veronica Bell, the Front Department Specialist at Arthur Murray Royal Oak, and the dance instructor with quite possibly the most Hollywood-worthy story of a passionate, no-quit dancer that we’ve ever heard. See, today, Veronica’s position is to encourage people who come in for their first lesson, help them adjust and stay confident through the learning process, and make sure their goals remain a realistic priority. And how fitting since Veronica’s youth, anyone could sense the near-obsession with this hobby and refined skill that would become her future.
What You’ll Love About Veronica
“You are my first priority,” says Veronica about her clients. “Even if you’re not 100% sure what kind of dancer you want to be, I can help set a realistic goal; I can help paint that picture for you. That’s what I love to do. I love to get personal one-on-one time with all of my clients. Even if they have a goal they need to meet quickly, I have accommodated by coming in quite early to make sure they meet them. I don’t want any of my wedding couples to feel stressed or that, ‘oh my goodness, we waited too long’ feeling. Don’t worry about it, put all your worries on me.”
Her Story: Passionate, Driven and Dangerously Exciting
“My mother was a single mom, and I couldn’t afford to have dance lessons when I was younger,” explains Veronica Bell, Front Department Specialist of Arthur Murray Royal Oak. “But I was able to find my own path in dance,” she says with a smile in her voice.
“I started in elementary school and middle school, sneaking into the living room at midnight and I’d watch music videos. I’d turn on a light from the kitchen, and it would cast a light on the front door, and I could see my silhouette – and I taught myself to be flexible and dance just by watching my shadow.”
When Veronica got to high school, her high school counselor Lisa Boto invested in her talents, taking the time for ballroom dance classes after school. “When she taught me salsa, I went super crazy with it. I thought, ‘I have to do this as much as I can!’” remembers Veronica.
As if all of that isn’t Hollywood-worthy enough, Veronica’s exciting affair with dance doesn’t end there. “After high school, a friend would help me sneak into the 21 and up clubs and we would dance salsa until 2am. But then he moved away [and I was still underage], so I would go early and hide in the bathrooms until I heard Latin music, and come out and pretend like I had been there the whole time!”
Why Anyone? Why Our Kids? Why Dance? Why Now?
“Lately, I’m getting a whole bunch of young engineers, business professional men in their thirties. It’s a different time in our generation; we’re searching for more. We did what we have to do [with our careers], but [want to experience] what else is there?
It’s a beautiful thing. I love what I do. No one comes into my studio and stays just because they love dancing. This place is for searching for more than what you already had. Pushing yourself to discover yourself, or coming in here with your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, doesn’t matter. So many different people are now learning how to fall in love again. They’re learning how to not do ‘Netflix ‘n chill.’”
“I especially love seeing little kids getting involved in this. [Growing up, dancing salsa] gave me a real perspective on how a man should touch me with respect and ask for my hand to invite me into his arms. And if I decline, he says ‘thank you anyway.’ Or if he wants a second dance, he asks for it; he doesn’t just take it. [With Latin dancing], they never once took advantage of me. After we danced, they’d walk me off the floor and say ‘thank you.’ That’s such a wonderful standard that I think everyone should have. This is what children should learn to trust; and they should learn to trust themselves and each other that no one is going to go too far. Here, we’re boosting each other up instead of tearing each other down.”
A Dance Instructor? Not Why, But Why Not…
“I wasn’t a good student until college. My family would say, ‘You can’t make money off of fun.’ That’s absolutely not true. I’m making money off of fun. I come to work and have fun, every week, every day. I listen to music, help people, have fun and support myself.
Everyone wants to be a dancer, a singer, a model. Some people just can’t do anything else. [My experiences] helped me become exactly who I was meant to be and thrive and push myself to do what I was supposed to do. Is it work? Yeah. Do you have time to slack off? No; you have to do what you love every single day. If you don’t, that’s when your dreams die and you get on the hamster wheel like everybody else.
Memorable Client Story?
“I just did Calvin Johnson’s wedding, and he only gave me two days and a week before his wedding. (NOT what I recommend by the way – it puts a lot of pressure on the bride and groom.) I don’t follow football and he was tall so I asked him if he played sports and he said, ‘I used to.’ So I left it at that. Just said, ‘Let’s get dancing!’ They did a rhumba and a merengue. His natural athleticism helped. People who have danced or played music and athletes tend to pick up dancing a little bit quicker because they’re good with being self-aware with their bodies. But it always differs for each person.”
“When anyone comes into dance, ballroom dance is not like tap or ballet. It’s a whole different ballgame – it involves another person and a lot of trust, and once you establish that trust you can do anything.”