Ballroom Dance > Arthur Murray Teacher Training

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by VegasMade, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. VegasMade

    VegasMade New Member

    Hi Everyone!

    So I am hoping that someone (or many someones) can give me some advice on my situation. I have been offered and opportunity to enter teacher training at Arthur Murray. I know that they will pretty much take anyone but I do have about 1 year of ballroom experience. It is my dream to become a ballroom dance teacher and I think this may be my foot in the door. However, I have a good job and would have to quit to pursue the training. I am not guaranteed a job once I'm finished "if I make it through" still not sure what that means. I have looked around online and haven't found any negative reviews on the teacher training but I am wondering if anyone on here knows anything. I know Arthur Murray doesn't have the best reputation but I am willing to give it a shot. What do you guys think? Any personal experiences or know anyone who has had an experience? Also as a side note I am located in Las Vegas.

    Thank you!:)
  2. mop6686

    mop6686 Member

    I was trained at and worked for one of the best AM franchises in the world.

    Pros - You get excellent free sales (IMO, aggressive sales techniques), teaching (excellent) and dance training.

    Cons - The programs are intense. Long hours, low pay and little hope of a social life outside of work.

    I left because I am married to someone who doesn't dance
  3. VegasMade

    VegasMade New Member

    Was the program really difficult to get through? Do you think that the chances of getting a job after are very good or not so good? and lastly if you had to do it again, would you? I just don't want to quit my great job and end up with nothing but a bit of training. However, I am willing to sacrifice a lot to become an instructor. Thank for your help!
  4. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    I second everything Mop said but I want to make a few observations based on my own experience with such a program:

    1) Don't evaluate if you want to do the program with Arthur Murray. Decide if you want to do the program with that studio owner and those teachers.

    2) Find out who will be doing the training: the franchisee, an accomplished dance director, or another teacher only slightly ahead of you.

    3) Remember: you get out what you put in.

    4) It bears repeating: you get out what you put in.

    5) For legal reasons they will not guarantee you a job after the training, but you should be able to look at their booking schedule and see if they need new teachers or if they're having trouble finding bookings for the ones they have. That should tell you how likely you are to get an offer.

    6) Find out how long teachers stay with them on average. That should clue you in as to the studio's long-term prospects.

    7) Continue to invest in your dance education, both in and out of the AM system.

    8) Never lie to your students. AM charges well above the industry average. You owe it to your students to become a good enough teacher that you're worth that much more.
  5. mop6686

    mop6686 Member

    I completely agree. All franchisees are different. I went on a lot of teacher training with Canadians (they were in our area) and their schedule was 4 days a week and they seemed pretty happy. But aren't all Canadians :p

    The training was rigorous and very difficult to get through. Many people who got through the interview process fell at the way side during training.

    I think if you make it through training it's highly likely that you'll be offered a job however I've seen people not be offered a job after being in training for months.

    Honestly, it's really hard to describe an AM training program. In some way it will probably be life changing. It forced me to do things I would never have done before and I'm a great teacher for it.
  6. mop6686

    mop6686 Member

    I also heard when at AM that Vegas is quite the Franchise. Good company rep.
  7. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    You have to take a chance sometimes. I did. In my case I quit my job and worked for an independent studio. I did pretty well at times, but at one point I was making about $200/week and not paying my bills. I actually had a great time doing it though.

    It it is your dream to dance, you'll find a way. You are doing the right thing talking to people, and if I were you, I would make sure you talk to the other studios too. Maybe you can have another position lined up in case the first is not what you expected.
  8. mop6686

    mop6686 Member

    Agree again!

    Teaching and dancing is a calling - try it! If it isn't your thing you'll soon find out. If it is your life will be greatly enriched.

    I also recommend discussing this decision with your partner (if you have one).
  9. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Why? Is this self-imposed, or a requirement by the studio?
  10. VegasMade

    VegasMade New Member

    I work 8am to 5 pm and the training occurs mid-day. Roughly 12:30-3:30. Neither schedule is flexible so that is why I would have to quit my job. Teaching is definitely worth quitting my current job! I just wanted to make sure that it isn't common practice for Arthur Murray to train a bunch of people for months and then never hire them...although it would totally be worth it if I got to dance all day for those months :D:D:D
  11. VegasMade

    VegasMade New Member

    I am actually engaged to be married on March 26th, 2011. He is very supportive and I think he understands what this will entail for the most part. I was originally thinking I may wait until after the wedding to quit my job and start the training. Mostly because I thought it would be easier this way. However, I am so driven to it that now I don't feel like I can wait! haha. What is your take?

