A Day In The Life: Kennedy

I start my day by waking up to wet kisses from my cute, furry friend. She usually snuggles up right by MY side for a while until I get up.

Once I’m up, I like to hit the ground running by setting my priorities straight and heading downstairs to make a cup of coffee for Colleen and myself – then the day may begin. I’ll iron and shower, and on the way out, I’ll grab food that I cooked myself the night before to have for dinner at the studio.

As we begin our journey to the studio, we make our stop either at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts – but now something wonderful happened: a Wawa just opened a block away from us!  We stop there for our morning coffee, which is not to be confused with our breakfast coffee that we have earlier in the day.

We get back in the car and the journey to Arthur Murray Cranford then continues. That’s when I do most of my thinking, usually nothing in specific. My mind wanders between work related things, to family, to wedding plans, and anything else that comes to mind. On the rare occasion the radio is on, I’ll have a Latin station on and Colleen learns a few words here and there, or we’ll have it on the country station, so we can avoid the annoyance of the same Top 40 songs on constant bothersome repeat.

Finally, we arrive at the studio. We all pretty much have similar routines. Practice, change, think about dinner, plan the day and rest of the week, teach, think about dinner, attend or give meetings, dance sessions, and finally dinner time! As Colleen mentioned in her A Day In The Life post, “During our dinner break, we all sit and chat. We laugh at each other’s dumb jokes and exchange funny YouTube videos that we found over the weekend.” I love this because we really are like a family and we get to connect with one another.

Dinner is then over and we begin the evening with a meeting. This is to go over our students and everyone’s plan for them, so we are all on the same page with every student in the studio. Here at Arthur Murray we are a team of teachers and together we all contribute to your dancing. Lucky you!

The evening is lively, with energy buzzing around the studio, and it’s amazingly contagious!

We finish teaching and drive home, where more thinking occurs. I mentally prepare for the excruciatingly hard work I am about to endure, while Colleen sits back, relaxes, and roams Pinterest…

It’s a dead sprint to the kitchen for me, where I slave over the stove, cooking anything and everything Colleen asks for. Truffle risotto, filet mignon with a Cabernet cremini sauce, foie gras – the list goes on and on, and I get reminded on a daily basis that a meal isn’t complete with a thing called vegetables? Anywho, I also manage to start laundry in the midst of this culinary venture. After dinner is finished, I pack up whatever is left over for dinner the next day, then clean up.

I finally get a chance to relax and watch an episode or two of something on Netflix, followed by some comedy, before I lay my head down.

Then I wake up in a panic and realize the cooking, laundry, and cleaning were all just a horrible, horrible nightmare, and I begin my day all over again.

A Day In The Life: Val

Most days are pretty routine for me, with a tight schedule and a lot of structure. I wake up between 9 and 10am, depending on if I need to run any errands, like picking up dry cleaning or shopping for food for the Friday night Practice Sessions.

My morning routine includes an ab workout, a hot shower, breakfast, and packing work clothes and anything else I might need for the day.

I’m out the door around 10:45am to make it to practice by 11:30am. Lance and I go through our basic routines, technique, and open professional routines every day. One day a week, our normal practice is replaced by rounds led by Nuria. We work out with all of the other competing professionals and practice like we’re in an actual competition. We all get feedback, a small amount of time to practice, and then we do it again. It’s a sweaty event.

After practice, we change and prep for the rest of the day. During the day, we teach lessons and group classes, have training meetings and dance sessions, and practice for our next exams. We are all here from 1 to 10pm with an hour break in the middle of the day for dinner.

When we get close to competitions, we stay for a bit after work to run through our routines again before going home. I get home around 11pm, cook dinner, catch up with the roommates and the news, and head to bed around 12:30.

Weekends aren’t a huge break from the busy week. Some Saturdays I am at the studio teaching in the morning, and I teach yoga at 8am on Sundays (which means no serious partying Saturday night). The rest of the weekend includes laundry, errands, sleeping, watching home improvement and cooking shows, and everything else that comes up.

