Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Debbie Coury was a child when she began dancing at Yvette Dance Studio. The passion cultivated in that community-focused studio catapulted her career, as she went on to dance on Broadway and in Atlantic City. Though she had a taste for the glamour of a big production, she was thrilled to return back to Yvette studio, which began as a focused training program in 1954, as head instructor. She has recruited professional dancers and certified-fitness instructors, along with guest Broadway dancers and choreographers to train children aged 3 or older and adults alike in dance fundamentals. Whether classical and barre ballet, tap, or jazz-funk hip-hop, they frequently incorporate character and lyrical work to familiarize students with all the elements of performing onstage and stomping out Morse-code commands to the band conductor.
In lieu of recitals, instructors dance alongside their youngest students in dance demonstrations, where students show their parents what they've learned without the pressure of performance or lights and makeup. Older children work out new techniques in front of judges for regular testing and receive specific feedback to foster a sense of accomplishment. With instruction spanning nearly 60 years, many former dancers now bring their own children to studio classes held in the original private home, a building that now hosts three private studios. Additionally, many former dancers have employed their movement skills to join companies such as the Rockettes, Alvin Ailey, and Geoffrey Ballet.
Featured in the New York Times and on The Colbert Report, Exotic Dance Workshops pole instructor Johnna Cottam has been earning attention by teaching women of all ages and flexibilities the art of exotic dance in a supportive environment. During the pole-dance basics class, students spin and swagger through a series of pole tricks, mastering how to slide in heels like glamorous baseball players.
Rhythmic Arts' diverse classes enlighten the minds and lighten the toes of students through a variety of formats. All of the studio's classes are intimately sized, and many of the adult and children's classes conveniently occur at the same time. Perfect a pirouette in ballet or learn tap as a means of notifying the downstairs neighbors that they're being too loud. Fitness courses such as yoga and Zumba keep students tunefully toned, and Bollywood Babies prepares little ones for their inevitable fame and fortune. See the school's online schedule for complete details.
Following the lead of professional dancer, choreographer, and studio owner Michael Cuomo, the instructors at Premiere Dance Studios teach young dancers ballet, hip-hop, jazz, and a host of other styles while instilling an enduring love of dance. At both the Bridgewater and Flemington locations, parents can watch their kids cut a rug on monitors in the lobby, and their tykes can keep tabs on their own form with floor-to-ceiling mirrors, perfecting ballet leaps or trying to stop their reflections from dancing the "Macarena." As their dance skills improve, students can audition for the Legacy and Dynasty competitive dance troupes, depending on their studio.