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.
Edie Ollwerther grew up a touring dancer, with television and teaching credits to her name. When she married, she took a break—but it wasn't long before neighborhood parents knew of her history in dance. They encouraged her to begin giving lessons to their children, and Edie obliged by transforming her basement into a studio space.
That was in the 1970s. Today, Edie and her fellow instructors—some of whom are former students, now grown—act as the heads of a continually growing family of dancers. Their curriculum encompasses tap, jazz, ballet, and musical theater, as well as vocal coaching and hip-hop routines. Some of their pupils learn to shimmy as a hobby, and others aim to join the competition team, whose performances have taken them to Disney World and aboard a Carnival Cruise ship.
Hawthorne Theater opened in 1928, making it one of the first movie houses established in the area. And though at almost 90 years of age the space is older than most buildings in North America, it's recently undergone major renovations to keep up with modern technology. According to an interview with owner Jack Sayegh at NorthJersey.com, the fully digital five-screen cinema was outfitted with new carpeting and chairs, Real D and 3-D movie equipment, Dolby Surround Sound in all theaters, and human ticket-takers to replace the outdated robot ones. The article also cites that the theater?which has been independently owned since 1980?is maintained by Jack's father, uncle, and cousin, reinforcing its family-friendly nature.
Since 1964, students of Rose's School of Dance have learned the timeless art of graceful footwork. Today, the schedule of classes represents a mix of old and new styles, and includes hip-hop as well as classic ballet and jazz. Though dance trends may change, the musical accompaniment remains the same; unlike many studios, Rose's School of Dance still boasts a live piano player during ballet, pointe, and tap lessons.
Within the walls of the Farview Fire Company firehouse, the instructors of Best Foot Forward Dance Center guide children and adults through ballroom, latin, and swing-dancing moves. Students can attend private or group lessons, and can show off newly learned skills during dance socials complete with DJs and refreshments.
Adrienne Logan is a dance guru, and she's got the resume to prove it; she was a student of Fred Kelly (Gene Kelly?s brother), studied at the Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway, and she's now the owner of Just off Broadway. Along with a faculty of talented dancers, she leads classes for students of all ages in disciplines such as jazz, musical theater, and tap. Aspiring ballerinas can study under resident ballet maestro Andrea Kron, who studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, performed in Radio City Music Hall, and danced as a Rockette. Like eating a bowl of pure cane sugar for dessert, the need to dance has no age limit, which is why the staff also leads dance classes for adults, as well as fitness classes such as Pilates, Zumba, and barre fitness.