Some weekends are competitions and dance events. Others are comic shows, sewing and rhinestoning, time with the roommates, cleaning the studio, going out social dancing, and hanging out with friends.

It’s a very busy life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A Day In The Life: Chris

The room is dark, sunlight creeps through the windows and leaves trails of light along the floor and walls, the smell of fresh air seeps through the windows towards the bed, and Mr. Pinky head butts me, then cuddles up providing the warmth only a cute little animal can bring.

I am awoken.

Okay that sounds way cooler than it really is. I really just wake up, endure the hustle and bustle of the morning as I collect my clothes, brush my teeth, and head out the door to practice with Kate, cliff bar in hand as I drive us to the studio.

Around 9 in the morning is when this journey begins. Once we’ve made it to the studio around 10 or 10:30 we begin to settle in for the day. We check messages and see what is to be done for that day.

Then practice begins! We go our separate ways for a bit. During this solo time, I focus on my own steps that require attention. I try to establish my own balance and movement so that our partnership can flow together more efficiently.

Once I feel like I’m warmed up, I start dancing with Kate. Sometimes we start dancing side-by-side so that we can make sure our steps are synchronized in a way that makes sense. It helps avoid any “polite discrepancies” a couple might encounter on the dance floor. After much sweating and fixing, practice ends at noon sharp.

I then have an hour to get ready for work at 1. During this hour, I typically clean myself up! I shave, get dressed, fix my hair up because I care too much about it, and I make myself some food! As many know, eating is one of my favorite things to do. Dino nuggets, chicken pot pie, yogurt, peanut butter and jelly are all staples of my life. The owners of my best friend’s deli named me “Chicken Parm” because of how frequently I consumed it. They thought I would turn into one. Anyway, I normally inhale a delicious dish of sustenance which helps power me through the rest of my day.

Work then officially begins at 1. Once it commences, we have a team meeting where we talk about all of our students that are coming in that afternoon to make sure we all know who is headed where. That way, as a team, we can all help our students achieve what they seek to accomplish.

Following that, I start teaching! I’m lucky because anyone who has met me knows that I am a bit of a social butterfly. I have the privilege of teaching wonderful people every day as well as meeting new people all the time! So I spend my time educating and hopefully impacting people’s lives in a positive way. Then I eat dinner and go back to teaching until 10.

Upon ending my work day, I drive home and make more food because as we know, I like food. I whip something together and take a shower.

Now, after a long day, I get to kick back for a bit and play some games with friends or watch Netflix and relax with Kate. Or possibly we watch Critical Role which is a group of voice actors playing Dungeons and Dragons. That’s a fantastic show too. Once I’ve had time to adequately wind down, I head off to bed and get a good night’s rest before I begin it all again tomorrow.

A Day In The Life: Colleen

I start my day by waking up with wet kisses from my furry little friend. I usually snuggle up with her for a bit until I get up.

I’ll roll out of bed around 9 or 9.30am. First thing I do is take a shower. Next, I start my beauty routine. I sit on the floor in my room in front of a large mirror. My pup Sophie always sits right next to me the entire time.

Next, I do my hair as quickly as possible, before heading to the closet to pick my outfit for the day. In this time, I think about my day to help me decide what type of outfit to wear. (What kind of group classes, what am I teaching in my lessons, am I teaching the kids today, are there dance sessions?) These things play a huge role in what’ll be comfortable to wear. Once I choose my outfit, I set it aside, and throw on my practice attire.

I leave the house around 10 and grab some breakfast on my way out the door. Sometimes, I’ll have a nut bar and a banana, or if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll grab a croissant or some other pastry I picked up from the store the weekend before. On the way to work, we stop at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts for our much-needed coffee.

We get to work around 11 or so to start practice. We start with a little warm-up and a quick stretch, then get to dancing. Most practices begin with a round of all our dances. From there, we decide on what we will focus on for that practice.

When practice is over, we get changed, and prepare for our work day. We start with a daily meeting at 1pm. We go over the day, what we would like to accomplish, and fill each other in on anything important for the week.

