Mr Tango. I would steer clear of Swing and Sway with beginners. But I would demonstrate the correct hold and the position of the bodies and explain that this will be for later. I would insist from the very beginning that they know how to stand up straight and maintain that posture when moving.. On that first day I would tell them that one step forward is only an exagerated walk and dont try to make it anything other that it really us. I would always ask for a volunteer to answer for instance something I have mentioned. In this case what is the footwork for the first step of a Change Step. Then some other pupil for the second step and so on. This is how I was first taught and have not seen a better way since. Always remember their has to be a Physical Template danced correctly for the pupils to follow. As for the Latin Motion I would send them to this site, the one you are on, and direct them to Learning Centre. Then to Intro Latin Motion. I would tell them to have plenty of paper in their printer and to print. Then to ask next time if there is anything they didn`t understand on what they have printed.
Polished, you sound like a fine teacher, and I have no disagreement with you. I was merely responding to the earlier post which reflected an often-used complaint by students who may not understand the process, and instead blame it either on a teacher's perceived lack of knowledge or a sales tactic, not believing that their teacher actually may know what they are talking about or have their best interests at heart. I have seen it happen to veteran, high quality teachers, and well as newer ones. It all boils down to trust. And again I stress that if you don't trust your teacher, you need a new one and/or a new studio. You shouldn't wast your money and, more importantly, your time when you don't feel the value - regardless of the name of the studio. I feel the same about my students, and so should any other ethical teacher. I am sure you would agree.
I would look for a different source of training. We took lessons at a FADS studio for over 5 years. They worked on whatever we requested. Even though we were in the bronze program, they started teaching us Silver Waltz and Foxtrot after the first year. They also taught us silver elements and technique in other dances. We passed all their bronze tests, learned a lot of silver technique/manuevers and spent 1/3 of what you mentioned.
Im sorry you had a bad experience. i would just like to say that not all arthur murrays are the same. They are franchised and therefore run differently at each studio. i am a dance instructor at an arthur murray and i know that some are exactly as you say. but some are not, unfortunately it only takes a few rotten apples to ruin the bunch. I can say that we for a fact are priced very cheaply and we do not hold our students back. I agree with you that what happened was wrong. The same thing could have happened to you at an independent studio. It all depends on who runs the show as with any business. So don't give up dancing and i hope you find a great place to take lessons! But not all Arthur Murray's are bad.
I've been reading all the posted comments and I think that talking bad about ANY studio is absolutely WRONG!
First of all mostly anything you do for fun costs money. So nothing is going to really come to you for free!
Now what does dancing do for most people? Gives them happiness, energy, a challenge, dreams, goals...etc. Now why wouldn't you want to live up to this? The money doesn't matter what matters is what you get out of dancing. Not every studio is the same but that's the beauty of it. That's why there are so many studios so anyone can go out and find their own studio, a studio where they feel happy at!
So PEOPLE, dance and be happy stop using studios as excuses for bad experiences. Communication is key if you are not happy then voice your concerns or find the studio for you! I'm sure no one was or is trying to suck up YOUR money. After all remember nothing is for free!
I'm sure (or at least I'm ready to believe) that not all franchised chain studios are bad, and that there are good teachers and coaches in many of them. What seems regretable to me is that they have gained such a grip on the market (but as far as I know - which may be way off - not anywhere else in the world), and the business model serves the proprietors (both sets: franchisors and franchisees) over the interests of the customers.
It isn't just dancing: franchise chains impose a formula, to a greater or lesser degree, on anyone operating one. I the customer, am no longer free to choose classes when I want them, lessons when I can afford them, and the manage the pace of my own progress, but I sign up for "packages" for what seem to be grossly inflated prices. The chains sell me what they want me to buy. Here in UK I buy exactly what I want, and I just wouldn't entertain paying a premium, relative to the price of a class, to receive a private lesson with a teacher who was not, at least, an associate member of one of the recognised teaching societies. The thought that I could be expected to pay over $2,000 to be taught bronze level figures by some inexperienced wanabee dancer teacher who learned the same figures just last week, and probably from a dvd rather than from a qualified and experienced coach, makes me laugh.
Did anyone ever get anything GOOD from a franchised business, be it burgers, coffee, or dancing: or is the tendency to receive a bland product, stamped with the owner's brand or style, and always at a premium price to the local owner-managed independent businesses that they always push out of town? It is, ultimately, our own fault: we go to these places because we know the brand (that advertising paid off then - but hey, WE paid for it!) and we have been conditioned to accept what's on offer as a reasonable substitute for the real thing.
I looked in my exam syllabus book about the IDTA's professional examinations here in the UK. Their expectation is that student teachers will be coached by experienced qualified teachers, not just certified at the modest entry level (associate), but at least at licentiate, and preferably fellowship level; and that the coaches will not just be well qualified and experienced dance teachers, but also that they will have years of experience of coaching student teachers. Less than that, and the student, the dance industry, and ultimately the dancing community - you and me - are being sold short.
