An Interview With: Kennedy!

What is your favorite part of the Arthur Murray day?
 
“I really enjoy our dinner time together. Laughing at random videos we come across, telling jokes, and talking about our lives makes it fun!”

What do you do for fun when not at Arthur Murray?

“I enjoy exploring new places/restaurants. Watching TV shows, relaxing at home, and doing whatever Colleen wants, of course. I’m also guilty of being sucked into the Fortnite craze.”

 

How did you start dancing?

“As a kid, I would step on my mom’s feet as we danced in the kitchen, and there was always music and dancing at family parties, so I grew up with a lot of dancing.”

 

How did you find Arthur Murray?

“After knowing how to do the Latin dances from family parties and hip hop/break dancing in middle school and high school, I wanted to expand my knowledge of dancing to impress the ladies. So I came across Arthur Murray, and scheduled my first complimentary dance lesson. And the rest is history.”

 

What’s your favorite dance?

“This is such a tough question. It depends on my mood, but if I had to pick, I would lean towards the Rhythm dances.”

 

Funniest dance moment?

“I almost got killed for this, but I started dancing a Mambo at a competition backwards, and I didn’t realize it until halfway through the dance. I got plenty of dirty looks from Colleen for it once we came off the floor.”

 

What’s your dance dream?

“To become a Franchisee.”

 

How do you maintain your inspiration for dancing and teaching?

“I always try to maintain a vivid picture of what I want to accomplish in the long run, and that usually puts me back on track if I veer off. I also like to read or watch interview videos of “successful” people for extra motivation.”

An Interview With: Chris!

What is your favorite part of the Arthur Murray day?

“Of the Arthur Murray day, my favorite part would have to be the end of it – not because it is over, but because I have had the chance, nay, the privilege to interact with and teach so many students from all different walks of life and know that I, as well as our entire studio, has made a positive impact on their day and life.”

 

What do you do for fun when not at Arthur Murray? 

“I spend what little spare time I have between work and practice either watching shows and movies with Kate or playing games with friends. Growing up I played video games quite competitively so I enjoy relaxing by playing still but I also am a Dungeon Master for my friends and we play Dungeons and Dragons weekly.”

 

How did you start dancing?

“With my left foot of course! Just kidding. I saw the movie Shall We Dance starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez. My sister saw it with me and I thought to myself that the dancing looked fun and classy so I figured it was something I should do. Men should know how to dance! Actually everyone should. It’s fantastic.”

 

How did you find Arthur Murray?

“Funny story about that. Despite being a computer geek, I did a google search for “ballroom dance lessons near me” and it said the only location for me was in Kenilworth, now Cranford, and that I could try a free lesson there. I had no idea that there were 2 other Arthur Murray Dance Centers way closer to where I lived, but, as destiny would have it, I think I was sent to the right one. I had no idea I’d love it as much as I do!”

 

What’s your favorite dance?

“My favorite dance would have to be Waltz, because I’m classy like that – or Hustle. Waltz to me is the elegant epitome of ballroom dancing. I feel like a Disney prince when I dance it. On the other hand, everyone knows I love Hustle. When I’m feeling fun and the beat kicks in, you can’t listen to Hustle music and not want to get moving. Whether it’s tapping your foot, bobbing your head, or pretending to do the John Travolta arm point from Saturday Night Fever, I just start going!”

 

Funniest dance moment?

“That would have to be at a Jack & Jill Salsa event I was thrown into. We all know I have some sexy moves, but when I brought out my “not-really-award-winning-double-gun-hands” I stunned the crowd. For all the right reasons of course. It was a one-time thing, so don’t expect to ever see it.”

 

What’s your dance dream?

“My dance dream would be to become a Rising Star 9 Dance Champion. Being that proficient in all of my dancing would be a dream come true. Not only being able to demonstrate my ability and knowledge in the smooth dances but the more rhythmical and club styled dances as well would be phenomenal.”

 

When do you recommend going to your first dance event?

“AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! When I began my journey here, I had only completed two Personal Lessons and one Group Class when I was invited to join Arthur Murray at their Medal Ball. I only knew the Foxtrot basic as well as the Rumba box. I survived. Many ladies’ toes probably did not.

Seeing everyone socialize and have a blast on the dance floor whether you were new or had been dancing for 8 years or more, was wonderful. It was a secret community that I had never even known about. I was welcomed to so swiftly. I’ve never experienced anything like it. So no matter how scary it may seem, go, dive in, and experience it. You won’t want to leave!”

 

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.

An Interview With: Colleen!

What is your favorite part of the Arthur Murray day?

“When I make my student smile because they love what they do and they realize that they CAN do it.”

 

What do you do for fun when not at Arthur Murray?

“I catch up on my favorite TV shows and series, while snuggling with my pup.”

 

How did you start dancing?

“I always loved dancing. When I was young, I used to put on shows for my mom. I started professionally after meeting Kennedy and got offered the job. I knew it would be perfect for me.”

 

How did you find Arthur Murray?

“It’s a funny story actually. I used to waitress at a restaurant, and one day Kennedy and a former coworker came in to eat. They sat at my table and offered me the job. The rest was history.”

 

What’s your favorite dance?

