But What IS Freestyles?

Whether you’ve heard the term from an instructor or another student, or saw it on the calendar, or heard it in an event announcement, or have seen the poster in our studio — we like to talk about our events here, in case it weren’t obvious — you’ve probably heard the term “Freestyles” before. Of course, hearing about something is very different from knowing what it is, so you may still be wondering — what is Freestyles?

Think of Freestyles as a mini dance vacation, one or two days long. You get to spend as much time as possible dancing, as many dances as you can, giving you vital floor time. The more you dance, the faster you feel progress with your dancing. You dress up and feel glamorous, both on the dance floor and for the evening banquet. Other Arthur Murray schools attend, allowing you to catch up with (or meet!) your extended Arthur Murray family. It is a celebration of YOUR dancing and dance journey!

The dancing portion of the day is full of heats, which are basically “rounds” of dancing. One Waltz heat is one time you will be out on the floor with your partner or your teacher dancing Waltz. There will be other students and staff on the floor as well, dancing the same dance, so you won’t be alone. Those on the sidelines will be cheering and watching.

The event begins with Country Western style dancing. This is a great way to warm up and let loose on the dance floor. Next, we take off the boots and hats for long dresses and suits for the Smooth dancing (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz). No matter your level, it is always fun watching how your Foxtrot will progress through the levels. After lunch, the skirts get shorter and the ties come off for the Rhythm and Specialty dances. The energy in the ballroom works itself into a frenzy at the hip sway to the music.

That evening (Saturday evening for our two-day Spring Freestyles), we host a formal banquet, with a fun theme to match. There are professional shows performed by the staffs of the various schools attending, so everyone gets the chance to see their instructors perform as they would at professional competitions.

After the event ends, we compile all of the feedback from the guest judges to give back to each student. “But it’s not a competition!” you repeat, puzzled, and that’s still correct! You are never scored against other students. You are given feedback, which is for noncompetitive events — it is a standard of expectations for your level. (Scores, by contrast, are given for competitive events.) It will be an outside perspective, however quick, on your dancing and where you are in your dance journey. It is by no means a perfect glimpse into your skill (there are a lot of others on the dance floor in every heat, after all), but all together, it can be a very good idea of how well you are dancing for your level.

What To Expect: Coming In For Your First Lesson

We’ve all felt like this sometimes.

So you decided you want to dance at Arthur Murray! Whether you’re preparing for an event, want a new date night idea with your partner, are interested in exercising in a fun way, or just want to pick up an old (or new!) hobby, there’s a million and one reasons people begin dance lessons, and we’re so glad you’ve decided to start with us.

You’ve called and spoken to our New Student Director, and have your complimentary first lesson scheduled… But now what?

It might be exciting or nerve-wracking to take that first step, but there’s nothing scary about a first dance lesson. Trust us, we’re twice as excited as you are to meet you and get you out on the dance floor.

When you first arrive at the studio, you’ll be greeted warmly by any number of our staff, and made to feel welcome. You’ll be asked to fill out a short form – less than half a page, and super quick, we promise – just so we have some contact and background information, such as dances you’re interested in, what level of experience you believe you have, and any events you could be preparing for. It’s just a way for your teaching team to best prepare for exactly what you’d like.

Anyone can be taught to dance!

The New Student Director will introduce themselves and chat with you a bit about the unique three-part system of teaching at Arthur Murray, and introduce you to your dance specialist. We have a talented team that include specialists for any kind of dance goal – whether you’re looking for that special first dance, want to learn all the hottest moves, or are most interested in spending some time with your partner.

During the lesson itself, you’ll learn the basic dance step to fast, medium, and slow music. If you are looking for something specific, we will certainly take you through the basic then, but come with an open mind!

After you’ve danced, your specialist will make a recommendation about you dancing to the New Student Director so you can continue dancing the night away. Arthur Murray prides itself on transparency, and we can work with any kind of budget or schedule to figure out a dance plan that works best for you.

What to Expect: Calling Arthur Murray For The First Time

Everyone gets the same high end service when you call the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. Even if you’ve called our number by accident, which, we all know, you didn’t accidentally call.

