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Teaching hips to swivel in style, dance instructors impart their masterful moves unto students in the respected tradition Arthur Murray has upheld since 1912. Arthur Murray dance teachers have inspired steps on the silver screen in a variety of films, including Dirty Dancing and Saturday Night Fever. The franchise has also worked to help ballroom dancing to gain popularity as an Olympic sport and appear in major national magazines such as Smithsonian and Sports Illustrated.
The McMurray and Downton Pittsburgh studios provide a warm, aesthetically sound environment for engaging in private and group dance lessons, surrounding students with smooth wooden dance floors and mirror-lined walls. Embodying the three-count time of a stately waltz brings partners in close, and rumba moves or swing steps add playfulness to one's dance repertoire. Protégés may find their new moves applicable in a number of settings, such as when prepping for a wedding dance or when dodging throws in a game of dodgeball.
Students at the Absolute Ballroom & Dance Center can obtain head-turning dance skills that will make them the center of attention at social events while impressing more than their coat-rack dance partners. Offering top-notch dance instruction and an encouraging environment, Absolute Ballroom staffs a group of talented DVIDA-trained instructors who are knowledgeable in a bevy of dance styles and rain-luring routines. Group classes last 50 minutes and include an additional 10 minutes of practice time while honing eye-catching fluidity in newcomer classes (Wednesday nights in June) or beginning salsa classes (Thursday nights in June). Newcomer classes have been created specifically for newbies and are split into ballroom and Latin dance styles, allowing participants to flash hybrid moves like genetically engineered break-dancing replicants.
Students of all skill levels learn to shimmy with grace during Pittsburgh Bellydance Academy's comprehensive bellydance classes. Beneath the pressed-tin ceilings of a renovated theater-turned-studio, experienced instructors lead dancers in beautiful movements that can also help tighten and tone the body. Besides combinations, choreography, and head-to-toe technique, many sessions include flexibility and strength training. Others enhance the aesthetic experience with props such as the single and double veil, zills, canes, and fan veils. Students also receive training in musicality, interpretation, improvisation, and performance skills, helping prepare them for biannual showcase performances where they can show off their new moves.
Arthur Murray 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. 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.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.