My afternoons are filled with meetings, dance sessions, studying my dancing, creating lesson plans, or teaching. By 5pm, I’m starving, so I head to the kitchen for my yummy dinner I prepared the night before. During our dinner break, we all sit and chat. We laugh at each other’s dumb jokes and exchange funny YouTube videos that we found over the weekend.

By 6pm, we meet again to go over the evening. The evening is always busier, so there’s a nice buzz around the studio. The radio pumps good, upbeat music throughout the night. You can feel the energy from the other lessons and group classes going on around you.

When 10pm rolls around, we wrap up our last lessons. At this time, I look over my week again. During that time, Kennedy usually sets up music for a round. I join him on the dance floor and we dance through all our dances once more before leaving. During this round, we don’t talk or try to fix anything. We just dance.

We head home for the night and are greeted – before even getting to the door – by Sophie. She hears us park and watches us approach through the window. Once we reach the front stairs, she jets for the door to meet us. She’s so excited that she can’t control herself, so her entire body wiggles. She runs back and forth, jumping on us, for 15 minutes straight before she calms down.

I quickly change and get started cooking dinner for the night and the next day. We finally get to sit down. After dinner, I clean up – sometimes Kennedy helps. Then we sit and watch an episode of something on Netflix before we’re off to bed. Usually we’re in bed around 1am. That sums up a pretty typical day for me!

A Day In The Life: Kate

If you have spent any time around me, you probably know that my life revolves around dance. Before work, during work, on the weekends, in the swimming pool, at airports – it doesn’t matter where. So a typical day in my life is dance. So rather than take you through my typical day, from about 9 in the morning to 10 at night full of dance and some food, I’ve got a day in my vacation *gasp* life for you.

If I don’t have to wake up in the morning, I don’t. Or I do, and I lounge in bed. This is rather rare time for me, so I spend it catching up on news or educational articles I’ve flagged as interesting or snuggling with my cat, Mr. Pinky. He has a penchant for cuddles and is very strict that extra time at home be spent with him.

I’ll rouse myself no later than eleven in the morning (well, that might not be completely true, but I try!) and make breakfast. On a typical morning, I’m up and out of the house without it, just grabbing a protein shake to eat after practice. But as this is atypical, I make breakfast. If I’m up for it, a full spread breakfast, including: cream of wheat, bacon, eggs, cinnamon rolls, milk and orange juice. Since I have the time, why limit myself?

I’m not necessarily always a tidy person throughout my busy week, so I make piles of to-do things. Sometimes I clean during the week, but, let’s be honest: WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT? I don’t.

However, I actually like cleaning. My brain doesn’t really turn off, so polishing furniture or scrubbing floorboards allows me to focus my attention to a simple task and work through anything I’ve been thinking. Sometimes it is dance related (I think a lot about our students and how to help them, just ask Chris), but more often it is tangential theories. Here is a picture of what my thoughts look like:


If a coherent thought lasts for too long, I break out into dance matching my music – normally to something on Broadway, or really whatever comes on my iPod. I always end with vacuuming. It is quite satisfying to hear all the crunchy dirt sucked up into oblivion. When everything is neat and tidied away like it would look in Better Homes and Gardens, I turn all the sound devices off and sit. The silence is so nice.

Then I get crafty. I’ve been working on the same needle point for… let’s just say a very long time, so I pull it out and do about an hour of stitching. This normally leads to any other sewing project I’m up to; it may take me months, but I create accurate costume replicas for conventions.

If there is no cleaning, and no crafting, I’ll leave the house, but it has to have a purpose (the grocery store and other errands don’t count). I don’t enjoy frivolous activity.

Around this time, it’s between four and five in the early evening, when we would eat at work, so I get hungry. I enjoy cooking, but I don’t like pots. And since I’ve just cleaned the house, I weigh the option of food carefully against having to wash any dishes again. If I’m feeling inspired, I go for it. If not, Chris and I are both big fans of wonton soup.

I thrive during the night time. I get my first surge of energy at 6 PM, right when we would be starting our evening session of dancing. Sometimes I get project-y, wanting to start something else, or I want to go out and have an adventure.  I often want to go dancing, and Chris just gives me a look.