    Currently, he has a bit of dance experience and a moderate interest in expanding his knowledge and skill. I think if I were teaching he may become a bit more interested. So I hope this won't be a problem. I know you had mentioned you quit AM because your partner didn't dance. Are you still teaching but just not at AM?

    Thanks for all the feedback! xx
  12. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Not that *I* was this clever at the time, but do you have cash reserves? I assume that when you quit your job you won't have any income?

    I would ask to see people who have graduated from their training program before, I would want to see their dancing, and see how booked they are. Also, ask what your starting rate would be. Obviously it won't be that high, but just to get an idea...

    The thing is, basically you're going back to college. And the thing is, it doesn't stop after 4 years. Just like college costs money, dance training over your dance career will likely cost more than what you will get back in return, at least for a couple of decades, I would guess. Just be VERY sure it's what you want to do. I mean, you better REALLY LOVE to not only dance, but to be an educator as well. You will have great students, and you will have times of frustration that will test your patience. It's not all rainbows and flowers and utopia like some think. I've heard "Oh, you get to dance all day, that must be fun!!" so many times, and while it is my calling, it's not always fun. The whole "find the job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life" is true, but can be misleading when you don't know the ins and outs of a potential career. I can't personally imagine doing anything else, and I will be dancing until the day I die, so don't get me wrong, it's GREAT!! Just be sure it's for you before you make a drastic life change.
  13. mop6686

    mop6686 Member

    Relationship wise it was very difficult. Demonstrated by the fact that all of my colleagues were either dating or married to each other or perpetually single. I found it impossible to continue a relationship with someone who didn't work at AM.

    The hours were long and completely different to my husband's. He's 9-5 and I became about 12noon-11pm. We didn't see each other in the morning and when I got home from work I was exhausted and in pain (physically and emotionally). Our communication started to slip (which had always been amazing before) and our sex life completely fell apart. I just didn't have the energy to maintain both lives. Both demanded so much of me.

    My franchise did not like students knowing about our private lives. This meant my husband was not allowed to enter the studio even when he came to pick me up from work. This just helped to further exclude him from my changing life. They also told me how to dress and who I should associate with outside the studio.

    I guess I didn't quit because he didn't dance - I still dance and teach elsewhere and he still doesn't dance. But I am in control of my schedule and loving it. On that note, please be wary of the contract signing process. Undoubtedly, there will be a clause that says for 1 year after leaving AM you cannot teach within a certain distance of the AM studio. This clause (the "non-compete clause") is not enforceable in California, so check what the laws are in Nevada.

    Honestly, he probably doesn't know what it will entail and you may not either. The best way for me to describe it is Med School for dancers. It's long, intense, low pay and you have to want it more than anything. I guess I realized I didn't want it more than my marriage. AM is just a completely different animal when it comes to studios.

    PM me if you need more info on the relationship aspect...

    Edit: And congrats on getting married! I find that the First Dance process can be a great way for a couple to bond over dancing. Maybe you could do a first dance and take lessons at the AM you work at. Part of the problem in my situation was that my husband experienced all the negative aspects of my job and never really got to experience and feel what it was like to have your life changed in a good way by AM and dancing.
  14. VegasMade

    VegasMade New Member

    Yes! Luckily I have saved up close to 20k so I am not too worried about the financial part. Also my fiance pays the lions share of our bills.

    I think it will be tough to know if I love it until long after my current job is gone. However, that is a risk I am willing to take. I was originally going to start the training in January but I think I will wait until April after my wedding. Hopefully this will take a bit of the edge off...? lol. Heres hoping so!

