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Re: Some Arthur Murrays Stink
Posted by WRONG!
6/9/2007  11:37:00 PM
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!
Re: Some Arthur Murrays Stink
Posted by CliveHarrison
6/10/2007  2:54:00 AM
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?
Re: Some Arthur Murrays Stink
Posted by Frankie
6/10/2007  5:35:00 PM
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.
Re: Arthur Murray Stinks
Posted by Dancesport
6/10/2007  6:15:00 PM
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 WOW
6/26/2007  2:39:00 PM
WOW, This is the most popular forum?
Thanks for all your stories. I will never take a lesson from Arthur Murray Stinks Studio.

I can't find Arthur Murray Stinks Studio around here anyways.

WOW
no subject
Posted by Hilarious
6/27/2007  4:48:00 PM
Ha Ha,

Very funny indeed if it wasn't for all the sad stories.

Hilary
no subject
Posted by Haha
6/28/2007  5:14:00 PM
Very funny?
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!

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