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no subject
Posted by terence2
7/6/2007  11:34:00 PM
Have to mostly agree with the last post.
I personally , have taught, coached, managed etc, for both Freds and A / M for over 45yrs ( on and off )

The main problem that seems to arise, the " bad apple " in the basket.
yes, there are some pretty dismal franchise owners .having said that, there are far more good ones, who make every effort to put a good product on the market.
many larger schools, bring in world class coaches on a regular basis ,something one would seldom get from an independant school .( cost prohibitive )
For those of you who are not informed of the chain school concept, it was an idea formulated by A.M., who came up with a marketing concept for teaching by mail.
this grew into what we see today. The idea , initially, was to offer lessons on a private as well as a class basis, on a mass level ,with expedient results.
No-- It did not turn out " dancers ", that was not the objective ( that came into place much later ).
The one thing it did,above all else, was provide a safe and welcoming atmosphere , for singles as well as couples, catering strongly to the social aspect of dance ( something we , many times , have forgotten how to do ! )
Re: Arthur Murray Showcase
Posted by danz4joy
8/12/2007  2:04:00 PM
As an instructor for AM, we do not force any student to do a showcase. However, you can do one at any level, and you will be entered in at that level and judged accordingly. If you are a newcomer, your teacher will give you slightly more advanced steps to push your level. You will not be expected to perform at a bronze level - you'll be expected to perform at a newcomer level. How do you think anyone gets to be an advanced competitor? By competing and starting at the bottom. This is not for us to make money - in fact, we barely make a profit on competition - we do it so that our students can experience what competition is about, and doing a showcase enhances your dancing for that particular dance. By working on a routine, you learn more about that dance. I have never had a student that regretted doing a showcase. Yes - they cost money. Any reputable competition with real judges is going to cost money, whether it's AM sanctioned or independent. So, if you want to do it, then do it, and enjoy it!
Re: no subject
Posted by danz4joy
8/12/2007  2:25:00 PM
screwed, I am an AM instructor, and that is not how our studio is run at all. I believe you are unfortunately at an AM that only cares about your money, but that is not how all of them are run. I love teaching, and I love my students, and we do not hold our students back. We want nothing more than for them to be great, confident social dancers, and if they want compete, we train them. Yes, competing costs money, and depending on your expectation level, more lessons. But it does sound like this particular AM is not upholding what we pride the standard to be. I'm tired of hearing about these AM studios that are giving all AM studios a bad rap.
Re: no subject
Posted by 5lisamarie
8/12/2007  4:35:00 PM
Responding to the initial posting in this string........I too, am new, dancing only since May. My instructor talked to me about participating in a competition this past July........after much consideration (because of expense and lack of experience) I decided to go for it. I'm very happy that I did, it was an exciting event and a great learning experience. My instructor was sure to tell me that I will make mistakes (even the most advanced dancers do) and that no dancer is ever really ready for the first competition (or performance or showcase). I set my mind to learn the routine and I did "burn" through a few more lessons than usual.....but that was okay....I am there to learn to dance. Spending the extra time and lessons on preparing for the comp was a good thing....I felt more confident and was able to complete the comp dances without making any serious mistakes.....I was fortunate, I did come in third place 3 times (out of six dances performed). My teacher worked very hard with me and made sure that I would perform well at the level I am at. The comp and practice leading up to it helped advance my dance abilities. I did purchase a video of my dances.....yes, expensive, but so worth it to see what I need to work on. I'll warn you that it's not easy to watch yourself dance on video.......but it is nothing but helpful, after you get over the shock of seeing yourself dance in a very UNLIKE "dancing with the stars" kind of way. Don't let it discourage you. As newcomers, we can't expect to be the most polished dancers.....but we are on are way to achieving that goal. In your posting you stated that you don't mind if the showcase expensive. So, perhaps think hard about the benefits that you will reap from dancing in the showcase. You will advance your dancing and become more confident with your dancing. It will help you know what to expect at the next performance. It will help put you on the path to advanced performance if that is what you want. But, we all start at the beginning and work our way up the dancing food chain. Dancing is expensive, but if you love it, so worth it. I know that I am not always easy to teach, and that fact makes it easier for me to justify paying well for it. I'll bet racecar driver hopefuls or athlete hopefuls, or gymnastic or golf hopefuls pay alot for their training too. By the way.....some of the figures that people have mentioned paying....are not even close to what I pay at a Fred Astaire studio. Yes, I pay alot, but there are some horror stories here!
If you want to do the showcase, and money is not an object....do it. Your teacher would not risk making him/herself look really foolish and like a poor teacher if you were not able to do a competant job. His abilities are also being showcased here, too. If you decide to do the sowcase, You will have fun, learn a new routine and become a bit more comfortable dancing in front of people........those are great benefits. Good luck to you!
Re: no subject
Posted by danz4joy
8/14/2007  12:21:00 AM
to 5lisamarie - I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed your showcase and that you did well!!! Cheers to you for putting it on the line. The first showcase is always the most difficult, and many people don't want to work through that vulnerable and scary stage of dancing. You are on your way to becoming a stronger dancer both emotionally and physically! Good luck in the rest of your dancing journey!
Re: no subject
Posted by boleros2aerosmith
8/14/2007  3:01:00 PM
I am an AM student and have been for over 6 years. I still get petrified over competitions sometimes but what I have learned with my dance experience, that is performance and competitions, is self confidence. I was for most of my life the only girl on a drum line and so the hardest thing for me to do was be a GIRL! When I started ballroom dancing and the teacher brought up closed position in Tango and Cuban Motion, I thought I would DIE!