  1. Pure joy – You might be able to see the smiles on our faces while we talk to you, whether you are speaking with our receptionist, teachers, or owners. All of us are genuinely excited you have chosen Arthur Murray assist you on your dance journey, no matter what stage you are in.
  2. Hold please – After getting your name and number (the phone has been known to disconnect!), you will be passed to one of our New Student Directors. They are experts at helping new dancers – like you – find exactly what they are looking for.
  3. Questions – The New Student Director will ask you a series of questions to ensure your experience is seamless and top of line. Some questions include: Are you preparing for an event? Will you be coming with a partner? How long have you been thinking about dancing? Don’t worry, you don’t have to have all the answers.
  4. Freebies – After determining what you are looking for from your dance experience, the New Student Director will find a day and time that is convenient for you to come and see what we are all about. Arthur Murray has set the standard for dance instruction for over 105 years, and we want you to experience first hand what makes us different. Your first lesson is always free.
  5. The Details – Once you settle on time, the New Student Director provides you with information about our location, what attire to wear on your person and your feet, when to arrive and who your Dance Specialist will be.
  6. More excitement – We are serious about dance, and you’ll still be able to hear the smile as we say we’ll see you soon!

What Happens If I Have To Cancel?

Sometimes, despite your instructor’s best efforts to accommodate any schedule, life will get in the way. And that’s okay.

So what do you do when life happens?

First, please call the studio and let your instructor know what is going on – whether you need to reschedule or are just running late. Think of the last time you had a salon or doctor’s appointment. Sometimes, they require some form of deposit to hold the time slot for you. In the event you had to cancel, you wouldn’t just skip your appointment, and lose your deposit, you would call and reschedule. You reserved someone’s time and they are expecting you. Arthur Murray operates in the same way. Not showing up to a lesson runs the risk of the lesson being charged to your account. So, please, call!

Expect genuine concern when you do call. Your team cares about your dance education and wants to make sure you don’t miss out on your opportunity to dance. Expect your teacher to reschedule you for a later time that day or week if necessary.

We’re serious about your dancing. Some things in life are out of your control, and we know that. For those that you can control, please be mindful if you have already made an appointment to dance with your instructor. If you have to cancel last minute, you will be rescheduled for the soonest next available time. If you are unable to reschedule within the week for non-emergency cancellations, the studio may exercise the 24 hour notice cancellation policy.

But what if I think I’ve injured myself?

The great thing about social dancing is that not all lessons require intense movement. Your instructor can modify your lesson plan to fit any malady, from a cold to a broken limb. Sometimes, coming to dance is actually better medicine than sitting around and nursing a strained muscle. Of course, we will never do anything to further your injury. If you feel like you have truly hurt yourself, make sure you see a doctor, and let us know.

It matters more to us that you come and take your lessons. As much as we want you to be able to dance every day, we recognize you have a life outside of Arthur Murray. Barring a cataclysmic end, call the studio and let them know what is going on so they can keep you on track and keep dancing!

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!

Your First Group Class

Arthur Murray studios take great pride in creating strong social dancers. Their secret? The three part teaching system: personal lessons, group classes, and practice parties.

Part of the reason people choose Arthur Murray is the unparalleled service offered on your personal lesson. It is a semi-private, comforting environment for you to learn the finer points of dancing. But more often than not, learning to dance is not the hardest part – socializing is. Before attending your first practice party, we recommend the newcomer group class as your first taste of social dancing.

The objective of the class is to get your body acquainted with the basic movements in one or two dance styles. You are not expected to remember the steps – but extra points if you do! Rather, your muscles will remember for you after many repetitions. Leaders stand on one side, followers on the other, while learning where to put your feet. The class is designed to give you the maximum number of repetitions in a single step – AND have a social evening. We rotate partners throughout class so you become accustomed to what your own body can do rather than try to focus on what each partner needs.

We especially recommend couples try dancing with others. Why? We recognize you want to dance specifically with your significant other. But think of it this way. As you are both learning from level 1, it can often feel like the blind leading the blind. You are going to try moves and leads that will be uncomfortable and probably upset your partner. Rather than stay frustrated, rotate partners so you can try it on someone else. Everyone in newcomers class is around your same level, have been in your shoes, and want to conquer this. By the time you get back to your special someone, you will both be better – and everyone in the group class will be thankful you danced with them.

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.

Winning Arthur Murray Swag: A Beginner’s Guide To IDF

Even if you are new to Arthur Murray, you know we like to party. Each spring we amp up the party during an Arthur Murray worldwide bonanza called International Dance Festival.

International Dance Festival is an international competition between all 280+ studios. The objective is to increase student involvement in the studio; what better way than to throw theme parties and special classes?! As a student, you earn points for your studio with everything you do, such as: sponsoring your teacher, taking a lesson, attending a group class or party, having a coaching lesson – or sharing this blog.

