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Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by waynelee
3/15/2012  7:42:00 AM
Wow, reading this thread can make your head spin. I have a unique view of the world of ballroom. When I started, my studio was Arthur Murray. Then, it changed to Fred Astaire. The two franchises have a different "flavor" that goes back to its roots. Arthur Murray (by the way, AM is the oldest franchisor in the world. 2nd place goes to KFC) was an instructor who wanted students to be know the latest dance steps in order to be "social" dancers. Watch his old videos on YouTube. So, AM grew up as a "social" dance studio.

On the other hand, there never has been a more technical dancer than Fred Astaire. He was amazing, but drove his partners crazy. Point your foot this way, move your head back 1/2", etc. etc. That's what Fred was like. So, guess what, the FADS studios are generally somewhat more technically oriented than AM.

But the results are out there. As others have pointed out both AM and FADS have their share of world champions, US champions, etc. Both studios show well when in Dancesport competitions. After all, several of the pro's on DWTS are from FADS (Tony and Max to name two).

And while we are on the issue of competitions, our European brothers and sisters should realize that in the US we have American Smooth and American Rhythm plus, what we call, International Standard and International Latin. And to Steve... American rumba does start on the 1 beat, it's International rumba that starts on the 2 beat. There are also differences in dance groupings. But I digress from the subject of this thread.

Bottom line is that you can get a tremendous training experience at AM or FADS if you want it. I am 66 years old and I am a competition student and have placed well in AM, FADS, and Dancesport competitions. My coaches are US and world champions including Michael Mead, Jesse DeSoto, and many others. I also enjoy the social benefits offered by my studio including group lessons, parties, dances, etc. My cost for this is only slightly more than the independents charge in my area.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by TeacherNotStudio
3/15/2012  9:07:00 AM
"So, guess what, the FADS studios are generally somewhat more technically oriented than AM."

This is kind of like writing a review of McDonalds vs. Burger King in the food section of your paper - having a personal preference between the two is certainly valid, and there are real factors you can point to to explain it, but anyone who visits halfway sophisticated restaurants is going to laugh, or groan when they read the article.

"But the results are out there. As others have pointed out both AM and FADS have their share of world champions, US champions, etc. Both studios show well when in Dancesport competitions. After all, several of the pro's on DWTS are from FADS (Tony and Max to name two)."

This is not really meaningful. While dancers who are famous in their own right may have business involvement in the chain studios, that is not where they learned to dance that way. Occasionally you will see serious competition training going on in a building with a chain's name over the door, but it's not being done as part of the chain program offered to the public. And no, chain studios do not generally show well in outside competitions - most avoid even going to them.

"And while we are on the issue of competitions, our European brothers and sisters should realize that in the US we have American Smooth and American Rhythm plus, what we call, International Standard and International Latin. And to Steve... American rumba does start on the 1 beat, it's International rumba that starts on the 2 beat. There are also differences in dance groupings. But I digress from the subject of this thread."

Indeed.

But remember, the real difference is not between a chain studio or some other studio, the real difference is between a studio program vs. a teacher who uses their extensive personal experience and business autonomy to meet the needs of their student, without having to justify their actions to a sales manager.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by Meg
5/21/2013  11:52:00 AM
My parents and I have been taking lessons at Arthur Murray for five years. Doing so , we have been to all three studios in the district. Each one has a different feel. At our studio, the instructors are all friendly and it is easy to tell that it is genuine. They never pressure us to pay for things we don't want to do. They also do not hold us back. My instructor recognized my progress and gives me advanced technique that he knows I am capable of doing. I can talk to any of the staff about things that are troubling me and they are a great support system. The curriculum is excellent and we are always exposed to new things. The students are all like a family. We constantly get together outside of the studio. The teachers honor the rule of no fraternization outside the studio. The other studios in the district are not as great. An instructor at one studio is always goofing off. The group classes I've done there have been too basic and the students are loud and annoying. Female instructors only dance with females from their own studio. Having observed Fred Astaire students and instructors, I am glad we do AM. Fred Astaire does not teach social dancing. Their students looked constantly bored and the teachers showed off too much. They are not considerate on the dance floor.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by ballroomchick
5/28/2013  11:10:00 AM
Dance Studios are not all the same. Some are better than others. I've talked with many local X-AM teachers who have completed their 2 year none compete contract clause and they say they are so happy out. I've heard at competitions them asking the instructors to sound off if they have done their time at AM. Followed by the comment "we all know better now."

Yes AM does take that non fraternization outside the studio to a whole new weird level of avoidance. Should instructors see you at the mall they literally run in the opposite direction. Lord forbid if you happen upon them in a department store and you speak to them before they see you. They nearly die, dropping what they have and move out of the area quickly.