I did that first showcase and got video of my entries and I was so surprised to see that the chromosomes are right... I'm a GIRL... I can wiggle and everything

The first showcase I did, I used more lessons than usual. However, where I am, showcases are relatively little things. Around here, I can do a showcase for less than $200 and not use any more of my lessons than usual (it's always up to you the rate at which you use your lessons)and I still have a lot of fun with the competition and the dinner. I think the most expensive showcase I've done ran abut $400 and that included doing a solo routine and both smooth and rhythm scholarships. Compared to the national events, showcases are bargains, as the national events can become cost prohibitive, costing $3k-$5+ per event.

I feel sorry for those who are resentful towards AM. There are scary franchisees out there to be sure, but the whole dance community is so neat! It is unfortunate that there are people who have had bad experiences and can't seem to move past those experiences. Even my 12 year old dances and has ballroom danced for over 6 years (more than half her life) with AM. She loves it and has learned so much about dealing with boys and how she expects to be treated (with the respect!) because of the protective and nurturing environment that AM has provided for her. Yes, it costs money, but so does a few good rounds of golf with a good instructor...and ski lessons...and art class... It's an investment in yourself, one that you will ultimately not regret.
Re: Arthur Murray Showcase
Posted by na
8/14/2007  3:33:00 PM
you cant go to a studio and get stuff for free. yes judges get paid too, and its not like going to mcdonalds and getting a big mac. Sometimes more lessons are required. you do get ribbons but whats wrong with making people feel good. maybe you were robbed, and your teacher was not good, but in the end you can just say no. what is learned doing the actual performance is worth lessons, its almost 2 for 1
Re: Arthur Murray Showcase
Posted by boleros2aerosmith
8/15/2007  8:38:00 AM
"what is learned doing the actual performance is worth lessons, its almost 2 for 1"

I couldn't agree more. THE and I mean THE reason I do scholarship is because I learn more out there on the floor during those 9 gruelling dances than I do in year of lessons. I could care less about the placings because it is SO valuable to me to be in that environment. Between the outside view of the video camera and my own floor experience in the moment, it is like the most intense education I can give myself. Not only that, my instructor learns a lot, too, and he is a veteran instructor of over 7 years. He learns something new about himself about floorcraft about what I'll respond to (or not respond to as the case may be . Competitions are performance art, so they are by nature unpredictable but the experience is well worth the investment.
Re: Arthur Murray Showcase
Posted by Richard
2/15/2010  9:10:00 AM

I too am a student and had similar feelings as you. But have participated in showcases since the beginning. And yes, to the studio, it is about sales! But having said that you will learn faster and become a dancer quicker if you participate in the the show cases. Note, I said dancer. There is a big difference between being a dancer and just knowing and being able to execute steps. Just don't get caught up in the hype of it being a competition because it is not. It is a means of structuring lessons and concentrating your learning process. You will get to interact with people of all levels of ability and experience. If you are male, you will learn something about leading and physically communicating with your partner. If female you will learn how to follow. And you cannot be a dancer until as a mail you can lead any woman and as a female follow any man with grace and beauty.

Re: Arthur Murray Showcase
Posted by dpalincs
8/3/2010  1:34:00 PM
Yes, yes, lots of people distrust AM, and yes, a showcase costs some money, but everyone at my studio looks forward to them SO much. We eat good food and dance all day. And I feel for me like it's good experience to bravely dance in front of a crowd. You're not going to master any of these dances for years, but you could still put on a good show. Pick YOUR favorite dance, and YOUR favorite song, and HAVE FUN WITH IT is my advice.

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