It’s a new year, which means a bright new feel to everything. It’s an excellent time to think about what you want in the new future of your life, both short term and long term. Of course, that leads to one of the most popular New Year’s traditions: New Year’s resolutions. There is no wrong time to start with a life change, but sometimes an outside influence is best to spur someone onward, and January especially can feel like a fresh new leaf everyone is eager to turn over.
Learning a new skill for a new year is always an admirable undertaking, especially when you consider what an investment it can be in your health and happiness. Taking a dance studio class—be it for social situations, exercise, an upcoming event, or simply for fun—is an investment for the rest of your life, and beneficial in a lot more ways than you might initially expect.
Dance studio lessons offer great exercise, both for the body and mind. It is easier on the joints than running, and it may not even seem like a workout. But dance can lead to weight loss, increased flexibility and mobility, better posture, better coordination, and better endurance. It is an exercise for the mind, too; dance involves learning different steps and styles, and requires active thinking as you move with a partner.
Dancing has always been a social go-to for people around the world, whether it is for weddings, at clubs, or just for a fun Saturday night out. Dancing has been proven to reduce stress, increase self-confidence, and help people overcome shyness. People feel more at ease in social situations, and the growth in confidence extends outside the dance studio as well! You won’t have to ever say “no” to a dance invitation again.
Dance studio classes are an excellent way to make new friends and have more to do in your free time, and they can be a hobby shared with friends and loved ones. It’s a way to build goals and opportunities to succeed, not to mention the sense of accomplishment when you achieve new skills! It is the stress relief of choice of many people across the globe.
This new year, give the gift of dance! Whether it’s a gift to yourself or someone you know, Arthur Murray Dance Center of Cranford is a place where you can Walk In, and Dance Out—with a new skill for life!
December 16th marked our third annual Murray Awards celebration! The banquet event was held in our Cranford dance studio, beginning at 7 p.m. It was catered with delicious food, so our many guests were sure to bring their appetites!
We hold the Murray Awards as a thank you to our students for their loyalty and commitment. The party celebrates YOU! Every year, it is an excellent opportunity to get dressed to the nines, celebrate with your fellow students, and see who has won the variety of awards we give out.
This year we gave out a wide assortment of awards. We honored the students who have been with us for five or more years. There was a Most Improved Dancer category, which was decided completely by student vote—the staff had no input. As always, there was the coveted Best Accidental Step Award. Categories change yearly, so there are always surprises in store.
Here at the Arthur Murray Dance Center of Cranford, we greatly appreciate the trust and loyalty of our students. Whether it’s a student’s first or tenth year with us, we’re thankful that they chose us to help them on their dance journey. We have the greatest student base around, and we are indescribably proud of all of you. The Murray Awards are a chance for us to give back just a little sliver of the appreciation, trust, and devotion that you have shown us.
The end of 2016 is nearly upon us! The holidays are winding down, the days are beginning to get longer, and people are looking back over their New Year’s Resolutions—some with pride, some with amusement, some with exasperation, and some with a last bolt of panic.
The good news for everyone who’s wanted to learn new moves this year: Arthur Murray Dance Center of Cranford is hosting one last Guest Party before the year is up! The theme is Near Year’s Resolution, so it’s perfect for anyone who has wanted to learn a new skill, get a little exercise, become more social, or try something new.
Our dance center’s New Year’s Resolution Guest Party starts at 8:15 p.m. on Friday, December 30th. Students are encouraged to bring friends, family, or coworkers to our guest parties. We only ask that they RSVP beforehand with our guest director, Colleen. Refreshments will be served, including champagne to help ring in the New Year (a little early).
The evening begins with a special group class, where guests are offered beginner dance lessons to a couple of different dances so that they can handle a variety of social dance situations. Everything is taught at a beginner’s level, so no prior experience is required. Guests will learn new steps, how to interact with a partner, and about various types of music.
Afterward, guests are immediately able to show off their new moves. The dance center hosts a practice party, where each song comes with announced choreography that people can use, and guests are free to choose partners as they wish. Our students are also there to practice and have a good time, so there are a wide variety of dances and skill levels. Instructors will be there to act as partners and to answer questions, too, but will not be instructing like in class. They’re there to help our dancers have a good time showcasing their new skills.
RSVP by phone at (908) 272-7955 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll see you there!
Photo Credit: Pat & Kerri
The team at Arthur Murray Dance Center of Cranford is excited to invite you to the Medal Ball! This year it will take place on Sunday, December 4, 2016, at the Madison Hotel in Morristown, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will be graduation freestyle performances, solo routines, professional show numbers, great music, food, fun, and lots of dancing. Those are the easy facts, but why should you attend? Here are four reasons to persuade you.
