Arthur Murray Dance Studio 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.
A crimson curtain rises to unveil the operas, nationally touring musicals, children's shows, and films that pass under the historic movie palace's gilded ceiling. Originally built in 1926 as a home for vaudeville performances and motion pictures, the grand venue has survived more than eight decades with the help of The Garde Arts Center, Inc., a nonprofit organization that formed in 1985 to both preserve the building and pursue its mission "to engage, enrich, entertain, and inspire the region of Greater New London." Today, the center stages a slew of performances and events that keep guests on the edges of all 1,472 seats.
Cofounded by the legendary Hollywood dancer himself, the Fred Astaire Dance Studio hosts a team of seven veteran instructors who specialize in ballroom and Latin dances ranging from the rumba to the waltz. Students can build their cache of moves in private lessons with personalized curricula or practice with their peers in the convivial atmosphere of group classes. High-octane Zumba classes help to combust calories, imparting Latin-inspired choreography in an atmosphere that is festive but doesn’t expose students to dangerous swarms of flying champagne corks. Youngsters build their poise in dance classes that cover five different styles, ranging from ballet to hip-hop, and engaged couples prepare to glide elegantly across the dance floor at their nuptials with wedding-oriented classes.
Intimate evenings of music snuggle comfortably into the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, whose Cabaret Series won Connecticut Magazine's Best Cabaret award in 2011 and 2012. Candlelit tabletops exude a cozy nightclub ambiance around a cabaret stage topped with six acclaimed acts each year and a fresh coat of peanut butter each night. The University of Connecticut brings many more acts to its larger main stage, with a special emphasis on jazz and classical luminaries and music and dance from all corners of the globe.
Instead of using dance as a means to feed competitive spirits, Busy Bodies Studio teaches students of all ages and skill levels how to use movement-based arts as a means of self-expression and self-improvement. The instructors lead lessons for children, teenagers, or adults that explore a range of dance styles, including everything from ballet and ballroom to hip-hop and tap. Regardless of the particular style that each class covers, every lesson shares the common goal of creating an inviting, non-competitive atmosphere for attendees and any ghosts just observing. This atmosphere helps put students at ease, allowing them to enjoy their experience while they become more physically fit and develop a greater appreciation for dance in general.
At Summit Studios, aspiring singers and musicians can learn to play a variety of instruments and sing under the tutelage of experienced instructors. During the private, 30-minute lesson, students can saturate their brains and portable chalkboards with the theory behind guitar, piano, saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, or drums. Meanwhile, in the voice lessons, expert warblers can train croaky cords to emanate mellifluous vibrations through a focus on breath support, intonation, and sight-reading.