Arthur Murray is a horrible place to learn dance. All they do is hold you back by teaching slowly and peaking your interest by manipulating your emotions so you want to buy more lessons. They get you just good enough to feel progress, then slow down your learning so you will need more and more lessons. beware of these fancy chains, they are a rip off and the lessons are priced so high so the owners can pay their expensive franchise fees and still pocket alot of money. The Instructors are not even well qualified and need no formal training, they are trained by videos and manuals not seen by clients and will sometimes learn a step moments before teaching it. Disgusting. Beware.
All dance franchises are the same Fred Astair does the same thing I had 20 hours left on the bronze program when my teacher said he could not teach me any new steps or tech untill I got 30 more hours...I got my money back. and now take at a locial owned studio. Where I can buy 10 or 15 hours at a time and I have never felt sold or pushed. There are good studios out there just look for one, and keep dancing dont let one bad one stop you.
One needs to realize that this is a sales industry. Seems widows, widowers, newly divorced poeple get sold the dream of meeting someone or how good they are over and over. Pay attention, one hears the same lines used over and over. Funny how so many of us have "talent" or how they "miss us" when we take some time off. Goes way past loving to dance. Just look at how much you spend on the dream and what is really reality. Problem is not everyone can keep that in line especially when the instructor is younger and good looking and keeps feeding your ego. Sad. The instruction is good for the most part but don't you want to say sometimes wake up. I'm sure everyone can think of people like this in all the studios, just gullible to the sales pitch. Wonder how many people that spend a lot of money are told that they are the favorite student. Of course, the almighty dollar, not you the person but I suppose that would be too harsh. I've seen what friend and Ann have said over and over. Is it me or part of being in New York?
Years ago in Toronto my teacher was using an AM studio to teach us international style and took pity on the young girl in a very short skirt who spent most of her time having to dance(?) with old men and gave her free lesson,these were the only real lessons she had . She spent most of her time teaching out of a manual.
What is to stop anyone from forming their own dance club. It should be easy to then hire a profession of your own choice, but under your control. There would be a possibility that a local authority might give access to a Heritage Building provided you are none profit making and are willing to look after it. All you would then need is a good comittee and a constitution. It would be better than paying those hugh amount of money I keep reading about
I remember reading somewhere about a dance community who created a dance "co-op" where people paid membership dues or something and hired their own teacher(s). It worked out to be very inexpensive. Does anyone know the community I am talking about?
I work for Arthur Murray and I have been dancing the majority of my life. Do you want to know why I LOVE it? Its not the money (any dance instructor knows that,) it's not the "sale". I have never lied to my students or pitched them. I believe that dancing makes peoples lives better. I practically live at my studio, and there is other place I would rather be. Our students are like family, the couples we help feel comfortable for weddings bring us pictures and express how special their first dance together was (I still get emotional.) We as instructors are continuously being challenged, and are constantly working on our technique and have very high standards of dancing for our instructors. I have never held back teaching something new to a student if they were ready for it. I am proud of them and have great joy in seeing them develop not only their dance technique but their personal goals. I have seen people transformed and living happier lives. I dance because that is my passion and I feel so lucky everyday to be able to share that for a living.
There is a market out there for people who really don't have the time, commitment, or ability to learn to dance well. They are simply sold on the experience and fantasy, and that's the market the chain studios cater to best. They focus on step and step patterns, and try to get the students feeling comfortable just moving around with other. True technique is almost never discussed, and their instructors vary from some what knowledgable to six week wonders who just finished learning what they will teach you from a video. The instructors do work really hard because they have to keep selling the fantasy which often means reminding students who haven't been in for a while that they still have lessons on the books.
The studio I'm with now has a group mainly interested in social dancing, but there is a very strong group of competive dancers. We train, travel, and compete together (and win sometimes). We don't need any selling tactics because we are all passionate about learning to dance well, and our instructors are incredibly talented. Instead of holding information back, our instructors actually feed us more information than we can handle in order to push us further. There's no threat of running out of material, because they are teaching technique and not steps which takes years. After leaving the chain, it became painfully obvious that dancing was about movement and not steps. That fact is missed at the chains.
I am an Arthur Murray student and have been for almost 5 years. I have taken one or two lessons from instructors who patronize me horribly. I thank them for their time and look for a different instructor, one who will hear my goals and dance dreams and who is willing to commit to helping me achieve those goals. My first instructor with AM wasted 8 months of my time, energy and money because she was very into the manipulation game that has been described by FRIEND, ANN and EYES WIDE OPEN above. My former husband who was taking lessons with me at the time was unwilling to confront the teacher about the issues we had with her. When she moved to Texas, I went to the franchisee and explained what I wanted in my next instructor and I got exactly what I asked for.
I have, for the past 4 years, been blessed with a wonderful teacher who sees his role as giving people the opportunity to realize their potential using dance as the vehicle. He is different from so many instructors in that he's a grown up, not a 20-year-old looking for something to do besides flip burgers at McDonald's. He REALLY (with all of his students - not just me) wants to help THEM get what THEY want out of dancing. He gives a good return on the investment and for me, that is very, very important.