- Your teacher wouldn’t ask you to dance if they didn’t think you were ready.
The dance studio instructors are proud of what you’ve accomplished and excited to share it with the Arthur Murray family! When you step outside of your comfort zone, your confidence will gain a giant boost, and you’ll feel a rush of dopamine and excitement. This reason alone makes it so worth it!
- It’s a beautiful way to celebrate everyone’s accomplishments, including yours!
We know it’s not easy to graduate to a new level in the dance studio program. It takes time and dedication. This is a milestone in your dance progress and it deserves recognition. Join us in clapping for all the dancers who are reaching magnificent achievements.
- Take in the sights and incredible energy.
There will be all kinds of dances, dancers, and music to partake in and watch. This is a fantastic opportunity to see if there’s something you would like to add to your program. A personalized dance studio program should always be growing to keep it interesting, exciting, and challenging. So take a look, and talk to your teachers about what you may want to add or do next!
- You’ll get great feedback from our Guest Judge.
Whether you are excited about getting tips from our fantastic panel of coaches or not, rest assured that your teachers can’t wait! Bob Long is visiting as our Guest Judge and will stay as a Guest Coach for the week after the Medal ball, too. Guest Coaches travel to events around the world at different dance studios because they love to share their passion for great dancing with you. They aren’t here to ‘judge’ you. They are here to give valuable feedback to you and your team of instructors to help your dancing feel and look even better. Make sure you have your coaching times scheduled so you can hear the feedback directly from them!
Get your tickets today, and we’ll see you on the dance floor at the Medal Ball on December 4, 2016, at 12 p.m.
If you have spent much time in the studio, you have probably heard about the Freestyles showcase. It’s an event the dance studio hosts in partnership with other studios in Montclair and Princeton during the spring and fall. It’s a full day of dancing for staff and students alike, complete with professional shows, a banquet, and a theme of the day. The Fall Freestyles, held on October 16th, was a huge success!
For students Ira and Alex Augenzucker, it was their first Freestyles event. “It was a blast. We have not had the opportunity to actually dance with so many people and so many different dances in such a friendly non-competitive setting. It was F-U-N!” said Ira.
His wife Alex had a similarly great time. “Not knowing what to expect, I was more than pleasantly surprised,” she said. “Coaches kept us from feeling out of place. Dancing was great fun, and the day went by so quickly. Can’t wait for next time!”
Nicole LaBruno has been a student with dance studio for several years now and has participated in many Freestyles events. “Freestyles is a great opportunity for us as students to showcase what we have been working on for the past six months,” she said. “It’s fun and exciting to have a change of pace. Getting dressed up and doing extravagant hair and makeup makes me feel like I am in another time! Being on the dance floor with others who share a love for dance is a surreal experience.”
Guest judges from Arthur Murray dance studios across the globe always attend the Freestyles events. For the 2016 Fall Freestyles, the judges were the talented and fantastic Lynda Smith and Daniel Heroux! The dancers were absolutely thrilled to have them in attendance.
Despite having judges, the Freestyles event is not a competition. Instead, it offers dancers a unique learning opportunity in a fun setting. Aside from specific categories, students do not compete for placement, and instead receive feedback on their dancing across all their heats, with a particular eye on categories such as timing, footwork, and frame.
Teachers can then regroup with their students after the event. They go over the feedback together, and they receive a fresh perspective on a student’s strengths and areas to work on going forward together during dance lessons. It’s an awesome learning opportunity and definitely a reason to get excited for the next Freestyles in March!
If you are interested in learning more about this event or participating in dance lessons, please contact the studio today.
Photo Credit: Gabriel Saldana
Part three found here.
Night Club Dancing
So far, we have discussed private dancing parties.
A restaurant, featuring dancing, is quite different. Here your only obligation is to the people of your own party. A cut-in from a stranger should never be accepted… nor should it be offered. A man should avoid leaving his date alone at the table unless it is really necessary. Otherwise, she may be subjected to unwelcome attention.
Most restaurant and night club dance floors are tiny in size. So, in consideration of your partner and your neighbors, you should avoid complicated steps. Dance simply and follow the line of direction. This means to progress around the room, clockwise. Shorten your steps to fit the limitation of space.
One Last Word
It is not bad manners to suggest sitting down before the dance is over. That is, if you suggest the idea tactfully. Either partner can say: “It’s warm in here, don’t you think so? Shall we sit out and cool off for a few moments?” Or, “It’s crowded, isn’t it? I’m anxious to talk to you anyway—shall we sit down?”
From now on, try to think more kindly of the word “etiquette”—it protects you, too; don’t you think so?
A Few Remaining Tips…
- Don’t give helpful pointers while dancing. It makes you sound fault-finding.