Now, that sort of training doesn't come cheap, but spread over the busy diary of a successful and popular teacher, the recovery of the cost, and the overheads of running a studio and a business don't equate to the huge prices being charged by the chains. The going rate for private lessons in the UK for beginner/intermediate dancers is £20-30/hour. If I had agreed (and I WOULD expect to know) to take lessons with a student or inexperienced teacher, I would expect to pay less, and for the student to be obviously in receipt of regular monitoring and supervision. There is no place in the UK market for franchised chains to charge silly money for the services of largely untrained and unqualified staff: we just wouldn't sign up. I arranged next week's lesson yesterday, and I'll pay for it next week. If I fancy going to another studio for a short series of classes on a particular aspect of dance (and I have one in mind just now), it won't be getting in the way of my pre-paid studio plan - I'll just go - and be paying £4/hour for the group class.
Does the franchised chain model have ANYTHING going for it - from the perspective of the customer? If so, what?
From the perspective of a middle aged, pro-ammer, with no hobbies and a little extra cash, I actually walked into a dance studio with the intention of meeting other middle aged women. I assumed that the instructors were gay (they were not), and this would be an opportunity to exercise and meet new people outside of my regular circles. In short, I was a bored housewife. Ballroom delivered like Dominos. The scene was a gossip-fest (something that was "not done" with my friends), the sales were manipulative, and the clothing/costumes had more glitter, color, and cleavage than a Las Vegas show. Here was a sub-culture that did not follow the rules that I was accustomed to: vanity was celebrated, subtlety was non-existant, and deception was the norm. It was liberating, in a way. In my tightly restrained life, I had found this oasis of decadence. Did I get ripped off - absolutely!!! Did I gain the tightest abs and gluts of my life - you bet!!! It's been fun, I didn't let it get out of control.
I couldnt agree with all of you more! I am so glad someone come out and exposed that company for what it really is! I left because I had so many problems with the studio I just got tired of it. I still had four lessons but they refused to give me my money back. They said I had to take them. I started taking lessons at a locally owned studio as well and by the time I left Arthur Murray I was a more experienced better dancer than my instructor! What a joke! Its not fair how they play with your emotions even go as far as flirting with you to make you come back for more lessons using people vulnerability. And as much as I understand that this is a business franchise, there are many many big studios that make a lot of money that are bigger and better than their studios that dont use those tactics or at least dont use them to that extreme. I am very disappointed in the company. And than you so much for posting this up!
no subject Posted by ArthurMurrayPro 6/26/2007 8:19:00 AM
I would like to remind everyone that Dance Studios are a Dance BUSINESS. That means it makes money for services provided. Learning is not free or cheap no matter which institution you choose.
Many people do not realize that most dance instructors are FULL TIME dance instructors and live off of the money made from teaching and comps. We must live to the same cost of living standards as all you lawyers an doctors complaining about the cost of dance lessons which are a luxury in life. Dance lessons are a service-there is nothing material to take home but knowlege. Once learned it is possible for the students to steal material and teach it to their friends. There is no way to control that. Do the studios not deserve top dollar for their knowlege and expertise because of this? Ask yourselves why other professionals such as lawyers, therapists or other medical fields charge what they do-their quality varying the gamet. If you did not make sure you ask for the kind of instruction you are looking for, then it is your fault the studio did not work for you.
All Arthur Murray instructors MUST be ceritified by the NDCA in order to teach and continue to be certified their entire career.
Please get all the facts before you go out bashing a business and taking money away from some great instructors.
no subject Posted by anymouse 6/26/2007 10:25:00 AM
"Many people do not realize that most dance instructors are FULL TIME dance instructors and live off of the money made from teaching and comps. We must live to the same cost of living standards as all you lawyers an doctors complaining about the cost of dance lessons which are a luxury in life. Dance lessons are a service-there is nothing material to take home but knowlege."
Quite fair, provided that you, the teacher both know what you are doing and can communicate it. If not, then it's a ripoff.
"Once learned it is possible for the students to steal material and teach it to their friends."
Hahahah... very funny. Any teacher with something real to offer would know that there is no way their students can trivially repeate it in a way that substitutes for the original. Their better students may be able to pass on some sense of it, but that's encouraged, because it causes the recipient friends to want to get lessons from the source of the knowledge.
But "teachers" whose total knowledge is a bunch of silly step patterns, they are running scared. If you can be that easily replaced, then your business is founded on the ignorance or laziness of your customers. There are succesfull businesses like that, mostly catering to the rich.
