Ballroom Dance > Taking classes at Arthur Murray

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Donchik, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. saludas

    saludas New Member

    Tangotime, what level and technique do you teach?
  2. chocolatchica

    chocolatchica New Member

    OMG I had the same problem at Arthur Murray! I didnt really feel like my teacher wanted me to advance too much. Besides there program only goes so far and then when your really good its like now what??? They just try to teach you slowly and sell more lessons. This may not necessarily be the truth but I had a very bad experiance at my Arthur Murray studio which I'd rather not say. Plus there comps are super fun but outrageously expensive! I decided to change studios after a while and it was the best decision I have ever made. The other dancer at Arthur Murray were friendly and I missed them but as time when by I realized thet they too were moving on to different studios. People dont usually stay there long that really are looking it competitive dancing or really improving on another leverl. They are a great starter though and I loved there parties! It all just depends on what you are looking for. Try out some other studios or maybe just an individual private instructor. Then you can let them know you personal goal and can work on it together. Because Arthur Murray has a syllabus they go by (and by that I mean their own syllabus) you don't really have the freedom to learn what you'd like. Only what they have in there little books. Well enough talk from me. Good luck with finding the studio that fits you guys best! Let us know what happens!:)
  3. bailarín

    bailarín New Member

    Chris, This observation is right on. I think this remains an important concept for advanced dancers. How do you see it change as the dancer matures?
  4. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    to saludas

    Am a dual fellow in 2 soc and a former exam-- have had the good fortune to be the intial teacher of 2 u.s. champions not to mention numerous from u.k. trained and danced in u.k-- is that good enough for you ?
  5. skwiggy

    skwiggy Well-Known Member

    This is an especially easy trap for followers to fall into. When we are taught to stay with the man no matter what, it's easy to sacrifice one's own balance in favor of the balance of the couple.

    It was a huge breakthrough for me when I realized that I should put my own balance as priority #1, and that of the couple as priority #2. It seems like such a logical thing, but for ladies, and given the way we are often taught, it is surprisingly easy to overlook.

    And now when I see other followers making the same mistake, it actually looks kind of painful. I can't believe how long I was comfortable dancing that way.
  6. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    closed position

    Chris -- you have first hand evidence ? --- from what arena do they come--american or english ? ---- having taught in more countries than you care to know about-- and worked alongside and been in the presence of what is considered the best in the world -- and been trained by many of same-- I have NEVER in the u.k. seen that advocated-- period . That may be the opinion of someone ?( and thats all it is ) but it would not hold water in the circles in which I have moved -- and -- by the way-- you should not teach your grandmother how to stink eggs --- when you have taught-- coached --judged and lectured and acquired the qual. to do same-- then i might give more credence to some of your ( are they really your opinions -- or those you have gleaned from others ? ) a lot of what you say makes technical sense -- -- but -- not everything -- and I do not intend to get into a pissing match with you -- it would not serve me any purpose-- you are most certainly entitled to yor opinions - right or wrong -- but do not always be so adamant to defend them-- there is a possibility sometimes you could be wrong ?
    1 person likes this.
  7. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    with all due respect to everyone's credentials ..ahem...may we please moderate our tone as the guidelines request?
    1 person likes this.
  8. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    First let me say that I am not trying to say your methods are wrong - I am merely countering your implied claim of a few pages ago that my teachers are unqualfied. Both approaches have their benefits and costs - I happen to prefer that used by my teachers, but the results of the other method are quite widespread too.

    To answer your question, American teachers, and then personally checking the key ideas (primary emphasis on frame connection) with their former English teachers who managed to win blackpool once or twice and have been quite sought after as coaches since then. My impression of those ideas is of course my own, but it is echoed by a number of others who have posted remarkably similar comments after taking lessons with the same teachers.

    Keeping students really apart would of course be a beginner phase, and I've only personally seen that delivered as an instuction by the local US teacher. However in our first lesson the English coach immediately asked my partner not to push her body at him, essentially declaring it unladylike. The major subject of the lesson (and a recurring theme ever since) was connection achieved by using the hands to hold/sense the partner. Two years later, he did ask a different partner to swing her body closer to his in certain movements but that really seemed to be about coordinating swings, not ensuring contact. To say that the English coach perfectly matches his former student teaching locally would not be fair, but I would say that he's given me a lot of insight into the goals behind her methods and the tradeoffs between those and other approaches.

    If I dance with a high level lady, we usually have contact, but for the right reasons - it's a part of a consistent whole that I barely notice. If I dance with a beginner, we might have contact as a result of a broken frame (if her coach had insisted on contact as an isolated goal) or we might not have contact (if her coach had taught her to maintain and listen to the frame first). The end results when the dancing is fully developed is fairly similar - but the starting point can be drastically different.

