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, the The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years.
Today, Arthur Murray's instructors prepare students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts across the world. At the Ottawa studio, Marilisa Granzotto—a member of the World Professional Dance Teachers Association—teams up with professional dancers Vadim Safonov and Alina Safonova to bring Arthur Murray's specialized dance programs to Ontario's budding toe-tappers. They teach pairs or single students to confidently twirl through Latin and ballroom dances.
Clients who arrive for lessons alone will be paired up with other classmates, and the instructors will 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 including the Viennese waltz, the Argentine tango, swing, and the bunny hop, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.