If you want to build a ballroom dance studio, all you really need is a dance floor and a ceiling-to-floor mirror.
But when Rochester Ballroom owner Alan Smith envisioned his studio space, he wanted something more.
The ballroom is already lucky to have a panoramic view of downtown.
And now artist Richard Bradshaw's three-dimensional mural completes the ambiance Smith was seeking last year when he first started planning his studio's space, above Hepplewhite's on Main Street.
An Argentine scene
The mural took Bradshaw more than 400 hours over 2½ months to complete.
To a studio visitor, the mural looks as though it was simply meant to be part of the plan, with its rich terra-cotta touches and dramatic dancers. It depicts an authentic Argentine tango scene.
The mural is constructed of foam and meticulously hand-painted with acrylics.
"I've never tackled anything this big before," said Bradshaw, a General Motors retiree and longtime friend of Smith's.
Bradshaw dabbles in artwork for fun, mostly for St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Rochester, where he is an active member and volunteer.
For inspiration, Bradshaw gathered numerous magazine clippings, which he put together to create a plan for the piece.
He also added his own unique touches, including a barstool from one of his favorite spots in Shelby Township, where he lives.
The finished mixed media piece is about 22 feet wide and 8 feet tall.
"It just gave it (the studio) a whole new element that isn't normally there," said Smith.
Smith and his wife, Karen, a competitive ballroom dancer, opened the studio earlier this year. They moved to the Detroit area from England in 1983; their four grown children graduated from Adams High School.
In deciding to open the studio, they both said they envisioned their businesses being a part of the Rochester community. The mural, which may be viewed during business hours, is part of that vision.
"This is something that would normally be on display at an art gallery," Smith said.
"Everybody who visits thinks it's fantastic and wants to know how he's done it ... it's an original piece of art."
Rochester Ballroom is located at 322 S. Main St., Suite 220 (enter through the back alley). The mural may be viewed from 4-9 p.m. Monday-Friday. For more information, call 248-651-7746 or visit rochesterballroom.com.