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.
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.
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.
Sharron Miller has devoted her life to dance. She attended the Juilliard School and worked with the director of the Garden State Ballet. After completing her training, she danced as a soloist for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and appeared in seven Broadway shows. Sharron also taught at Renaissance Middle School for 13 years, where her dance and drama program for youth was praised by the State of New Jersey. Today, as the founder of Sharron Miller's Academy for the Performing Arts, she shares the skills she acquired throughout a lifetime in the arts with students from all walks of life.
SMAPA is a not-for-profit organization that provides classes in jazz, ballet, tap, and modern dancing for students of all ages. SMAPA's skilled faculty members teach hundreds of students every year and conduct outreach to the community, engaging youth in the arts through school programs and impromptu performances in the daydreams of teenagers.
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.
The lively dance instructors at GoDiva Studio impart the rhythm to burn calories in a variety of sweat-manufacturing, 60-minute dance classes, which may incorporate dance poles, thumping hip hop beats, and entrancing Latin melodies. The GoSensual Flex class blends hot dance moves with serene yoga and Pilates techniques to improve balance and set chakras to conga; the GoOpen class for all skill levels hones the pole-dancing maneuvers of flirtatious flag-imitators. During Virgo's GoVixen class, stiletto-clad students boogie to the latest radio jams, and Eve guides the Latin footwork of the GoZumba class with agility and aplomb.