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.
Debbie Coury was a child when she began dancing at Yvette Dance Studio. The passion cultivated in that community-focused studio catapulted her career, as she went on to dance on Broadway and in Atlantic City. Though she had a taste for the glamour of a big production, she was thrilled to return back to Yvette studio, which began as a focused training program in 1954, as head instructor. She has recruited professional dancers and certified-fitness instructors, along with guest Broadway dancers and choreographers to train children aged 3 or older and adults alike in dance fundamentals. Whether classical and barre ballet, tap, or jazz-funk hip-hop, they frequently incorporate character and lyrical work to familiarize students with all the elements of performing onstage and stomping out Morse-code commands to the band conductor.
In lieu of recitals, instructors dance alongside their youngest students in dance demonstrations, where students show their parents what they've learned without the pressure of performance or lights and makeup. Older children work out new techniques in front of judges for regular testing and receive specific feedback to foster a sense of accomplishment. With instruction spanning nearly 60 years, many former dancers now bring their own children to studio classes held in the original private home, a building that now hosts three private studios. Additionally, many former dancers have employed their movement skills to join companies such as the Rockettes, Alvin Ailey, and Geoffrey Ballet.
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.
As an actress, model, and recording artist, Caprice Burrell is no stranger to the spotlight. But it's as a fitness instructor and CEO at Alter Ego Pole Fitness & Wellness Studio where she truly gets to shine. Burrell's positive attitude fosters a supportive, nonjudgmental environment in which women can confidently unleash their inner vixen. In addition to a range of ladies-only pole-dancing lessons, the posh studio hosts ab-toning and Zumba sessions, along with special events and parties where revelers celebrate birthdays, weddings, or pole-welding certifications with sweets and champagne.
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.