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Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by formerChainStudent
2/12/2006  6:45:00 AM
There is a market out there for people who really don't have the time, commitment, or ability to learn to dance well. They are simply sold on the experience and fantasy, and that's the market the chain studios cater to best. They focus on step and step patterns, and try to get the students feeling comfortable just moving around with other. True technique is almost never discussed, and their instructors vary from some what knowledgable to six week wonders who just finished learning what they will teach you from a video. The instructors do work really hard because they have to keep selling the fantasy which often means reminding students who haven't been in for a while that they still have lessons on the books.

The studio I'm with now has a group mainly interested in social dancing, but there is a very strong group of competive dancers. We train, travel, and compete together (and win sometimes). We don't need any selling tactics because we are all passionate about learning to dance well, and our instructors are incredibly talented. Instead of holding information back, our instructors actually feed us more information than we can handle in order to push us further. There's no threat of running out of material, because they are teaching technique and not steps which takes years. After leaving the chain, it became painfully obvious that dancing was about movement and not steps. That fact is missed at the chains.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by operabob
2/12/2006  3:14:00 PM
Here we are:

http://www.vbds.org

Started as an off-shoot from the University of Victoria Ballroom Dance Club.

As members graduated they decided to form their own seperate club linked above.

We're a small city but at our height we had about 1,000 members. We teach group classes:

Newcomer I/II & Intermediate (11 weeks each)

Pre-Bronze
Bronze
Silver I
Silver II
Gold I (33 weeks each above)

Pre-Champ (on availability of qualified instructor: Pat Bovaird of Montreal)

Each session is eleven 1 & 1/2 hours lessons for $88 ($8/class).

There is a yearly membership around $36 or $42 that includes:

Wednesday & Friday (Open to All)
Sunday (Silver & Above)
Sunday (Newcomers only)

Practices of 2 - 2 1/2 hours each (Except newcomer: 1 hour)and access to the Club video library of over 100 videos at no added charge.

All our teachers are CDTA or ISTD certified. Teachers provide private lessons on their own but the club is a great source.

We have no permanent home but rent community halls all over town.

We did it. So can you.

OB
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by beebo3
2/22/2006  6:50:00 AM
Opera Bob - thanks for the information - it looks great but there isn't a "and this is how it happened and how we do it" section on the site. Can I get that information somewhere?
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by operabob
2/22/2006  7:25:00 AM
beebo3,

e-mail the club at:

info (AT) vbds (dot) org

or myself at:

gibb_robert (AT) hotmail (dot) com

If myself put something in the title so I don't just delete your message.

OB
no subject
Posted by wow
7/3/2007  7:37:00 AM
This is cruel.

Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by boleros2aerosmith
2/12/2006  8:24:00 PM
I am an Arthur Murray student and have been for almost 5 years. I have taken one or two lessons from instructors who patronize me horribly. I thank them for their time and look for a different instructor, one who will hear my goals and dance dreams and who is willing to commit to helping me achieve those goals. My first instructor with AM wasted 8 months of my time, energy and money because she was very into the manipulation game that has been described by FRIEND, ANN and EYES WIDE OPEN above. My former husband who was taking lessons with me at the time was unwilling to confront the teacher about the issues we had with her. When she moved to Texas, I went to the franchisee and explained what I wanted in my next instructor and I got exactly what I asked for.

I have, for the past 4 years, been blessed with a wonderful teacher who sees his role as giving people the opportunity to realize their potential using dance as the vehicle. He is different from so many instructors in that he's a grown up, not a 20-year-old looking for something to do besides flip burgers at McDonald's. He REALLY (with all of his students - not just me) wants to help THEM get what THEY want out of dancing. He gives a good return on the investment and for me, that is very, very important.

I have taken lessons from Independent studios in tandem with my AM lessons simply to get a different perspective on the subject. I have encountered just as many instructors at Indy studios who just wanted to sell lessons and didn't care what I got from the experience as I have with instructors at franchised studios.

I think before I slammed an entire chain or even generalized the effectiveness of Independent studios, I would recognize that the chain or habit of the institution does not necessarily reflect the tendency of ALL studios in that chain or ALL teachers, either. Good instructors exists in both the franchised studios and the independent studios. Communication is key, though. If you aren't happy at a given studio, tell someone. If they don't fix it or aren't willing to work with you to come up with a solution, move on. Eventually you will find what you want in an instructor, especially if you are clear on what you expect from that person from the very beginning.

I sincerely hope that you have found a studio and an instructor who meets your needs and I do hope you are enjoying your dancing.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by buffy
8/23/2013  4:27:00 PM
Thank you very much for your response. They are words of wisdom and will make me re-evaluate what I really want in a teacher and a dance studio.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by boleros2aerosmith
2/12/2006  8:45:00 PM
TO: PassionForDance

I have no way of knowing who you are but you sound very like my instructor and the supervisor at the AM studio where I take lessons.

As a teacher, you know that there are instructors out there who get caught up in themselves and fail to really recognize what it is they are doing. Those are the ones who make the bad impressions on the general public. I will tell you, because I am assuming you in fact AREN'T my teacher (that would be weird) that my teacher has seen me go from being a horribly unhappy, resentful woman, facing radical life changes at the speed of light, to emerging as a happier and healthier human. My teacher invites me to soar with eagles and never disbelieves my ability to do so. Through the vehicle of dance, he has allowed me to see who I am as a person again. This spills over into EVERYTHING I do in my daily life.

He has also shown me how important it is to give to others because they need to soar with the eagles, too. I am Silver 2 level. I go to many group classes that are for beginners and lower Bronze levels, not because I already know the steps so I can show off, but so I know who is in the studio. I want the newer people to see that even those of us who have been around seemingly forever have to work for what we want. I also want them to see that they are supported in their efforts, not only by the instructors but by their fellow students.

Yeah, okay, dance is about movement or is it about music? I forget, being a life-long musician, myself. This experience isn't about that. It's about convincing someone they sure as HEll CAN do "IT" whatever "IT" is. It's a vehicle to self esteem, to success, to better health, through accepting self and recognizing how powerful that 'self' is. You, as a committed dance instructor have as your job opening doors; the hearts and minds of everyone who steps into your studio. YOU and those like you who GET IT are the one's I salute and am more thankful for than I will ever be able to put into words. I was dead inside except for my music, before I started dancing. It is wonderful to stand up and live again. Keep doing what you do. I would bet because of your attitude you give a good return on your students' investment. Thank you for that.

...for me, Arthur Murray rocks!
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by operabob
2/13/2006  12:30:00 PM
BTW: Can someone give some examples of typical AM pricing and the contract restrictions?

OB
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by Janet
2/21/2006  4:00:00 PM
Bolero,
I really enjoyed reading your post. You remind me of the multiple benefits dance brings to our lives.

I began dancing at AM about 12 years ago. We evetually left to go to an indenpendent studio, but our experience at AM was a good one.

Regarding pricing, I can speak about FADS, where we purchased lessons not to long ago. I found the pricing comparable to the independent studios, discounts per lessons the more you buy. The only restrictions we have are that lessons must be used in a year, and you are not guaranteed a specific instructor.

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