How to Become a Good Dancer by Arthur Murray


I have been privileged to be part of the Arthur Murray family coming close to 30 years now. They hired very, very young back then! I am honoured to have been part of so many lives changed through the art of dance. One thing, of the million things, I love about Arthur Murray is that they are always at the forefront with the latest dancing trends and dances. I love telling people, when I interview them for the first time that we’ve been around since 1912. Some are shocked and want to know my ‘fountain of youth’ secrets! Just for the record, I personally have not been here since the beginning. Arthur’s quick and easy, famous ‘magic step system’ has stood and continues to stand the test of time. Starting with teaching dance, then developing his mail order business by selling the famous footprints, to writing dance books, to franchising, to T.V. to the internet, Arthur Murray continues to teach the world to dance in over 21 countries crossing racial, religious and economic backgrounds. I am the proud owner of three dance books written by the man, himself. One dates back to 1924, then 1925 and then the updated 1959 version. I thought it might be fun to share some quotes. You will see that some things have changed and improved for the better but some things will forever stay the same and explain the success of this great organization. See if you can tell which quotes fall into which category.

“Those who are interested in history know that dancing is one of the oldest and most enduring of all the arts……Actually, through all those years up to today, dancing has not changed in one of its basic aspects. It has always been and still is a means of expression. To me, the clearest definition of up-to-date ballroom dancing is conversation set to music.” 1959

“Dancing may be likened to a business partnership, In business each partner has certain responsibilities; each one is expected to perform certain duties. So it is with dancing. The man is expected to lead; the lady is expected to follow.” 1925

“To look well while dancing, make yourself tall; hold your head up high, chin in, chest out. Dance as though your body were floating through the air. Keep your heels off the floor as much as possible. Keep your legs close together; do not spread them apart.” 1925 (Blogger’s note: There is a reason why our preferred method of teaching today is on the dance floor.)

“In most of the old dances it was necessary to dance in a certain cut and dried way. Each dance was done in regular sequence. The lady knew approximately what the man was going to do. The men danced with more or less regularity and sameness.

In the new dances, for instance the Fox Trot, there are no set rules as to what steps one may do. Each dance consists of a number of variations or steps, some of which are easier than others. It is not necessary for the man to dance the steps in any regular sequence, but he amy execute any of the steps at any time. In other words, the man may lead his partner throughout any of the steps with which he is familiar.” 1925

And on ballroom etiquette Arthur quotes Spencer:

“If we will follow the Golden Rule, we will always be considered well-mannered, for true manners do not consist of a superficial attempt at politeness, but is an outward evidence of a sincere desire to treat one’s fellowmen with kindness and consideration.” 1924

If Arthur Murray were alive today, I think he would be proud of his Arthur Murray dancing descendants!


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