A fiend and AM student told me she had been really looking forward to a comp that was coming up in January. She paid for it long in advance. She worked hard with her instructor. She was told 3 weeks before the event her instructor was NOT going to be allowed to attend. She would just have to dance with someone else. Had she have known she would NOT have gone to this event.
If people get out of franchise studios they will find they pay way less for what they get. You will NOT get the rug pulled out from under you and told to suck it up either.
If people are to take the trouble to learn to dance, why not do it properly and get lessons in International Ballroom Dance. I have yet to see anyone from these studios able to dance. Slow motion box steps etc., are not dancing. Spend your money wisely. Don't waste it. Also avoid the politics of these "studios", which can be nasty.
I am 81 years of age. In my 20s and 30s I had the pleasure of being an Arthur Murray instructor for 10 years in one of the London, UK, schools. I still teach several times a week for charities, clubs and churches. Many of my students are in their 80s and a couple are in their 90s. I say Thank God for the American, Social style dance. Without it many (and I include younger people) would give up and miss the pleasure that dance brings.
Just as in medicine there is alternative medicine, so in dance there are alternatives. Please allow that there are alternatives in dance. Why not watch a few vids. on You Tube and see what real people doing real dancing is really like. It sure as Hell isn't the International Style.
I know nothing about American Smooth only what I see on you-tube. To compare that style with the International Style is ridiculous. I watched some of the stuff from the Emerald Championship And let it run. I finished with an International Style from Hong Kong competition. I think when you said Light years above. You should have said Light years apart. There is no comparison at all. What I saw from the Emerald was more like Exhibition Dancing without any lifts. Very little if any body contact. Moving in any direction. International Style both moving as one without breaking hold and moving around the floor in an anti- clockwise direction. I am not criticizing any style, just pointing to the differences in style which cannot be compared. But I see with the Smooth that those in a closed hold look very much like the International not only in stance but also in routine some of which came strait out of the Technique Book.
Interesting.. you know nothing about Amer. style and yet, you have critiqued it !!..
What you witnessed, was the Comp style, NOT the " Social " style ( which was my reference and point ) and that was my comparison.
The Silver/Gold levels, were designed to be different from Intern. style, ya know, it's called CHOICE..
Both chain schools do teach Intern style and, both have turned out world class dancers ( one, 3rd at Blackpool ) the other, 8th in the world in Latin .
In case you do not know, the variety in the " Smooth and Rhythm" (as they are called ), give more types of dance as choices, thereby giving appeal to a wider audience, and after all, is that not what "dance " is all about? .
Just for your info, I am a dual Fellow in 2 English Soc.in Ballroom and latin( English trained ) and same, in the American style , and a former Examiner .
I do respect your opinion, but I think you need to research the other style before you come to a full conclusion ( there are ex. on this site in the vid section ).
By the way, I do hope you realise that EVERY dance we teach in the Intern. style , was NOT originated in the UK, and "we " subsequently changed them, some for the better and otherwise, some may say not !!
The first World Ballroom Championship was in December 1922. The first National Championship in American Smooth was 1984 ?. I think it is safe to say that every possible way of performing lets say a Natural Spin Turn had been tried and tested. I doubt if anything is completely new its just accepted as being current.
American Smooth in Blackpool. Its worth watching this special presentation at the Blackpool Championship Especially as there is an explanation regarding the differences between it and the International style. As all the couples, after their solos, are recalled to the floor we are told to imagine this is the Grand Final of a Competition.
Dec 1922 Victor Silvester in London at the Worlds Introduced the full Natural Turn. On that day the Modern Waltz was born as it is danced today. The Reverse Turn in those days they crossed the feet on the first part and a Heel Pivot on the second part. That was soon to go. They evidently were n`t big on closing the feet as we do today. This information is by the the man himself who on that day won the event. He goes on to say that in the Waltz on a few occasions many dancers used Foxtrot steps untii those feet came together on three
I taught for Arthur Murray for a year, and would not recommend it. If you're not happy, find another studio.
Every Arthur Murray studio is a little different, so it really depends on the franchisee owner on what kind of quality you're going to get. The advantage of going to an Arthur Murray or Fred Astaire is that you know that your instruction will have to meet certain standards in order to be accredited. When you're first starting and don't know how to judge dance quality this is a big deal. The studio I was at trained us really well on how to teach in a simple way and break everything down so that any beginner could easily learn no matter how awkward they were.
That being said, Arthur Murray is good for beginning students, but most Arthur Murray's will not progress you to more than just a decent social dancer. Even our "gold" students could barely lead and follow.
Arthur Murray hires instructors based on friendly personalities and looks. No prior dance experience is necessary. They train them pretty intensively before they are allowed to teach, so again, for teaching beginners they are pretty good. However, at the studio I worked at, once they receive their initial training, the amount of training they receive afterwords is minimal. We had a dance session once a week where a senior teacher would teach a group class to the rest of the staff. Also, coaches come into town around once a month, and give group class instruction to the teachers. You had the option of getting a private coaching, but it was extremely expensive and the instructors don't get paid enough to be able to easily afford it. At my studio, all the instructors were either living at home, had some other source of income, or were on food stamps to make ends meet.
I left because I wasn't progressing in my dance, was making next to nothing, and I was tired of being manipulated by our studio manager. In order to get us to stay, management would often publicly humiliate us in order to shame us and tear our confidence down. They would also tell us that "some day" we could make management, and then we'd be making more than "engineers". Somehow the staff bought into it, and some of them had been there for over 7 years and were still struggling as teachers. I also did not feel that we were being trained on how to give the students what they wanted; we were being trained on how to convince the students to want what we had. To an extent, I understand that, but we definitely were being trained on using manipulative tactics to get students to do buy into doing more, and I was uncomfortable with that.
Teachers were required to tell everything students told them to the studio owner and other staff that would be working with them. One of the things we often did during our daily meetings was a simulation where one instructor would pretend to be a student and the other staff would take turns asking personal questions to the "student." We would get chastised if we did not know the answers to these questions. I once refused to pose as a student because I felt very uncomfortable breaching their confidence in this way, and I got into HUGE trouble for it. I left shortly after. If you tell something to one teacher, you're telling it to them all.
Again, I want to emphasize that not all Arthur Murray studios are the same. The studio I was at was particularly bad. Other ones are MUCH better than that.
The two letters above hit the nail right on the head. I know a teacher who runs a studio who has no idea how to use his sides. CBM and CBMP. You cant imagine what a Quickstep looks like at that studio.And the position of the heads is deplorable. Those poor pupils have no idea of how they are throwing their money down a never ending drain.