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.
"I try to make my students tap into their inner child," says Suzy Miller. "Just be silly and have fun!" As the owner of Suzy's Jazzyobics, she brings that philosophy to each 70-minute class that she teaches. Of course, just because she focuses on fun doesn't mean she's not leading serious exercise classes. She infuses the cardiovascular workout with muscle-toning and metabolism-enhancing variations, helping students improve balance, flexibility, and coordination, all while they burn calories.
Equipment: No equipment
Students should bring: Bottle for water, exercise mat,
Average class length: 60-90 minutes
Number of Staff: 1–5
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: No
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
The passionate, experienced instructors at Tonawanda Dance Arts, which houses two air-conditioned studios, transform pint-size fumblers of any skill level into prima ballerinas with a bevy of enriching classes. Dancers can choose from a blossoming assortment of styles, opting for the rigorous-yet-graceful ballet, the passionate and expressive lyrical, or the stoic and dignified standing still. Hosts of classes populate Tonawanda’s busy schedule, allowing budding Fred Astaires to express themselves in myriad manifestations.
The skilled instructors of Tango Café train bipedal pupils in Latin, ballroom, and swing dance, including salsa classes that come in flavors both mild and spicy. Over the course of five weeks, Kerri Vaughn, Ruben Fuentes, and Darin Price will immerse students in their choice of classes, such as Cuban and Puerto Rican Club Style, NY/LA Style, and Rueda de Casino. Depending on the concentration of swivel-inciting jiggle juice in your joints, you'll be placed in a Level 1, 2, or 3 class. As you master the rhythm and your hips learn how to roll their r's, you'll learn to both lead and follow dance partners, perform increasingly complex turns, and pull off scintillating combinations. A convenient online schedule lets you coordinate class times with your cat's clarinet lesson.
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.