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!

An Interview With: Keenan!

What is your favorite part of the Arthur Murray day?

“My favorite part of the Arthur Murray day is teaching lessons. I love sharing and teaching about the thing I love so much.”

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

“I like to play xbox to distress. I also like to do outdoor things, like dirt biking, hiking, camping, etc.”


How did you start dancing?

“I started dancing in elementary school, after seeing my friend dance. I thought it would be fun, and a good way to meet girls.”


How did you find Arthur Murray?

“Through Lance Gillman.”


What’s your favorite dance?

“My favorite dance is Jive, I love how energetic and athletic the dance is.”


Most memorable dance moment?

“My most memorable dance moment was when the music suddenly stopped playing 1 minute into our 3 minute theater arts routine. (Think lots of lifts and fancy tricks.) I looked over to the music man and he just shook his head telling me it wasn’t coming back on.

At first I felt very embarrassed. I let Laura down from the lift and spun her out to bow. We walked off the floor and were greeted by fellow competitors, judges, coaches, people we knew and many more we didn’t, telling us how great our piece had been, and how sad they were that we weren’t able to finish it. It was amazing to feel the support of so many people that we look up to in a moment we considered to be a low point for us as dancers.”


What’s your dance dream?

“My dance dream is first and foremost to open my own studio, and have my own dance family and home. I would also like to be in the US National Latin final.”


What would you say to someone considering attending their first Dance-o-Rama?

“Be prepared to meet your new family. Fellow students and teachers will always be supportive of you in your personal dance journey. Everyone there has opened their heart and let everyone watch them dance, and they are eager to see and support you in that next amazing step in your dance journey.”

An Interview With: Laura!

What is your favorite part of the Arthur Murray day?

“Dinner is an exciting hour in the day to be able to get together with the staff to eat and chat! It is great to have time during a work day to have this. Most of all dinner builds camaraderie and being like a family.

My favorite part of my day is being a part of the Practice Party. This really is such a party! There is constant dancing, but most importantly we are having the most fun ever. And again sharing the love of dance on the dance floor with students is the best. It is one of the best ways of ending a work day with a Practice Party.”

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

“I love working out! So when I am not at Arthur Murray, I am at the gym. I also enjoy being outside and active! I love spending time with friends and family. It is also fun to be able to go out on date nights with Keenan!”


How did you start dancing?

“I started dancing in high school! I saw a college performance team perform and I fell in love with dance. I found the closest studio and I attended the beginning group class. And the rest is history. I started competing with my instructor. Later tried out for a college team and never stopped dancing once I started!”


How did you find Arthur Murray?

“I found Arthur Murray through a friend. So basically, Lance.”


What’s your favorite dance?

“My favorite dance is a tie between International Rumba and International Samba! I love the romance and love of the Rumba. But then the party and sassiness of the Samba.”


Funniest dance moment?

“I don’t really have any funny dance moments. Many embarrassing moments, but not funny ones.”


What’s your dance dream?

“My dance dream is to one day own a studio and give back to the community! And to one day have a dance family and be a family to others through dance!”


What would you say to someone doing a solo for the first time?

“Have fun! Enjoy the moment and have fun! It may not be perfect, because we are humans and mistakes happen. But the most important part is enjoying and having the time of your life!!”

An Interview With: Alexis!

What is your favorite part of the Arthur Murray day?

“I’m not sure I can say I have a single favorite part but I do have a favorite aspect, and that’s the camaraderie and respect that fills the studio from the moment you peer through the glass doors.”


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

“When I’m not at Arthur Murray, I am typically enjoying my days with my family, finding new places for good eats, and the occasional shopping trip.”


How did you start dancing?

“I started dancing at the age of 3 and continued for my entire life. It was always the one consistent thing in my life because of what it gave me in return.”


How did you find Arthur Murray?

“I found Arthur Murray through a long search for a career that I enjoyed and loved, so it was almost as if an Arthur Murray birdie knocked on my window and made me apply.”


What’s your favorite dance?

“Anything that gives me the chance to let loose, so anything in the Rhythm realm always makes my heart happy.”


Funniest dance moment?

“Danila Dance Session – working on our drive in Waltz and Foxtrot one minute, in a complete split the next.”


What’s your dance dream?

“My dance dream is to be the very best I can possibly be with medals to prove it.”


What would you to say to someone thinking about dancing for the first time?

“Go for it! You miss out on all opportunities not taken. Whether you’re part of a couple or an individual, dancing allows you a kind of expression you find nowhere else.”

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.

Welcome Keenan & Laura!

Keenan and Laura Smout are the newest members of Team Arthur Murray Kartashov, and we’re incredibly excited to have them join us! They will become instructors at our Arthur Murray Hillsborough location when it opens this spring. Until then, we’ll have them in our Cranford studio to allow everyone to meet them and work with them.

Arthur Murray Dance Center of Cranford

Keenan grew up in American Fork, Utah, the third of four children — all sisters. He played piano and soccer before dancing took over his life at age 10. After high school, he received a scholarship for dance from Brigham Young University. Since graduating, he and Laura have taught at various independent studios, as well as competed on a professional level.

Laura grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with two brothers and a sister — quadruplets. She grew up with music in her life. She played piano and flute throughout her childhood, and began ballroom dancing in high school. She also attended Brigham Young University, where she and Keenan met in a dance technique class.

Despite being on the same ballroom dance team, Keenan and Laura only occasionally danced together. They first danced together as partners at a homecoming parade for their university. Now officially long-term partners, they have been dancing together for five years now and have been married for four. Together, they have won dance competition titles across the country.

Outside of dancing, Laura enjoys working out and the outdoors. She’s eager to travel more, especially internationally. Keenan, once a mechanic, still maintains an interest in motorcycles and cars. He also enjoys playing video games in his downtime.

Together, the couple hopes to continue gaining certifications, as well as to one day own a ballroom dance studio of their own. Both Keenan and Laura want to give back as they progress — to help share their love of dance with both students and other staff members, and are excited to join Team AMK.