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Re: Arthur Murray Does Not Stink
Posted by Ballroomchick
6/2/2014  11:06:00 AM
Dear Another Friend

Thank you for posting THE FACTS - AM instructors start out teaching after only 3 months training. They are novices, teaching novices, learning on the job. So why would should someone be paying them double the price of most independent instructors who have been competition and winning on the professional circuit? I'm taking from an independent who is also a NDCA judge. I'm not paying anywhere what AM charges AND my instructor has passed the qualifications and is a NDCA judge.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by Gtwteshark
6/23/2014  3:11:00 AM
I started dancing at the Fairfax, VA Fred Astaire studio in May 2013,and my experience has been completely different then some of those described. Most of the students are in their 40s to 60s, some older and some younger. I would estimate that 3/4 are married and 1/4 are single. Most of us are professionals that work long hours. I would agree that it is expensive but it is the only activity I found where I can work 11-12 hours and still have the energy to dance. My instructor has been dancing since he was a child and has won numerous national and international competitions. He is not learning steps from videos the night before. When I joked with him that I was his favorite student, I got the "knock it off" look, so that was the end of that :) Do I enjoy dancing with a hot young stud with puppy dog eyes? Yes, I do. Do I have any illusions that he is "interested" in me? Absolutely not! One of the unexpected perks is that many of the students have formed friendships.
If you live in Northern VA, I highly recommend the Fairfax Fred Astaire studio.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by diskman50
6/23/2014  7:02:00 AM
We've been AM students for a long time and although it's expensive we've been generally satisfied with out dance instruction. Until recently, at least half of the instructors were long time AM employees with some having 30+ tears of teaching experience. Even the lessor experienced instructors are very good at their craft. So we are satisfied customers as I stated in the beginning of this post.

My issue....
I would like to know if this is a common practice at most studios. Our studio has two fairly large dance floors and a small private dance room that's about 18' x 18'. Typically group classes are held on one of the large dance floors and private lessons are conducted on the second dance floor or in the private room which is perfect for the absolute beginner to remove any intimidation. Recently enrollment has been down so to impress new prospects all classes, group and private, are held on only one dance floor. This gives the impression that we are a thriving and busy studio even with a small amount of dancers in the room. My issue arises when there is a group class and sometimes multiple private lessons going on at the same time. We all share the music... this means the swing group class can be dancing to the rhumba music that's being played for one of the two private lessons going on at the same time, while the second private lesson is practicing the cha cha. The music will then be switched to swing so the group class can finally dance to the rhythms they are practicing and the two privates are now dancing rhumba and cha cha to swing music. This is extremely annoying and considering the large amount of money we've paid for lessons it certainly feels that we are being short changed. We've brought this up to the owner multiple times but to no avail. We've even switched our private lessons to times when there are no group classes going on but 75% of the time there is another private lesson going on at the same time and once again the music is shared. We don't expect exclusive use of the dance space but it seems to me the studio has the facilities to minimize this situation but refuses to do anything about it. Your thoughts?
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by ballroomchick
6/23/2014  9:45:00 AM
Its not unusual to take turns sharing the music if space is limited. If your working on smooth dances and need a good runway, a showcase or its a wedding dance and there is an open room most instructors move to that free room.

Sharing the music teaches you to tune in whats important. More people on the floor teaches you better navigation, especially if you moving up to do competition.

As for what you can do about your situation if this is really bothering you.... Money talks. If you feel you pay enough NOT to have to be crammed into 1 room when there is more space to be utilized and they are not willing to use it - maybe you should tell them it's time for you to looking for a new studio.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by Clary
6/23/2014  1:18:00 PM
I agree with ballroomchick. Just as a comment, my personal preference would be to share the floor/music on the bigger floor, rather than have exclusive use of floor/music in a small room.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by diskman50
6/24/2014  5:30:00 AM
Just to be clear we are not talking about a gymnasium size floor here. Most of the time the group class students are banging into the private lessons that are going on at the same time. It just seems to me that it's a waste of resources for the sake of appearing bigger then they actually are.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by mm76012
7/8/2014  10:36:00 AM
I spoke to one of the big time franchisee owners once on the subject of floor size. It sounded like they ensure floors are small to make the energy and atmosphere intense. My only problem with this strategy is that it gets so crowded. You in fact due literally have group classes bumping into private lessons. The only positive to this is that after 2.5 years at an AM I am really good at leading a lady in crowded conditions. I also had to learn how to improvise even when working through a "routine." So that is a plus. I have not ran a lady into anyone in a very long time! (-:

My issue with the crowded floor is that when I was paying $125 for 40 minutes in a lesson I did not like having to work around the group classes. It distracted from the time.

