Arthur Murray and being an Informed Consumer Posted by mm76012 4/1/2014 11:53:00 AM
April 2014 I would like to share some thoughts on Arthur Murray with the users of this site.
I have read a lot of AM bashing, and a lot of AM praise. I would like to offer what I think is a fair assessment and offer some advice to consumers of Dance Instruction.
My wife and I started lessons at an Arthur Murray studio in the Dallas/Ft Worth area about 2 years ago. We both feel that the quality of the private lessons and the group classes are very high. In fact, we found that the instructors, especially our male and female pair, to be two of the nicest human beings we have known in a long time. They took instructing serious and always gave us well planned out quality instruction. The variety of dances taught, private lesson times, and the group classes are awesome.
Here are some things you need to know as an informed consumer:
Arthur Murray is significantly more expensive than independent studios. In our area this equals about $55 to $60 more per lesson. AM in our area is $135 per 45 minute lesson; other studios are in the range of $75 to $80. Here is the kicker though, AM does not charge extra for group lessons or practice parties. So, there is a valid argument that although the lessons are over 65% more per lesson you can consume all you can eat of the group lessons and parties. If your schedule only allows you to make a few lessons a week then paying the fees for group lessons is much cheaper in the long run (especially since these fees are often less than a meal at McDonalds).
The second aspect should you decide AM is your best option is to realize they will indeed try very hard to get you to go to shows and trips for shows. There are several consumer points you need to think about on this element:
1. Unless you insist, they will try to use part of your lesson time to pitch coming to the show. This means youre paying them $135 bucks to listen to a sales pitch. If you insist they wait till after the lesson to discuss that they will wait.
2. The reasoning will be laid out that preparing for shows allows you to take your dance to the next level or give you a goal to train for like someone training for a marathon. This is actually true it does up your game. But think about this, most advanced choreographed routines for shows looks nothing like a social dance. It is like comparing someone socially ballroom dancing to what you see on dancing with the stars! It is two totally different flavors. If you want to look like a DWTS person then prepping for a show is for you. If you want to dance with people in public who have not trained with you on that routine then it may not be for you.
3. The cost of the shows, especially the ones out of state, is stunning! Price the airfare and hotel expense for these locations separate from the show and you may be stunned at the cost of this adventure. And when you price adding extra heats you may find that for 90 seconds of dance you may pay around 40 bucks a pop for add on time.
4. But the real cost may be in the accelerated private lessons to prep for the show. Imagine going from 1 lesson a week (meaning youre paying about 540 a month) to an extra four lessons in a month and now you have spent over a grand getting ready for a show.
Ok so think about this cost knowing what other options are out there. Youre the ultimate judge of how you spend your money. You should at least be informed. Call around and ask other studios about their rates in your town and see for yourself.
So now moving on to the real issue I have with Arthur Murray. Exclusivity!
At our AM you will not hear people reference dance competitions outside of AM sponsored events. You will not hear people talk about ballroom events outside of AM events. And now I know what happens if you try to talk about these things outside of the studio.