“Hard to say, because they’re all so different and it depends on my mood. I think I’ll go with Viennese Waltz. It’s so elegant and graceful. I love the swift, turning movements of it and how it glides across the dance floor.”

 

Funniest dance moment?

“For one Showcase, my student and I wore wigs for the performance. That day, due to the excessive amount of hairspray in my hair, I could not pin the wig into my hair fully. Once I got on stage and started dancing, the wig started to come off. I had to keep dancing with the wig flopping around. The show must go on!”

 

What’s your dance dream?

“My dream is to continue getting better in my dancing and in my teaching so I can inspire others to keep working on their own dance dreams.”

 

How do you feel about group classes?

“I love group classes. I truly believe that they are an essential key to learning, aside from personal lessons. Not only do they refine a step that you may or may not know, but they teach you how to lead and follow better and much quicker! You’ll be dancing with multiple partners, not just one. Plus, it’s always fun to be surrounded by a group of people who are interested in the same hobby.”

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.

An Interview With: Kate!

What is your favorite part of the Arthur Murray day? 

“Teaching! Which happens all day so I can’t pinpoint a time. I love the atmosphere when the studio is full of students achieving their dance dreams.”

 

What do you do for fun when not at Arthur Murray?

“I think I live here. But if I had to say, building legos and puzzles.”

 

How did you start dancing?

“When I was 14, the first ballroom studio opened in my small hometown. I walked in and never left.”

 

How did you find Arthur Murray?

“I was nearing the end of my Masters program in Boston when my dance coach at the time asked me why I wasn’t teaching. He said I clearly loved this and should share my passion with others. He put me in touch with the Arthur Murray in Cambridge. I started the next month. It has been the best decision.”

 

What’s your favorite dance?

“International slow Foxtrot.”

 

Funniest dance moment?

“During a stage performance, my jumpsuit halter broke and fell off. I snapped my top hat off my head and danced with it covering my chest.”

 

What’s your dance dream?

“Become an Arthur Murray Champion and a US World finalist.”

 

What advice would you give to wedding couples?

“This is the best date night you’ll ever have. Wedding planning is stressful. Dancing together lets you relieve any stress you may have, and you start to communicate with your loved one on a whole new level.”

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.

An Interview With: Val!

What is your favorite part of the Arthur Murray day? 

“Seeing everyone’s smiling faces! And getting to dance, of course!”

 

What do you do for fun when not at Arthur Murray? 

“In the small amount of free time I have outside of the studio, I enjoy sewing, rhinestoning, going to the beach, going social dancing when the opportunity comes up, and going on random adventures with my closest friends.”

 

How did you start dancing?

“I started dancing as a kid. Whenever there was music on, I would dance around the house, so my parents enrolled me in ballet and tap classes at the local dance school. From there I branched out into jazz, modern, lyrical, liturgical, the college dance team, and eventually ballroom.”

 

How did you find Arthur Murray?

“After I graduated college, I moved around through a few different jobs like many young adults trying to find their place in the world do. I had started taking ballroom lessons at an independent studio and gradually started teaching for them. I knew then that I wanted dance to become my career path. I searched for a new job, sending my resume to every dance studio I could find, and landed an interview with Nuria and Danila in the Kenilworth studio. The rest is history!”

 

What’s your favorite dance?

“I don’t have one. I also don’t have a least favorite dance. I go through phases where I fall in love with something I’m working on, but then I move on to the next dance. My first loves were Samba, International Rumba, and International Foxtrot.”

 

Funniest dance moment?

“Dancing Salsa with Chris in a Jack and Jill contest at our Area training seminar. So much twerking!”

 

What’s your dance dream?

“To be a judge at a Dance-O-Rama.”

 

What’s the most important reason someone should learn to dance?

“Because you can. Because it changes you and your relationships and your world for the better. Because it will become the best part of your day. Because it’s something not everyone does and you deserve something special and unique for yourself. We waste way too much precious time in our lives with ‘should I?’ when the answer is 100% yes. Take advantage of your physical and mental capabilities and do something that will enhance your life. Dance!”

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!

An Interview With: Lance!

What is your favorite part of the Arthur Murray day?

“I love teaching the students and helping them achieve their dance goals!”

 

What do you do for fun when not at Arthur Murray?

“Topgolf and finding new places to eat. Golf is my stress relief.”

 

How did you start dancing?

“I started dancing in high school because a friend thought she needed a partner to try out for the Ballroom Dance Team, so she bribed me with dinner.”

 

How did you find Arthur Murray?

“Kate facebook messaged me.”

 

What’s your favorite dance?

“International Foxtrot! I also believe it is the hardest dance and I like the challenge.”

 

Favorite dance moment?

“When I stepped onto the dance floor for my first professional competition. Knowing I was on the floor with the best dancers in the country was energizing. And I get the same feeling today when I compete.”

 

What’s your dance dream?

“Long term I want to provide a high level of Ballroom training to the kids in my home state. So that they can realize their own dance dreams. I love helping others achieve their goals.”

 

What advice would you give an introvert on the dance floor?

“The social dance floor is the best and safest place to step out of your comfort zone. It is the place you can relax and enjoy.”