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June 30, 2022

Scotts Valley Ballroom Dance Studio Welcomes Interested Students

Back in July 2021, when the Press Banner reported that Richard Myers and his wife Marianne were planning to open a ballroom dance studio in Scotts Valley, the pandemic appeared to be waning.

There was a sense of eagerness at their Arthur Murray location in Fremont, as they had just reopened group classes and were anticipating their move towards the ocean.

“Any time you open a new business there’s always some nervous energy around it,” Richard said, adding the ensuing third coronavirus wave was not the news he was hoping for. “Omicron kind of put a damper on it.”

The franchise takes its name from the American businessman (born Moses Teichman in Austria-Hungary) who started teaching dance in 1912. Some of his students included John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Eleanor Roosevelt. (In the movie “Dirty Dancing,” Patrick Swayze’s character tells Jennifer Grey he got his start in dancing through Arthur Murray.)

For their part, the Myers are decorated dance champions who recently hung up their competitive shoes to focus on the entrepreneurship side of the kinetic world. But Richard says, even though Omicron presented a new challenge, it wasn’t totally unexpected. And anyhow, they’ve been plotting a move to Santa Cruz County for years and they say they’re in it for the long haul.

Just weeks after announcing the Scotts Valley location plan, they quietly opened their doors in the Graham Plaza and began building their roster of student dancers. They teach everything from swing to salsa to tango.

In December they held their grand opening, right before Omicron arrived in force.

“It did slow us down as far as the people trying to come in,” he said, adding now the key will be to coax people out of sedentary habits developed during the pandemic. “Now we’re starting to see people are a lot more interested.”

They’re looking at doing an open house in the coming days to introduce the community to what they do.

Dance classes make for a great date idea and are perfect for professionals seeking a way to shift gears, he said.

“It’s a good way to distract them from a stressful day,” he said. “It’s also for people who have been waiting for a long time to dance and it’s part of their bucket list.”

As far as Richard is concerned, “If I was younger,” and “If I had time,” are not valid excuses.

Richard noted the first dance lesson is free and explained there are group classes Wednesdays at 7:30pm and Fridays at 8:15pm.

“It’s a good chance for them to try it out,” he said. “No pressure.”

Drew Penner
Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected]

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