The place I go now has a huge main floor and a smaller practice floor. We have had some of our private lessons on the smaller floor and it has worked well. All in all I really love the huge floor and do not miss the "energy" of the smaller floor.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by MaggieMoves
7/16/2014  6:07:00 PM
I started my ballroom experience with Arthur Murray out of undergrad. While I did have a bad experience with one instructor that I felt was intentionally limiting me so that they could milk more lessons out of me, the franchise owner quickly moved me to a more experienced instructor that I still actually do keep in contact with (it's been 6 years since I left). I felt I learned a lot from AM, especially on a social dancing level. I had learned most of the bronze syllabus when I was in undergrad, but still felt awkward socially when I went to go dance with a friend.

AM is really more about selling the experience than building a competitive dancer, which is what a lot of people want when they dance. It's mostly older married couples looking for something fun to do evenings or on weekends that don't want to be bothered by dance snobs which you find at some studios.

All of that said, when I started to seriously compete, I stopped going to AM and went to an independent studio for classes and invited local pros into my home to teach me on a per Diem basis. It's much cheaper and more effective that way.

Overall, my experience with AM was a positive one. I believe it's a great place for people to start... but don't fall for their sales tactics.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by Used to work at Arthur Murray also...
7/30/2014  6:32:00 PM
Please wake up. I see you've written about being an AM instructor and it's the best thing ever. You've been brainwashed and now you don't know it but you're brainwashing your students. I worked for aurthur Murray for a year. I had 0 ballroom experience. They hired me after I trained with them for about 4 hours per day and 16 hours per week(all in groups) for about 6 weeks. In 10 dances! Now I'm "certified". I was a very fast learner and a natural so I looked good even though everything about my dancing was all wrong. AM knew it and we the newbies knew it. I could also tell by this stage that there are only a few expert dancers in the bunch of instructors all over the state(we meet them often for meetings).So now I'm teaching. I noticed how quickly some of you (newbie instructors) got brainwashed. Yes, you are also brainwashing the students and I notice how many students get emotional about how we helped save their marriage or helped them come out of being a wallflower.

The point of this page is that you can get all that from another type of dance community that doesn't manipulate you. As an independent professional instructor now I still use visual and audible cues,vocal cues, psychological techniques(so students remember moves) and also motivate students to help get past uncomfortable stages in their dancing but never how I was I expected at AM. Fred astair is the same.

To be clear, None of the instructors or management is bad. They are good people. They just don't know how much BS comes out of their mouths because their studios' way becomes their CREED! I still have a close friend teaching there and she has good intentions. She considers it therapy for her students. But all the sales training and emotional manipulation kills it in my opinion. There are many dance communities where you can spend half of what you pay at AM and get better dance results. I couldnt stand when I had to learn a move right before teaching a student. Or when I saw instructors teaching styles they knew NOTHING about. Argentine tango and club salsa are excellent examples. I would watch people who have NEVER been to a club or milonga teach students who planned to go to these places. When the student asked of AM could do it AM put on a fake smile and said yes. Disgusting. They desocrated beautiful dances and pretended to know them even though they knew nothing. It's like slumdog millionaire at the taj when the young boy pretends to be a tour guide because the white people give him $100. "Right this way madam". Good answer if ur him. Disgusting if you work for aurthur murray.
If you don't get how brainwashed you are I feel bad for you.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks - not to me
Posted by Sophie
6/1/2015  6:39:00 AM
Hi All,

This post is from 2015 and about London Arthur Murray Dance Studios.
I am absolutely delighted with Arthur Murray lessons. No one slows me down - quite contrary, I sometimes feel the teachers believe more in my skills than I do and encourage me to get more and more new dancing skills.
No one has ever "pushed me" to buy more classes. The whole 45 minutes of the private lessons are dedicated to dancing an not to marketing of AR.
After 5 months of classes both group and private I can actually dance 5 different dances! Perhaps for some people it is not much but I feel I made a massive progress form someone who never danced before to someone who can enjoy herself during parties and weddings.

So I find the below post a bit unjust. At least in London the classes are great.

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