If we haven’t left by seven or eight, we wind up actually relaxing. I’ll hang out with Mr. Pinky, laptop open, not really using it, with some show on in the background. I’m still multitasking as I chill out, but not actively thinking about it. I also snack heavily as the night goes on; I like Costco chocolate chip cookies or Peter Pan Peanut Butter on cinnamon graham crackers.

Around midnight, I start thinking about sleep. Mr. Pinky will also start letting me know he wants to sleep as well.

A Day In The Life: Lance

Around 7:30am, I wake up. At 8, I have breakfast – usually Raisin Bran Crunch and 2 scrambled eggs, and I eat on the coach while surfing Netflix. No rush to the day yet.

At 9, I workout. This is usually 20 – 30 minutes of cardio, followed by weights. Afterward is a shower and then actually getting ready for the day. I prepare a quick lunch before, usually a protein or green smoothie to have at the studio later.

At 11, I leave for the studio, and get there at 11:30. First up is practice time with Val. Whether it is open competitive routines or basic things, it’s the best way to get my mind ready for a day of teaching.

At 12:30, I finalize my lesson plans, and finally drink my smoothie for a mini lunch.

At 1:15, the work day begins officially. This means I teach lessons, study for certifications, have coachings, or do other things needed in the studio. This continues until 5, when we have dinner. Usually I have grilled chicken, rice or potatoes, some veggies – or something from Pastosa’s downstairs. I’m trying to eat healthier, though.

At 6:15, the work day resumes. Lots of teaching lessons, and occasionally group classes, since we have more of those in the evenings than in the afternoons.

Lesson time ends at 10pm, but then it’s back to practice time. I do rounds with Val – this means we dance through all of our competitive routines, to music, in order – exactly like a competition.

At 10:30, then it’s time to finally head home. On the drive back, I usually review the day, and plan out the following. I get home at 11 then, and I make something to each while relaxing and unwinding from the day. (This usually means more Netflix – whatever it suggests, and then I sometimes wonder why that was suggested.)

Bedtime is midnight, and then the day starts all over again.

A Day In The Life: Alexis

A typical weekday starts the night before with a relaxing shower, after which my hair has the whole night to naturally dry in all its thick, curly glory.

I wake up at 9am and begin my day with some sort of breakfast; eggs and Taylor ham are usually the go-to.

Afterwards I venture back upstairs to begin the ever-wondrous beauty routine. Step 1 includes brushing and blow-drying the mane I call hair. Step 2 entails some sort of hair hot tool. I’ve found that titanium-plated hair straighteners work best on thick or coarse hair.

  • Now, mind you, this entire process is done without a mirror. It helps with the neck pain.

Next I do a final brush out and decide on whatever, if any, hair accessory I’ll be wearing that day.

Once the haircapade is done, I venture over to my closet, where I aimlessly stare at the same selection as the day before.

  • Always take into consideration:
    • Rain
    • Shine
  • Schedule
    • Individual lessons
    • Group classes
    • Practice parties

Once I’ve ran through my day in my head, I pull out 2-3 outfits. All different styles but still trendy and professional.

  • Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

After trying on all outfits, one wins and then I end the quest for the day’s wardrobe.

Once I’ve gotten dressed, I dive into my makeup. A little here, some blush there, and of course mascara to wake up my naturally narrow eyes, and I’m good to go.

The lunch prep now begins. I snuggle with my puppy and I head out the door.

I walk to my car, put on some upbeat jams, hop on the parkway, and begin my travels to 200 South Avenue East.

Park the car, walk inside with a smile on my face, and so the work day begins. I walk to the kitchen to put away my food and make my way to the schedule.

  • Always know the night before, if not the week in advance, so you can tackle anything that may come your way.

After checking out the schedule, I change into my dance shoes, refresh my lipstick, and make my way over for our daily staff meeting. We fill each other in on all going-ons so we can all be ready for what the day might bring.