- Don’t steer your partner around the floor like a bicycle.
- Don’t dance side-saddle.
- Don’t chew gum in time to music. Don’t chew gum in your partner’s ear. Maybe… don’t chew gum!
- Don’t be so serious. Leave your business face at the office when you step out.
- Don’t say you hate dancing just because you don’t know how.
- If you want to lead a man to the altar—don’t lead him on the dance floor.
- Don’t let old-fashioned dancing date you!
- When you make a misstep, don’t blame the orchestra.
- Don’t brag “I never had a lesson in my life.”
- Don’t keep on dancing for “politeness’ sake” when neither of you is having fun.
- Don’t dance passively—be glad you’re alive.
Part Two found here.
This is a matter of personality but there are general rules of good manners to consider. The first taboo is don’t argue! Dancing is a partnership that depends on accord. Two people cannot move as one and enjoy the rhythm of the music together unless they feel harmonious toward each other. So, avoid subjects that might breed discord; such as politics, religion, school elections, and so on. Even when you discuss songs or bands, remember that the sweetest words ever spoken are: “I think you’re right!”
There are some people who cannot talk as they dance. Theirs is a companionable silence because it is obvious that their minds are occupied with the rhythm of the music and the pleasure of the dance.
The strong, stern, silent man and the frosty-faced, forbidding female don’t belong at a dance. Their partners find them unpleasant and the onlookers will avoid them. There may be some reason not to talk as you dance… but always keep your smile on!
The walkie-talkie chatter-box is a conversational hazard, too. There are always a few at every dance… they are so keyed up or so shy that they have forgotten all about Silence Being Golden. Their chatter is so steady that it drowns out the loudest band. Like the brook, they ripple on and on. Nothing can be done about it but you can profit by their example!
Introducing people is a bugbear to those who are shy… and to those who are young and unpracticed. Actually, the only difficult part is to remember names—and to have them at the tip of your tongue. Otherwise, your cues are easy… you always present the man to the lady, mentioning her name first. Such as: “Lillian, this is Mr. Brown—Miss Smith.” Or, if you are not on a first-name terms with her, you can say: “Miss Smith, may I present Mr. Brown.”
When introducing two women, you present the younger one to the older, such as: “Mrs. Jones, this is Miss Smith.” If they are of equal age, it doesn’t matter which name is mentioned first. “Mrs. Jones, I’d like to have you know Mrs. Brown.”
It is good training to make a point of remembering names; therefore many people form the habit of acknowledging introductions by repeating the name. Such as: “How do you do, Mrs. Brown.” If you have not really heard the other person’s name, it will flatter them to have you say: “Did you say Mrs. Brown? …How do you do.”
Don’t make the famous mistake that was made by a young girl, who was too shy to ask to have the name repeated—and who, later in the evening, asked: “I’m not quite sure—how do you spell your name?” “S-M-I-T-H, plain Smith,” he replied.
Certain replies to introductions have fallen into too much common usage and are not considered good taste. As an example: “Pleased to meet you”… is no longer used. Yet, “I’m so glad to know you” is quite acceptable.
A woman does not rise to acknowledge introductions, unless she is the hostess, or is being introduced to an older person. A hostess rises to greet all of her guests, men or women.
Part one found here.
There is a right and wrong way to ask a lady to dance. It puts her in an awkward spot if you say: “Have you the next dance taken?” What girl wants to admit that her dances are not taken! Instead, say: “May I have the next dance?” Don’t forget this… it holds true for all invitations. It is more polite to say: “Will you go dancing with me on Friday night?” …than to tactlessly say: “What are you doing on Friday night?” See the difference?
At the end of each dance, a man must always escort his partner back to where she was sitting. He must never leave her in the middle of the floor. But don’t forget, he doesn’t have to take her by the arm to lead her off!
When leaving a girl after dancing with her, a man should make some pleasant remark like: “Thank you so much—I enjoyed dancing with you.” He should be careful not to say: “I’ll be back later,” unless he plans to return. A man is well protected by the rules of etiquette. If he has had an uncongenial or dull partner, he can make his exit very smoothly by saying that he must find the girl with whom he has the next dance. Or, that he has not yet dance with the hostess.
This is an acceptable custom at almost all dances that are held in America. If a man wants to cut-in on the girl of his choice, he should wait until she is dancing fairly near him, at the outer edge of the floor. Then he can easily step up to her side and nod pleasantly, saying “May I?” to her partner.
It is considered childishly bad form to refuse to “break”. Instead, the man who has been cut-in on, should step aside good-naturedly, with a slight bow and a smile, and join the stag line. From there, he can do a little cutting-in himself.