    Would be very interested if there is anything specific you would like to comment on. Especially if you have any recommendations on how to restore some of the lost qualities you hinted at in the Italian/English thread while still satisfying modern expectations of look.
    1 person likes this.
  9. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    There are several areas with which I ( and many of my colleagues ) fundamentally disagree-- my first posit is this -- all techn. should stand the test of logic . many of the leg actions that are produced today-- defy the original intent of free floating movement-- for example-- the delayed contact with the non supporting leg on some forward motions in foxtrot ( same is true for lady-- dragging that heel thru eternity !! )-- I have to agree with len-- it produces a very heavy look thru the-legs -- this is purely a modern " trend "--- from whence it came -- i do not recall-- i only find it painful to watch -- it is-- in some cases-- drastically overstated --to the detriment of free flight .As I have stated to many of my classes -i am not against change-- but give me sound reasons for the event -- Again-- todays dancers dance like wooden planks going around the floor in many cases-- the softness has been taken away from all of what they display-- If you are of an era when you were unable to see the previous champs perform ( say only as far back as the 70s / 80s ) such as Gleave --Hilliers and Jenkins-- things looked more effortless -- only acquired by yrs of floor time--the over extended arch of the lady in some specific figures smacks of contortinism -- much seems to be satisfied at the expense of " line "-- and whilst I think about --your comment about even pros separating occasionally-- so true-- but SO wrong !! the 2 cardinal sins at pro level for my judging are -- offtime and loss of contact -- something i never recall in Binnick-- Irvine -- Eggleton -- i could go on-- but you get my point ---the one dance everyone seems to avoid discussion about is Tango --I wonder why ?-- it has become one of the dances that is becoming far removed from its original intent - but that for another day-- as far as this eng/ ltal thing goes -- because someone from a different country wins world championships - it does not mean they have discovered sliced bread-- remember this-- in the final analysis-- much of what is said -- is opinion--- and -- does it stand the test of time ---and lastly -- is it logical ??
  10. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    They did the same thing for me, but also I got superb basics. I appreciate that they didn't turn me into a step-monster but gave me a very solid foundation to build on.
  11. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    Rick Elliott ;)
  12. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    You must not have been to our local USABDA dances...
    1 person likes this.
  13. I'm charged $125 per private lesson and the lesson lasts only 40 minutes and the take a whole 5 minutes to write down the things you went over and then they make you sign it.
  14. little_mouse

    little_mouse Member

    Same here. But that's why I keep my own notebook and write things down myself. Actually this last time I brought it in with me and after my lesson, he took 20 seconds to scratch in the "official" notebook which I had to sign, and took the rest of the 5 minutes to really spell things out to me as I fleshed out my own notes. I'm bringing my own notebook everytime now that's for sure.
  15. pnoisette

    pnoisette New Member

    in a nutshell . . .

    Having had an early experience with franchise dance studios, I'd say "avoid them." As has been mentioned by other posters, these studios are about making money and not about learning how to dance. The one I experienced had people they'd literally pull off the street and "train" as "teachers."

    You can imagine the quality of dance instruction that was offered. Unfortunately, people new to ballroom don't know about what goes into the training and experience of becoming a credible treacher. After I fled the franchise and learned about how teachers are examined, I found that the so called "top teachers" in the sfranchise studio hadn't even passed their bronze examinations.

    Making people sign contracts for x number of lessons regardless of your own personal progress is also another tactic franchises engage in, and is ultimately counterproductive if mastering dance is your goal. I know of people who pay thousands of dollars and are either held back or still unable to master the basics.

    If you really want to learn to dance I think you should seek out the reputable independent studios in your area as well as ask questions about the credentials of teachers. I guarantee you will as I did also see a night and day difference in the calibre of dancing in the reputable independent studios.
  16. atk

    atk Active Member


    Please remember, just because some franchise studios aren't good, that doesn't mean that all aren't. There are good ones, and there are bad ones. Similarly, there are both good and bad independant studios.

    I happen to be a student at an excellent Arthur Murray studio, and have an excellent teacher. Yes, costs are higher than at many independant studios in the area. However, I have never been pressured into buying more lessons, or spending money I don't have. My teacher tells me that an event is coming up, and I tell her whether or not I want to attend. She has never pushed me after I said no, and I haven't seen her push anyone else who declined.
  17. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Very, very apt and important point atk.
  18. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member


    Have not read all the posts, but the general theme seems to be, avoid them at all costs ( no pun intended )

    I think its a very unfair indictment , to make blanket statements about any org.

    I have worked for them in every capacity over multi yrs ( as well as indies. )
    Yes, there have been some very questionable ones, --but--- there have also been some outstanding ones .

    The a / m studio in toronto where I worked briefly, had on its staff-- the ( Canadian. Austrian, Scottish and south of England champion , not to mention many more highly qualif. teachers. ( frank regan was there with me at that time ). I know, thats an extreme e.g., but I could give you others that touted highly qual. instruction .
    I think what most people are failing to realise--- It,s a busines. ALL dance schools are . The practices of some of the chains was reprehensible, but for as many " bad " schools, there are , many, many more legitimate operations.
    yes, their prices are higher, but as I have said in previous posts, they serve a certain segment of the community that would otherwise go neglected .
    The social aspect of chains , is something , that many indies cannot compete with . And as several have already said, I wonder how many of the top class dancers, would have got lost by the wayside, without the opportunity they were given by a / a and f / a ? ( p.s.-- this not a paid political announcement-- no longer work for them )
  19. There're no certainties or absolutes in this world. So people try to make sense of it by developing rules which essentially are generalizations of their past experiences, their values, beliefs, etc. From what I've read on this thread there seems to be a preponderant amount of evidence that AM's interest/mission is making $$$ rather than turning out great dancers. While I admire the few (such as the above person) who stays on a sinking ship trying to fix the hole, I must go with the masses on this. Trying to individually assess each chain studio takes a lot of time and money, both of which I don't have a lot. Unless you can recommend one specific current case/chain studio location (in So Cal) with quality teachers and instructors that turn out great dancers, most people won't lend you an ear.
  20. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    LD006, good point, except that you can't generalize about independents either. There are some bad apples in that group, too. So you have to evaluate them individually. Same amount of effort.

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