I have taken lessons from Independent studios in tandem with my AM lessons simply to get a different perspective on the subject. I have encountered just as many instructors at Indy studios who just wanted to sell lessons and didn't care what I got from the experience as I have with instructors at franchised studios.
I think before I slammed an entire chain or even generalized the effectiveness of Independent studios, I would recognize that the chain or habit of the institution does not necessarily reflect the tendency of ALL studios in that chain or ALL teachers, either. Good instructors exists in both the franchised studios and the independent studios. Communication is key, though. If you aren't happy at a given studio, tell someone. If they don't fix it or aren't willing to work with you to come up with a solution, move on. Eventually you will find what you want in an instructor, especially if you are clear on what you expect from that person from the very beginning.
I sincerely hope that you have found a studio and an instructor who meets your needs and I do hope you are enjoying your dancing.
I have no way of knowing who you are but you sound very like my instructor and the supervisor at the AM studio where I take lessons.
As a teacher, you know that there are instructors out there who get caught up in themselves and fail to really recognize what it is they are doing. Those are the ones who make the bad impressions on the general public. I will tell you, because I am assuming you in fact AREN'T my teacher (that would be weird) that my teacher has seen me go from being a horribly unhappy, resentful woman, facing radical life changes at the speed of light, to emerging as a happier and healthier human. My teacher invites me to soar with eagles and never disbelieves my ability to do so. Through the vehicle of dance, he has allowed me to see who I am as a person again. This spills over into EVERYTHING I do in my daily life.
He has also shown me how important it is to give to others because they need to soar with the eagles, too. I am Silver 2 level. I go to many group classes that are for beginners and lower Bronze levels, not because I already know the steps so I can show off, but so I know who is in the studio. I want the newer people to see that even those of us who have been around seemingly forever have to work for what we want. I also want them to see that they are supported in their efforts, not only by the instructors but by their fellow students.
Yeah, okay, dance is about movement or is it about music? I forget, being a life-long musician, myself. This experience isn't about that. It's about convincing someone they sure as HEll CAN do "IT" whatever "IT" is. It's a vehicle to self esteem, to success, to better health, through accepting self and recognizing how powerful that 'self' is. You, as a committed dance instructor have as your job opening doors; the hearts and minds of everyone who steps into your studio. YOU and those like you who GET IT are the one's I salute and am more thankful for than I will ever be able to put into words. I was dead inside except for my music, before I started dancing. It is wonderful to stand up and live again. Keep doing what you do. I would bet because of your attitude you give a good return on your students' investment. Thank you for that.
Bolero, I really enjoyed reading your post. You remind me of the multiple benefits dance brings to our lives.
I began dancing at AM about 12 years ago. We evetually left to go to an indenpendent studio, but our experience at AM was a good one.
Regarding pricing, I can speak about FADS, where we purchased lessons not to long ago. I found the pricing comparable to the independent studios, discounts per lessons the more you buy. The only restrictions we have are that lessons must be used in a year, and you are not guaranteed a specific instructor.
The cost, at least at my studio (it might be different in other locations)runs about $120/lesson. However, you have a set instructor and you can come to any group class offered during the week. You can also attend the Newcomers' Party as well as the regular friday night parties. We have 4 "related" studios that are owned by the same franchisee. I could go to a class in any of those studios and even take exchange lessons with a teacher from a different studio than my home studio if I wanted to do so. Similarly, I could go to a dance party in a different studio 4 nights a week if I wanted to do so and not pay one penny extra for that. As it is, I generally have 2 private lessons a week and go to most of the group classes offered at my home studio (usually 4 a week) and frequently, I will go to group classes in other studios (1 or 2 a week). I almost always attend at least 2 dance parties a week and sometimes 3. Only the private lessons are tallied and taken from my total $ paid.
So, say I bought 15 lessons for $1,800. I get much more than just 15 private lessons for the money. I get as many group classes as I can attend (there are usually 10 group classes per week on the schedule)and I get up to 4 dance parties per week (one at each of the 'related' studios because they are on different nights). Even if a student wasn't up for going to a different studio, you'd still have the 15 lessons, 10 group classes, a Newcomers' Party (everyone can go to that but if you are an advanced dancer you need to try not to intimidate the new people) and the regular dance party.
You don't necessarily have a time limit as to when you have to use your lessons, either and participation in the studios on many levels is encouraged (party committees, etc).
> The cost, at least at my studio (it > might be different in other > locations)runs about $120/lesson.
Wow, that's expensive. Back when I was taking privates from one of the pros who was recently featured in the showdances on "America's Ballroom Challenge," I was only paying $65 (US) per lesson. I think he charges maybe $70 or $75 now.
One of my other teachers is a fairly recent Canadian national champion, and also only charges $65 (US) per lesson.
I don't get the party or unlimited group class benefit that you do, but the parties cost $6 per week ($12 if you come for the lesson before), and for $235 per month I can take as many group classes at the studio as I can handle, in styles ranging from Hip Hop, Ballet, Tap, Argentine Tango, Ballroom (International and American), Lindy Hop, Salsa, Belly Dancing, and more.
I'm just giving this info to show that there are many different alternatives out there.