There is a generally accepted rule that there must be an intervening cut-in before a man can return to claim his original partner. For instance, if Bill cuts-in on John… John should not cut back on Bill. He should wait until another man is dancing with the lady.
The cut-in system is very cruel to a woman. Even when she likes the partner she has, she yearns for cut-ins, to prove her popularity. But, no matter how welcome the “cut” is, a woman should not show undue glee. She should smile equally at her original partner and at her new one.
A girl who pounces on a new cut-in with obvious delight makes him wary and suspicious. Further, her stock goes down with a bang because she has been noticeably insulting to her original partner. Neither can she show reluctance to break, even when her original partner is her dream man. Ladies must chart their course very carefully for smooth sailing.
Many people seem to shy away from the word “etiquette”. It has an old-fashioned sound. But etiquette, after all, is merely the practical application of good common sense and attractive manners.
Ballroom dancing is a partnership and group activity and so it concerns other people beside yourself. There is never any excuse for faulty manners that might affect or react on others. A popular member of a dancing group is considerate—and shows regard for the comfort and pleasure of partners, a hostess, and the other guests.
Once you have accepted an invitation to a dance, you have automatically agreed to live up to the obligations it implies. You are expected to be suitably dressed, to be pleasant company, and, above all, to be able to dance.
No one would dream of accepting an invitation for tennis or bridge unless they could play. But many will accept dancing dates when they know quite well that their dancing is not good enough for a partner to enjoy. It’s odd, isn’t it?
If you can’t dance with confidence, have the courage to refuse dancing invitations. Wait until you have the ability and can appear in the best light possible. By starting to practice immediately, you’ll be ready and in demand the next time!
A man who accepts an invitation to a dance cannot spend the entire evening with the one partner of his choice. By accepting, he has agreed to add to the festivity of the evening by mingling with the group, by asking several partners to dance, or by changing partners with other couples. Natural courtesy dictates the rule that he must seek out and invite the hostess to dance. If she has daughters or sisters present, they must not be overlooked.
A lady must wait to be asked to dance, but she has her obligations to the party. She cannot, for instance, refuse one partner and then turn around and accept another. Neither should a girl attempt to tie strings to a partner—to hold on to him. She must release him gracefully so that he can get about and dance with others.
When entering or leaving the dance room, the lady always precedes. Men never go first unless they need to do so to give assistance, such as in helping someone out of a car, bus, or so on.
It is no longer considered good taste for a man to take the lady’s arm when they are walking to or from the dance floor. This has been out-of-date for years.
In a whole roomful of dancers, did you ever spot one person whom you wished could be your partner? You’ll notice that it isn’t appearance alone that attracts you. There is another quality that draws your attention like a magnet. Call it “charm”—or “personality”… however you describe it, it shows in everything you do.
You can develop that extra something that will make your dancing personality colorful, attractive. It’s easy, once you know the tricks that will do it.
First of all, accent your dancing! Give it highlights. Accent in dancing is a great deal like accent in speaking. A person who talks in a flat, level, unvarying voice is a bore to listeners. They may know a great deal and have a fine vocabulary at their command but it all goes to waste because of their dreary, droning voice.
A man may know a great variety of steps and yet be a dull dancing partner. He must learn to accent his dancing to give it life and pep. Ladies, too, must accent the beat and rhythm of the music before they can dance with expression.
To accent in dancing, merely emphasize the same beat of the music that the orchestra does. You can find this most easily by listening for the bass drum beats. Turn on your radio or phonograph and listen. Note that in a Waltz, the drummer strikes in measures of three beats but that he strikes hardest on each first beat.
Practice the Waltz, accenting or emphasizing the first of every three steps. Because a man always starts dancing with his left foot, his first accented step in the Waltz will be taken with his left. A woman will start accenting with her right foot.
It will take a few hours of practice before you can do this easily and automatically. But it’s worth the time—it will make dancing more fun for you, more exciting for your partners, and more attractive to onlookers.
The Law of Opposites
Here is a secret of showmanship that will help you to express a sophisticated, smooth dancing personality. I call it the “Law of Opposites” and it is a rule that is used by every good dancer.
When you step forward with either foot, bring your opposite should slightly forward.
Try this movement of the body, while walking toward your mirror. It will remind you of the graceful, controlled steps that a high-diver takes on a springboard. Follow the rule of opposites in your dancing—it gives strength and assurance to the personality that you show.
The Face Must Dance, Too!
No dancer can attract partners by body and foot motions alone. The face must dance, too. Remember this—you are not dressed for dancing until you put on a smile! Show the cheerful side of your character when you dance—it will be contagious to your partner and to everyone who watches. Let them say of you… “What a wonderful personality!”