Arthur Murray Dance Studios has been a leading name in social 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 certified instructors. 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.
Jittery jitterbuggers, shy salsa dancers, and timid tango-ers watch out: TC Dance Club International is out to recruit you. The friendly instructors at this dance studio love to teach beginners––in fact it's their specialty. They offers lessons in a wide range of dance styles including waltz, swing, foxtrot, rumba, salsa, and nightclub, and tailor each lesson to the student's experience level, even if they've never danced a step before. What's more, the studio even schedules practice parties where new dancers can try out their moves with other newbies before hitting the clubs or sashaying down the aisles of their local supermarket.
Mary Mayer's career in Irish dancing started when she took her first lessons in Ireland while staying with her grandmother in the early '70s. She loved it so much that when she returned to Chicago, she—as well as her brother John—began taking lessons at a local Irish-dance school, where they danced with such people as Lord of the Dance creator Michael Flatley. Both Mary and John eventually starting placing at regional and national championships.
In 1980, they founded the Mayer School of Irish Dancing. It began in a basement with only five students—two of who were their younger brother and sister, Paul and Julie Mayer. These two followed in their older siblings' footsteps by placing in championships and even landing roles in Road to Perdition. Paul trained actress Jennifer Jason Leigh and danced with her in the film. Julie also trained many actors and performed alongside Paul Newman and Daniel Craig.
Though John has since retired, Mary continues to teach classes six days a week in Villa Park and Galena. Paul and Julie man two of the school's additional locations, which now span four states. Their students have placed in regional and national championships. Some have even traveled to Ireland to put their skills on display at the All-Ireland Championship and see if any snakes have found their way back yet.
Since Barbara McNulty founded her school in 1971, it has expanded to 18 state-spanning locations where beginning and advanced students learn the ins and outs of Irish dancing. McNulty herself is certified to teach Irish step solo, figure, and ceili dancing, and instructors lead a host of solo and team lessons to accommodate different ages or experience levels.
At GL Dance Fitness, working out is often a form of cross-cultural exchange. As Latin-inspired music from around the globe reverberates in the studio, instructors lead students through high-energy dance moves that draw inspiration from salsa, belly dancing, and merengue. Specialty classes tweak the formula, slowing things down a bit during Zumba Gold, adding a strength-building element with small weights during Zumba Toning, and introducing students to man’s first best friend—the chair—during Zumba Sentao. Kids also get their groove on during six-week Zumbatomic sessions that utilize tot-appropriate beats to boost metabolisms and encourage the confidence necessary to excel on math tests and beat back bullies with nothing more than a perfectly executed musical number.