Depending on the day, I am either in meetings, dance sessions, or teaching during the afternoons. 5:00 hits and that typically means lunch time. Yes, I say lunch! (I have breakfast before I leave and don’t usually eat until this time.)

Lunch is rather relaxing. I enjoy my meal talk with coworkers and sometimes steal away for a quick power nap. But when 5:50 hits it’s back to business. We meet again for an evening meeting and game plan any new findings.

From 6:15 – 10pm it’s usually lessons and a group class here and there. All fun, upbeat, and bustling on the dance floor.

10pm hits, lessons come to an end, and so the wind-down begins. I head to the back, change out of my dance shoes, gather my lunch bag and handbag, and I’m out the door.

I have a rather quiet drive home and am greeted by a fluffy furball of love. I head up to my room, put my bags down, and hop into the shower, where my next day begins all over again!

A Day In The Life: Keenan

I wake up at 8:00am to a motivational video as my alarm, and head straight to the gym. There, I do 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of weight lifting and/or plyometric workout. Around 9:00 I head home and eat 3 eggs and half a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.

After breakfast, I do everything I need to do to get ready for the day – it usually takes about an hour. Then I have from 10-11 to do whatever I need to get into the right headspace for the day. Sometimes I read, sometimes I play video games, sometimes I relax to some Netflix.

At 11:00am, we leave for work. After our 30 minute commute, we practice for an hour. Usually our practice includes: a warmup, a round of dancing our competitive routines with music, and then we work on cleaning our routines up, or our technical skill. Sometimes we relax and just dance without worrying about all the little things. (Those are the best practices.)

At 12:30 we eat lunch, usually chicken and rice or potatoes, and get ready to teach.

Starting at 1 is our work day. Usually during the first few hours of work I study for my next exam. I study all the steps and variations, alignments, and amounts of turns, and everything else associated with every step, one dance at a time.

At 5:00 everyone has dinner. Usually we have a lot of fun laughing about whatever is on facebook or whatever terrible joke Chris brings with him.

After dinner we jump back into dance with group classes. It is always fun to interact with students and other teachers in group classes. Interspersed throughout the day are my favorite parts of the day: teaching lessons!

Teaching is the best because I get to share a part of myself with someone else. A time when I get to touch another’s life and help them have a better day. I hope that every student I teach leaves happier than they came in.

We also sometimes have dance sessions with Danila or Nuria to improve our dancing and teaching.

Whatever fun the day holds after work, and at 10:00pm Laura and I do one last round of our dancing to finish the day. Then we go home and relax a little before bed, and start it all over again.

A Day In The Life: Laura

Arthur Murray Dance Center of CranfordI wake up at 7:00 and get ready for the gym, and I work out for an hour from 7:30 to 8:30. Working out is one of my favorite times! I love working out! Keenan tags along and usually does his own work out. But it has made such a difference because we challenge each other, but also encourage and support each other too!

At 8:30 I get ready for the day and by 9:00 I go make breakfast. I eat a balanced meal of 3 eggs and oatmeal. From this meal I get protein and healthy starch that jumpstarts my metabolism and gives me energy that I’ll need for the day.

At 9:30 for an hour I meal prep for the day and some for the week! I make chicken, rice, and asparagus. I like this meal setup because you have an important lean meat that fills you up, but gives me energy and is healthy.

Even though we are married, there are certain times or activities we do separately. We each have our own routine and need time apart. By having time apart we then treasure the time we are together even more.

Keenan and I start practice together at 11:00. Practicing can be exciting. Practicing can be frustrating. We are a couple. But regardless how practice is going, we practice because we love dancing and always want to be better. We have our own routine of warming up and at the beginning of practice we dance by ourselves. Once getting together we work on our routines. It truly is such a joy being able to have my partner be my best friend. And as a couple we are able to share this together, every day! Which is even better!!

The rest of the day is spent teaching, meetings, and dance sessions. This whole time Keenan and I have our own schedules. This is great because being separated allows us to focus on what we are both doing at work. Teaching lessons are so much fun and one of the best parts of my day. It is so fulfilling being able to share with others how dance can change one’s life.