Arthur Murray Dance Studios has been a leading name in ballroom 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 certified instructors, 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 that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Since age 3, Dana Bailey has been twirling to her own beat, progressing from childhood cha-chas to appearances in promotions for Pepsi and JC Penney. After studying under instructors in California and New York City, Dana now offers pintsize patrons the same opportunity to get a head start in the performing arts with child and teen dance classes. She enlists working industry pros to wrangle kids as young as 2.5 in tap, ballet, and tumbling classes atop pliable wood and marley floors.
The boys' tap, jazz, and hip-hop classes accommodate a demographic often overlooked by the dance industry and prepare a studio team for local and national performances. Instructors regularly glean pointers from top national choreographers to craft classes such as Teen Hip Hop, which equips students with basic moves and combos that, much like the prom held outside the Grammys, are set to a soundtrack of current hits.
The six-headed hydra of spontaneous comedy known as Four Day Weekend has been wreaking havoc on North Texas doldrums since 1997. Critically adored by the metroplex’s most prominent presses, the group squelches laughter droughts with their weekend bouts of unscripted hilarity. The professional troupe of cut-ups, many with film and Second City Conservatory of Chicago credentials, happily share the tricks of the trade in their four-level training center. Emphasizing “truth in comedy,” the curriculum covers fundamentals such as characterization and long-form improv, giving students the tools they need to extract their inner hilarity or survive an hour in a prop closet with Greg Proops.
Cofounded by dancing legend Fred Astaire to train new generations of rug cutters with his signature easy grace, Fred Astaire Dance Studio uses a unique curriculum to create comfort on the dance floor. Instructors start with steps and rhythms common to most social dances, steadily building toward more specialized combinations of moves for a variety of rhythm-dance styles such as cha-cha and samba and smooth-dance styles such as the foxtrot and waltz. Once they've learned to follow, lead, or just pare down unnecessary finger-snaps, students can take to the purple-walled dance floor to practice their steps and try on new partners at social parties.