"Do the studios not deserve top dollar for their knowlege and expertise because of this? Ask yourselves why other professionals such as lawyers, therapists or other medical fields charge what they do-their quality varying the gamet."
They are selling the service of their exerptise interpreting a collective body of knowledge for you. It's not like you need authorization to buy a medical or law textbook, you just won't do to well without the context of experience to guide your attempts to interpret it. Likewise the real dance manuals that cover the important things - anyone can buy them, but only some can understand them. So sure, keep your silly step lists a big TRADE SECRET. Real dancers will just laugh - your secrets aren't worth waisting time on.
"All Arthur Murray instructors MUST be ceritified by the NDCA in order to teach and continue to be certified their entire career."
Not only false, but impossible. You've just proved your total ignorance of the subject. THE NDCA DOES NOT CERTIFY ANY TEACHERS, PERIOD. Dancers registered with the NDCA may list credentials they have from NDCA member organziations, but the credentials are from those other organizations, NOT FROM NDCA.
"Please get all the facts before you go out bashing a business and taking money away from some great instructors."
You've shown a poor grasp of the facts, and an even poorer grasp of the fundamental realities of dancing.
That's not to say that there aren't some good teachers working in chain studios, and in a number of cases owning them. But they are good because they personally are knowledgeable people, they'd be good on their own too. And unfortunately, having a good teacher as a studio owner does not mean that their employed teachers are worth a dime.
no subject Posted by Anonymous 6/28/2007 7:46:00 PM
I find it interesting what these posts are saying...I am also from NY and have found the same thing about being the 'favorite'. The minute I decided to cut back...and eventually leave the studio...I was given the cold shoulder and the rumors started to fly. I even had a friend tell me that the staff was bad-mouthing me to her after I left. I was crushed! I will NEVER set foot in another Arthur Murray studio...especially my local one, and have GREAT reserve of taking any lessons at any franchised studio. I have found a refreshing locally owned studio here and I love it! No sales pitch...no strings...or headaches...It's great!
I soo agree with the message alot of you are portraying about AM. I have been taking lessons there since the end of 2008, and am only a Bronze II student. I am no Kym Johnson, but I'm not Kate Gosselin either. I have taken many other styles of dancing my entire life, and have danced fairly well. This is why it SURPRISES me it's taking me that long to move on @ AM. Everytime I try to ask my instructor or one of the other instructors why I feel like a special education ballroom student, they really don't have an answer. They keep on "praising," me how good I am doing at my dancing yet don't move me foward. My instructor a couple of times has told me it's about "technique," and since I plan on one day being competitive its in my best interest to learn everything properly (obviously, at the speed of a snail). I am a single woman, and I am not starving, but at the same time I'm not one of those high end accountants that could afford the astronomical prices either. They believe at AM that your talent is based upon the amount of money that you shell out a month. If you shell out more money to them, they will kiss your *** and dance with you during every single social dance on Friday night. However, the less you spend the less compliments you start receiving, and the less they start to care about you. I understand that it's a business and nobody is going to dance for free; however, in order for them to stay successful they must start to have more competitive pricing with other local companies. Also, they must teach their students what they want and are paying BIG money to learn. If I want to walk in off of the street, I'm a beginner, and want to learn a Bolero, then damnit I should be entitled to learn that! I shouldn't have to be a "Bronze III," student in order to learn this. Their little hierarchy of dance levels, is a hierarchy of how much money that student puts into the studio. It truly disguists me how they operate, and can't believe it almost took me two years to figure this out. One lady from our studio doesn't dance, she truly is a Kate Gosselin wannabe, and yet she went to competition in Vegas last year! The studio should've been ashamed to let her perform! I am just hoping I find something locally thats reasonable, will teach me what I want to learn, and appreciate my talent and dedication to dancing.
no subject Posted by madmentaldavy 6/29/2007 5:01:00 AM
This form of dancesport club is the most common for local sports clubs in Germany where I live. The biggest advantage is that you can decide what kind of instruction you require and hire the best professionals that meet your requirements.
The professionals like this form too, since they increase their customer base for private lessons with each club they train.
no subject Posted by madmentaldavy 7/1/2007 12:59:00 PM
I also think that it is an unfortunate situation because these studios are turning people off of dancing. It is good that anonymous found another studio to go to. Many people stop dancing all together because of greed and incompetence in the AMI system.
no subject Posted by RhythmGirl 7/1/2007 3:10:00 PM
I had similar experiences as were mentioned in this discussion, including the bad-mouthing after I left. However, this was done at a FA, not an AM. In fact, it was refreshing to go to the AM in town and be treated respectfully and professionally. Having been in this hobby for several years, I can attest that independent studios train on the premises as well. I have been fortunate to have had some wonderful instructors who did not pressure me for sales, lie to me, or give me substandard teaching. One in particular was from AM.