I hate the false advertising the local AM studio does. The owners son and dance partner do not receive training by the studio teachers. These children do not compete at AM competition. They compete in the real world of dance including Blackpool. This is something AM will not allow their students to do. Isn't it strange that AM students that do A LOT of comps can wins all kinds of championships. Yet when they try and dance outside of AM they don't even make first cut? One major problem being they can not do Cuban motion.

I do admit AM is VERY good a selling that feel good, all important, we care for you attitude. You are most certainly paying for it at generally twice the going rate most independent instructors charge.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by Dancingqueen1
5/29/2013  12:20:00 PM
I started out at Arthur Murray also like we all have and yes they have their
faults but every studio is doing the same thing (the independent ones also) All
the previous notes from people on here prior is exactly what every studio is
doing. WAKE UP PEOPLE it's all for the money so they can live rich and every
one of them lives very well. Their are also scams out there too. Its time to
show what Ballroom really is. Don't get me wrong I love it but I do not like
the tactics and manipulation they do to students. They are just as bad as the
car dealers.!
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by Old dancer
10/13/2013  10:41:00 AM
$140 for 40 minutes of private instruction/. They want you to sign up for large number of lessons. , maybe 20 or 30. I do like it but it is too pricey for me.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by ballroomchick
12/27/2013  9:19:00 AM
Older Dancer - Contrary to what Arthur Murry Studios would have your believe they are NOT the only "game" in town. You can get a LOT more "bang" for your buck by going to an independent instructor. Some teach in 45 min blocks others in full hr blocks. You DO have to do your own research though. Just like with any type of service some are better than others in the quality of instruction they give.

Start out by taking group lessons. Go early and observe the instructors at work. Are they telling the student do XYZ while they lazily walk next to the dancer or are they working too? Can they answer the students quests as to WHY or WHAT the student is doing wrong? ASK around about the different instructors and how the students like them. Find out what all the instructors are willing to do with their students....social dance only, showcase, competitions? Remember you can just social dance with competition instruction , but you can not compete with just social dance skills.

You are NEVER too old to compete. I've seen good number of 80 yr old ladies in my area on the competition floor several of them have more stamina than 80% of the young folk!! One older lady is trying to win top studient of the year. She's dancing 300 heats at each compititon and going to 3 comps a month.

Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by dancer
12/26/2013  4:38:00 AM
Dancing is a great way to keep stress level down but not when they are charging you ten thousand... What a waste of money and how easily anyone falls for it because you either enjoy dancing or you enjoy the attention you get from the instructors. My friend used to be an instructor for A.M. and quit because she was asked to flirt and lead on her male students so that they would stay interested on her and feel like paying bill dollars just to have an hour a day with her... Horrible place to learn to dance. Stay away.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by O.K.
12/30/2013  1:44:00 AM
There are good as well as bad within the talked about organization. To know what is a genuine studio one really needs to have some knowledge of dancing. This is unfortunate but is a reality. My advice to a beginner is. Set yourself a budget and don't go beyond that set amount of money that you are willing to spend. And never go into any lengthy contracts where money is paid in advance. And are you enjoying yourself. I attended a studio where I paid $75 dollars at the beginning of the month. Over three evenings there were three classes each evening, that's 9 classes per week. 36 in one month. That I think was good value for money. It was possible to be a casual . This cost was $10 per lesson.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by Bryan M
1/12/2014  6:34:00 AM
AM stinks? My wife and I have been taking lessons at AM for almost 8 years. We have also taken a few lessons at indy studios, and belong to a local indy club. Here is my experience with all;
First- any student who is not satisfied with a studio either has very high expectations without the natural ability to match, or does not attend classes and practice enough to make a difference.
Second- to all the AM haters- whenever we attend a function outside of our AM circle, both students and instructors alike give us tons of compliments on our dancing before they know where we learned to dance. We are always amongst the top dancers on the floor.
Third- our AM experience is a lot like other instruction in life. Like your job. You have good bosses (instructors), bad ones, mediocre and exceptional. We have had them all. Speak up for yourself on instructors who you feel are not meeting your needs. It's your money.
We recently attended a New Years Eve dance party hosted by a local indy club. Students from indy studios marveled at our dancing as did some indy instructors. When we told them we take lessons from AM and who are teachers were, they knew our instructors very well and also said that our teachers were very highly regarded in the local dance community. We were told by several people that aside from a few instructors, we were the best dancers on the floor out of about 150 people.
Bottom line- there is good and bad in every studio, everywhere. I have danced in studios across the USA and can tell you this from first-hand experience.
No, I am not an AM instructor or franchisee.

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