A Recap of the Fourth Annual Murray Awards!

On Friday, December 15th, we celebrated our fourth annual Murray Awards! It is our end of year Student Appreciation Party and it was a great success!

Despite the dreary weather, we welcomed students of both Arthur Murray Cranford and Arthur Murray Hillsborough into our Cranford studio. Both studios are owned by franchisees Danila and Nuria Kartashov. It was an exciting time to have students from both studios in one place for such a grand affair.

The event was catered, with tables set out for students and staff to enjoy dinner together. Students excitedly dressed to the nines to show off their style and enjoy a fancy night out with their Arthur Murray family. Music played throughout the night for plenty of social dancing, with everyone keenly taking advantage. There were line dances, partner swapping games, and even a conga line or two.

A very special feature of our Murray Awards every year is our professional shows – and this year was particularly special. It had been requested that there would be a return to some past professional dance partnerships, so special routines were created with that in mind. There had also been a round of performances with the staff’s current professional partnerships, so students got to see not only a wide variety of dances, but also partnerships they may not have seen before – or for many years.

One of the most looked-forward to parts of the evening was our awards portion. There are several awards our team gives out every year, including our Student Ambassador (Barbara Gabris) and Funniest Dance Moment (Ira & Alex Augenzucker) awards. There is also the Most Improved Dancer award, which is voted upon exclusively by students, and it resulted in our first-ever tie, Jennifer Cerulli and Patsy Trine, both from Cranford. The coveted BASA (Best Accidental Step Award) went to Ira & Cynthia Herman from Hillsborough. We also honored those students of ours who have been with our studio for five years – and soon enough, we will be able to give out awards to ten-year students as well!

At Arthur Murray Cranford and Arthur Murray Hillsborough, we greatly appreciate our students’ commitment and loyalty. We are incredibly proud of each and every one of our students, and while we cannot throw such grand evenings every night, we want to be sure that it is known that we appreciate YOU! Thank you to everyone for not only making our Murray Awards a success, but to sharing their dance journeys with us.

Newsome Twosome – Let’s Celebrate!

Congratulations! You’ve just started your dance adventure by becoming a Bronze 1 student. We want to celebrate with a Newsome Twosome.

Every new student who joins Arthur Murray Cranford has the privilege of dancing in a Newsome Twosome on the last Monday of every month during the practice party. Those dancing have all just begun their dance adventure  and often have no more than ten lessons under their belt.

You will not be on the floor alone (yet!), but will be joined by your instructors and fellow new students for a full minute of dancing. As most students start with three of the most popular dances, you will either dance a foxtrot, rumba or club swing. Your instructor will tell you what dance is happening that evening so you can feel prepared.

This is an opportunity for you to start to meet your local Arthur Murray studio family. Some of them you might have already met during a group class, or by gently bumping into them during your lesson. You don’t know them all yet, but they are all proud of you. They have been in where your feet are – quite literally  – and want to support you. So they are going to cheer loudly for you while you dance.

We celebrate your decision to dance because we understand it might not have been the easiest decision. Perhaps you never had the opportunity to learn before and finally said NOW is the time to try it. Or you are getting ready for your wedding day. Or you are looking for something fun to do with your partner. Or you just want to get out and let loose. Whatever your personal reason, you chose to trust us and continue your dancing. We couldn’t be happier for you, so we celebrate the only way we know how – we dance!

Why Do I Have To Do A Spotlight?

No matter where you are on your dance journey, your dance guru will eventually bring up the S word. After the dramatic music fades from the background and you’ve recovered from the shock, you find your name next to your instructors name, dancing Rumba, on a page entitled “MJ vs Madonna Spotlight Party”. How did it get there?

During the blackout period, your instructor gave you very specific reasons as to what a spotlight is and why they want you to do this one. It’s not that you weren’t listening, because we know you treasure every word – but anything that takes you out of your comfort zone tends to cause the mind to redact the vital information about what you are doing.

So what is a spotlight?

Simply put, a spotlight is a studio recital. They are similar to the small performances grade school musicians play throughout the year. Just as an orchestral concert serves as both a checkpoint in a cellist’s learning and a celebration of her accomplishment of learning a new and challenging piece of music, spotlights serve as a milestone in your dance education.

Your instructor and you will select a dance that you have recently been working on and practice it to a specific song. As we know, dancing in front of your peers can be intimidating. Spotlight parties are often themed to add a fun twist to the evening. But why do you have to do it?

Think back to the cellist. She may have played her concerto a hundred times at a whim, but if she could never do it when she was required to, there would be no proof of her mastery. Much in the same way, your Rumba box will never be truly committed to muscle memory until you can do it under pressure.

But what if I make a mistake? That’s okay! In fact, we expect you to. No dance will ever go perfectly just when you want it to. But spotlights allow your teacher to recognize what areas need to be touched up again so that when you are on that boat cruise, at a wedding, or on the streets of Paris and want to spontaneously dance, you’ll know you have the confidence to dance anywhere.

7 Reasons Why Practice Parties Aren’t Scary, They’re Your New Best Friend

Arthur Murray Dance Center of Cranford

  1. “Move your hips more!” Club style dances — Salsa, Bachata, Country, or Merengue — look best when the hips are relaxed. When you are at a practice session, you can focus on fluid, continued movement.
  2. “New steps!” Variety keeps both the leader and follower engaged. Syllabus steps are great! But sometimes you can feel limited. By never stopping while you are at a party, you will start to create your own feel for creativity.
  3. “Connect with your partner more!” When you are in the studio with your instructor, we work on a very nice BIG frame. It is very rare in the real world that you would have that much space. Practice parties simulate the environment so you can dance more closely with your partner and FEEL what is happening in your partner’s body. The change may be more subtle than we expect, so it should take half the effort.
  4. “Be spontaneous!” Social Dancing requires the lead and follow to constantly be adapting — the song, the location, other people on the floor. Everything affords the opportunity to improve your response to the unexpected. Recover gracefully the next time you bump in to someone, but make it part of the dance as well.
  5. “Work on timing!” You never know what music the DJ or live band is going to play. As such, we have to train the ear to listen to different styles and tempos. The more comfortable you become in listening to musical cues, the more you will be able to express different parts of the song through dips and explosions.
  6. “You need to practice!” The point of a practice party is just that: to practice. At Arthur Murray, it is guided. We take away some of the pressure for identifying the song and can even step in and help you in a pinch. But remember, it is not a lesson. You are there to practice — so never stop moving!
  7. “Talk to me!” Social dancing is social — whether you are resting in between dances or with a different partner ever song, you need to become so comfortable with your movement so you can respond when asked a question, or hold general conversation. You never know who you will meet on the dance floor!