    Any other comments or advice are greatly appreciated! Thanks! xx :banana:
  15. guille_bdancer

    guille_bdancer New Member

    Thanks for posting as I've been thinking of joining AM as well. All of the posts have been really helpful. And congratulations on getting married!
  16. GoldStar

    GoldStar Member

    I have some questions too. :)

    Does the studio pays for the training or you?

    On the one hand, if the studio pays it's sounds as a really danger desicion by the studio because you can go there just for "free dance lessons" and then get the hell out of there.
    On the other hand, if you pay for the training it's ridiculous because it will take you some months just to return yourself the cost of those training isn't it?

    And the other question, does the studio make you to sign some kind of a contract so if you do take this training, you must work there for a period?

    I just asked one of the teachers in my AM studio and he told me he dancing Ballroom dancing for just 2 years.. he danced all his life other dances but ballroom only for 2 years. so I belive he was traind and taught in this period and now, after a half of an year he went to work in some kind of hi-tech company.

    I just love dancing. I am only 18 years old. I can't say that I want to be a dance teacher for life but I can say I want to work for like 2 years and then if it will be possible for me to taks as a students job.. well, why not. But if the decide you schedule and if you have nothing to say about it.. and if you have to stay there for some years and if you need to put all you life in it.. so I can't say It will be an easy decision for me.
  17. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    It varies and needs to be discussed with each studio prior to hire. the most common, but by no means only, situation I've encountered is that there's a trial period wherein the prospective teacher pays nothing and is paid nothing; at the end of this trial period, which may last anywhere from two weeks to six months, the studio brings them on board at minimum wage to complete their training.

    Usually at the end of a successful trial period the prospective teacher is required to sign a contract giving the studio a right-of-first-refusal: the prospective teacher agrees to work for the studio for a certain length of time (1-2 years) at a certain rate (low by industry standards) or reimburse the studio for (inflated) costs of training.

    Months? Try years. I started with a chain studio but I'm now doing all my training independently, including paying for my own training and certification lessons, plus certification exams. Is it expensive? Absolutely. I barely break even on a yearly average, meaning many months I lose money if I haven't set it aside during the good months. It's also an investment. As a teacher, dancing is my product. I owe it to my students to be the best dancer I can be, as well as the best teacher, and that means constantly improving myself. In agricultural terms, I'm plowing my profits back under.
  18. GoldStar

    GoldStar Member

    So.. in the bottom line..

    If you aren't willing to give 2-3 years of teaching at least.. don't do it?
    You should be absolutely sure this is your life goal to be a dance teacher because otherwise it's a definitely waste of time.. long period time.
    Did I understand you correctly?

    As I said, it's a really tough decision for me also.
  19. VegasMade

    VegasMade New Member

    Just from what I have heard, if you don't want to do this for at least 4-5 years dont do it. Becoming an instructor and staying an instructor is very very expensive and time consuming. Most of the instructors I know for the first few years break even at best (so they are living below the poverty level) and they have no lives outside of the studio.

    It is a very tough decision and I know I will have to make many sacrifices. This job will pay 40k less per year than my current job. But I love dancing and I know if I dont make this sacrifice now, I will regret it forever. Regret is the one sacrifice I am not willing to make.
  20. Even though I have no experience on the matter, and no desire to become a dance teacher, I do have some questions, and maybe a comment or two.

    This 2-3 / 4-5 year timeline... is that for how long you have to work at Arthur Murray? Or just how long you need to commit to teaching in general? Because I have heard that the turnover rate at franchise studios can be quite high. But I never hear what happens to newish instructors (i.e. less than a few years experience, and who aren't already national champions) that leave... they just sort of fall off the face of the earth. What are the prospects for a relatively new dance teacher (say, about 2 years experience) who wants to leave Arthur Murray to get away from a franchisee that has bad business practices? Would they have any chance of getting a job at an indy dance studio?

    Assuming your husband-to-be makes a decent living, consider this. Taking becoming a dance teacher out of the equation for a moment, do you think that the two of you could survive on just his income if you were to, say, become a housewife, either by choice or suddenly losing your job? If so, then I would think that the mental and emotional hardships of training to become an Arthur Murray instructor would be more of a factor. Also, if you were to quit your current job, are you in a vocation that you could leave for a period of years and then come back to, or would you essentially be giving up that path permanently?

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