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. 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.
The empowering instructors at Vertical Tease motivate women of all sizes and experience levels to shed their inhibitions—and possibly a few pounds—during conventional and modern dance fitness classes. Their flirty fitness classes draw upon the studio’s strength, encouraging women to release their inner sirens during pole-dance, Video Vixen, Chair Flirt, and belly-dance workouts. Combining fat burning with shimmying, instructors lead Zumba sessions set to heart-pumping Latin rhythms. Kickboxing classes combat extra inches, and the more challenging Turbokick unleashes a fury of kicks and punches to take down pesky calories. To celebrate special events such as bachelorette parties, birthday parties, or sci-fi conventions, the instructors head to your home to host one- to two-hour parties for training large groups in the seduction arts.
If the floorboards at Nan's School of Dance could talk, they would speak kindly of the tapping toes and pointed feet that have graced their surfaces for more than 30 years. In 1975, owner Nan Smith began teaching students in Yadkinville and later opened a dance studio in Greensboro in 1982. Twenty years later, Nan passed the torch and ancient family sweat towel to her oldest daughter, Jennifer Grinwis, who runs the studio with the same passion for teaching dance and instilling self-discipline, poise, and self-esteem.
Talented dance instructors lead students of all age levels in disciplines such as ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop. Patrons can also sign up to for a Kenpo karate class with resident martial-arts guru Mike Carr or get hips swinging and calories spontaneously combusting with Zumba classes infused with Latin dance moves.
Let's Dance's dedicated team of instructors boasts a remarkable breadth of professional-dance accolades, including being voted Best Dance Studio by The Greenville News in 2010 and 2011. From a finalist appearance on So You Think You Can Dance to years of Broadway touring, the team shares a wealth of experience in a wide range of disciplines—ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and modern, to name a few. At their spacious studio, they call upon shared wisdom and passion to develop pint-sized dancers into stars like themselves. Each of their studio’s dance rooms is outfitted with a one-way glass observation window, which gives parents the chance to watch their budding performers spin, twirl, or interrogate uncooperative tap shoes. Costumes and music lend an air of age-appropriate elegance or whimsy to the proceedings, and raised Marley dance surfaces reduce the chance of slippage or injury.
“We remember that everyone was a beginner at some point, even us!” says the Fred Astaire Dance Studio’s website, which displays many of the award-winning team’s words of encouragement to their students. Whether participants are new to dance or want to become the next superhero known for their crime-fighting tango, comprehensive lessons from the internationally recognized team in ballroom, Latin, and swing dance can get them there. Weekly social parties also gather students from all levels in a relaxed space where they can try out what they gleaned in class and learn a few new steps, too.