But, hopefully, you’re already doing most of that regularly. To make it more enticing, each week is themed and ends in a finale Practice Party. We transform the studio into a tropical getaway, or a magical castle, or a wild west saloon – and then the fun begins. There is still general dancing and spotlights, but we add a special dance activity – like Tetris Merengue or Tango Battleships. And did we mention food?!

International Dance Festival involves you – the student – sponsoring your favorite teacher. You might have seen names on park benches or on the backs of chairs at the theater. Those patrons want it publicly known they support that particular project or art. Much in the same way, sponsorship is public acknowledgement of how much you appreciate and support your teacher – you just aren’t able to permanently stamp your name on them.

Sponsorship is the first step to earning festival points for yourself. If parties and food weren’t enough, we add in free stuff. Sponsoring enrolls you in a grand prize give away as well as special access to festival group classes and discounts. The more you immerse yourself in the studio, the more points you earn, the closer you get to winning!

Your teachers always have your best interest at heart. Don’t be surprised when they ask you to be a part of this year’s International Dance Festival by sponsoring them, doing a spotlight, or dressing crazy. Or – even better – sponsor them before they ask. It’ll make their day.

The First Steps To Your First Dance

Congratulations – you’re getting married! It’s a big step to take, and it’ll be full of fun, excitement, and plenty of new things… and maybe some apprehension. Wedding plans have a lot of working parts, after all, and everything may seem like it’s happening at once.

But not to fret, because we’re here with good news for you: your wedding dance plans don’t have to be another thing to agonize over. Our wedding specialists will help you every step of the way, regardless of how much you do or don’t know about dancing; trust us, we have the experience of thousands of wedding dances behind us, and we’re happy to share.

Arthur Murray Dance Center of Cranford

Here’s what to expect from the complimentary wedding consultation we offer at our Arthur Murray Cranford and Hillsborough locations.

First, we need to get in contact with you, but we don’t know you yet. So whether you fill out our online form, or give us a call, let us know you’re getting married! We’ll get in touch with you the same day (and we will answer any and all questions about what to expect).

Here are some of the questions we’ll ask you, to get a better sense of your vision. It’s alright if you don’t have the answer to all of these, or even any of them – we’re here to help you, after all, with everything about your wedding dance. (Or dances!)

  • When is the wedding?
  • Are you looking for a first dance, or to learn some general dancing as well?
  • Do you have a song selected?
  • Is it a surprise, or are guests expecting this?
  • How large will your dance floor be?
  • What style of dress will you have? (Don’t worry, we’ll keep it a secret!)

The next step is to schedule your complimentary consultation. With whatever information you’ve given us – even if it doesn’t seem like much, we can help you fill in the blanks you need – we’ll be prepared to give you a personalized lesson. So if you want to take the plunge now, give us a call – (908) 272 7955 – or keep reading to find out a bit more about how we get you started.

On the day of your lesson, you may wonder what to bring. The most important thing is yourselves, of course, and we also enjoy an open mind and positive attitude. You may also bring your wedding shoes, at any point in the program, but they aren’t necessary. (Helpful tip: If your shoes are white, bring tape to cover them! The last thing you need is to go shoe shopping again because they got scuffed.) Arrive a few minutes early, if you can, and treat it like a date night – you’re here to learn, but also to have fun!

Your lesson will begin with a short consultation with our wedding director. We’ll go over your song choice, what you’d like the dance to look like, any other dances you may want to learn, and get a good sense of what you’re looking for. We’ll get a good grasp on your vision, and figure out how to best personalize your lesson.

Our wedding dance specialists are trained to work specifically with wedding couples. We will lead you both through basic steps in a couple different dances, and to your chosen song, if you have it already. (We can help you pick one out based on your vision if you don’t have one just yet!)

We can work within any budget, and will do our absolute best to make your wedding dance vision happen no matter what kind of budget you may have. Dancing is a lifetime investment! We even have special classes called First Dance, Second Glance. Those nights are dedicated to married couples dancing their wedding dance again, to bring back the memories as well as show off a dance that otherwise many don’t ever repeat. We want to ensure you get the most mileage possible, even if you only dance your special dance a few times. At least it’s more than just once!

Here at Arthur Murray we are prepared to help you through your first dance – and help prepare YOU for that special moment. Don’t procrastinate on such a fun part of your wedding planning. The important thing is that you call us as soon as you can. Three years, three months, or three weeks – it’s never too early to schedule your first complimentary lesson! Come in today!