Not meeting Bobby Gonzalez is the equivalent to not meeting your waiter after an hour at a 5 star restaurant.
Bobby is a sought after Arthur Murray consultant, a developer of dance talent, and, unofficially, one of the great spokesmen for the Arthur Murray organization.
So for those rare students or teachers that have yet to meet your Arthur Murray waiter, we conducted this five star interview.
Going Beyond The Salsa: An Interview With Bobby Gonzalez
AM: How did you first get started with Arthur Murray? What was happening in your life leading up to your first day on the job?
BG: “I was a junior in high school and Ronald Reagan was the president. The wall hadn’t fallen yet. I had just finished being a paperboy.
AM: Now that you travel the universe as an Arthur Murray consultant, people may not know that you have roots here in the Northern California Arthur Murray studios. Did you start your career there?
BG: I started at an Arthur Murray in Aleria, Ohio. It was a very small school and we had the worst winter ever. I remember it snowed every day, like a blizzard. One day I came home in the freezing cold and I told my Mom, “I’m outta here.” So I called my brother, who was living in San Mateo at the time, and told him that I wanted to come out to California. So I moved to Hayward and the first studio in California I worked for was the Arthur Murray Hayward studio on Foothill Blvd.
AM: Chris Lynam worked for you and he always says that he’s lucky you didn’t fire him, was there anything in particular that he did to make him say that?
BG: Who’s going to listen to this interview? (laughs). OK, for example, Chris had these Kenneth Cole shoes, and they were like the heaviest things in the whole world. So I said,
“Hey Chris, now that you’re going to be teaching, you should probably get some dance shoes because they’re lighter.”
So Chris says, “No, these are cool, it’s what all the swing dancers wear”.
I said “you’re going to hurt your feet”
and Chris says “No I’m not”.
So then I notice that every Friday night he’d be rubbing his feet. So one day he comes in with a pair of dance shoes - but they were the black and white swing shoes with the spats.
So I said, “I’m happy you got dance shoes, but for showcase you should probably get some black dance shoes.”
Then he says, “No, these are cool. It’s what all the swing dancers wear.”
So I said “OK” and I let him dance at the showcase in them.
So we were looking at the pictures afterwards and he just kept noticing that he was the only one wearing those swing shoes while everyone else had their nice patent leather shoes. (laughs).
I let him do it his way a lot, and he’d fall on his face, but he always learned from it.
- Roberto Gonzalez, on training Chris Lynam
AM: Is it true that you are the reason that he and Daisey started dancing together? Do you have some kind of crystal ball or are you just a matchmaker in your spare time?
BG: I do have a crystal ball and I only use it on special occasions.
But with Daisey and Chris I think it was more luck than anything. At that time Daisey was in the Hayward studio as an instructor and I knew she was a really good dancer. Chris really wanted a partner, so I thought they’d be great to dance together. I think I gave them choreography for a Rumba routine that they danced together.
AM: Not many people know that you are a part of the Arthur Murray Dance Board. How does one achieve such an honor?
BG: I wrote the salsa syllabus for Arthur Murray and I received a dance development award. A few years later, I received a second dance development award - mainly for developing Chris, and Juan and Cari Jo Garcia. So I had those two awards, and my Arthur Murray judging credentials. So they thought I’d be good for the dance board.
AM: If a guy wanted to be as cool as you, what would be the first album you’d recommend he purchase?
The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. (sings a portion of “Stayin Alive”). Just to do that walk in the opening scene with the paint can. That was the scene that made me want to get into dancing. I’d also recommend the “Best of Barry White”
AM: If someone had to bribe you with food for a better score on a dance performance, what would that food be?
BG: Well, it would be my aunt’s Puerto Rican cooking. Or if anyone wants to go to Soul Food restaurant in San Rafael and pick me up something, I’d love it. Anything that will go with a nice Malbec wine will work for me.
Rapid Fire QuestionsAM: Favorite TV series?
AML: Favorite movie villain of all time?
BG: Hannibal Lecter
AML: Something you wish you were better at:
AML: What book are you reading right now?
BG: “People Buy You” and I’m reading it for the third time.
AML: What is your favorite motivational quote?
BG: "People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care."
AML: So the big announcement is that you’re going to be a featured blogger on arthurmurraylive.com, can you give us your thoughts on that and what kind of articles our fans can look forward to reading from you?
BG: I can’t tell you how excited I am about it. Since I travel to a lot of schools I get to see a lot of fun things. So the articles are about everything from things I see in dancing, things I see when I travel, even some things on food and nutrition in dancing. How to get the most from your lessons, and what things judges look for at a Medal Ball versus a Dance-O-Rama® . So all kinds of things like that. I’m even working on one that covers what kinds of dance shoes to buy and why. Stuff like that.
Check out these articles by Bobby Gonzalez:
AML: Let’s say ABC decides to put you on Dancing With the Stars and you get your choice of celebrity. Who is it, and why?
BG: Oh man. Wow. I’d like to dance with Jennifer Lopez. That would be hot. Why? Because she’s Puerto Rican, she’s hot, and she’s Jenny from the block, and she knows about Latin dancing…. and I would be her next husband.
The very next thing you should do now is find out when Bobby will be visiting your local Arthur Murray dance studio. From there, schedule a lesson, find a local Puerto Rican restaurant, call J-Lo, wear some swing shoes, and get ready for plenty of laughs and dance improvement with this Five Star Consultant - Bobby Gonzalez.
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