Dance Blog

What is Social Dancing?

Posted on: Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

Social dancing is a non-competitive version of ballroom and latin dancing. It is comprised of all the same dances, like Foxtrot, Tango, Swing, or Cha-Cha, but designed to be used in practical settings like wedding receptions, nightclubs, business functions, or informal gatherings. Social dancing is less formal that exhibition dancing and is meant to be enjoyed while socializing.

Important Skills for Good Social Dancing
Leading and Following

The most important skill for good social dancing is Leading and Following. This is the non-verbal communication from the leader to the follower indicating the direction, timing, and style, among other things.

Posture and Dance Frame

If Leading and Following is a message, then good posture and dance frame are the antenna broadcasting the signal.


Ultimately, social dancing is having the ability to converse while dancing. Being able to multi-task, like chatting about work or the weather while Waltzing, takes some practice but allows dancing to develop into natural use much quicker.

How to Get Started with Social Dance

While there are types of dances that people can fake their way through, Social dancing isn’t one of them. It’s a style of dancing that, when done well, immediately sets the dancer apart, and that all begins with private lessons.

A single private lesson by a reputable school can replace countless hours of group instruction or instructional videos.

Arthur Murray, the founder, understood that as a struggling dancer himself. He designed a curriculum perfectly suited for those, like him, that had zero dance experience but wanted to experience the benefits that social dancing had to offer.

So, in 1912, Arthur Murray developed a company that did just that and today, Arthur Murray Dance Studios have nearly 300 worldwide locations teaching Social Dance to people across 6 continents. It’s safe to say that Arthur Murray Dance Studios are the longest running and most successful Social Dance Studios in the world.

Don’t Believe These Arthur Murray Group Class Myths

Posted on: Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

We like to say, “when communication goes down, speculation goes up”… so let’s communicate just what will, and will not, happen at an Arthur Murray Group Class.

Class Levels
False: “You’re going to be the newest person in the class.”

Truth: Class Levels are separated

Each group class you attend will be divided by the level you are currently in. While this may seem fairly obvious, it’s an important fact to remember if that “little voice” starts acting up.

From Newcomers attending their first ever group class, all the way to Gold level, there is a class for everyone.

Partner Requirement
False: “Don’t bother showing up unless you have a dance partner.”

Truth: You can learn with, or without, a dance partner

There are plenty of great reasons to learn to dance with a partner, there are just as many to learn on your own. That doesn’t change whether it is a private lesson or group class, regardless of the dance.

Lots of People Around
False: “You can’t learn when there’s a bunch of people all around.”

Truth: Personalized Instruction is our thing… even in groups

Since the group classes are divided by level, that keeps class sizes at a point where the teachers can engage in a more direct fashion with the students.

Passing Judgment
False: “People are going to sit and critique you.”

Truth: The teachers focus on the students, the students focus on the teachers

Similar to that feeling (that voice) when you walk in to the gym for the first time, it can seem like everyone is sizing you up, assessing your worth, and deeming you unworthy. The reality is that students are there to learn more about dancing, and will support those with the same spirit.

There will be people there to observe and assist you – the instructors. Their goal is to help you acquire the information in the quickest and easiest way possible so you enjoy the experience.

Primary Learning
False: “Group Classes are the best way to learn dance”

Truth: Group Classes work in tandem with your Private Lessons and Practice Parties

Your private lessons will always be the primary source for your individual development in your dance program, but group classes are there to add context and consistency to what you are learning.

False: “There must be something wrong with you if you’re nervous.”

Truth: Nervous is Normal

Taking a group class can be scary the first time. A fear of the unknown is just basic human nature, and not a unique problem anyone should question their new hobby over. The great thing is that this environment is not altogether new if you think about it.

You have probably taken your first introductory lesson already. This means that you have been to the studio, you know at least one teacher, and the content will match what you’ve learned so far. Not to mention, you’ll be in a group of other Arthur Murray students who are either feeling, or have felt, exactly what you’re going through.

Final Thought
Truth be told, you probably wouldn’t have even taken your first step into Arthur Murray if it hadn’t been for that inner voice. Maybe it was tired of seeing you turn down opportunities to go dancing, or knew deep down that this was the thing that could help you take the edge off from work.

You’ve got to admit, that voice has a positive track record outside of the occasional freak out when it comes to new things like group classes.

Let’s hope this helped.

What To Wear To Your First Dance Lesson

Posted on: Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Figuring out what clothes to wear for your first dance lesson, first day in a new dancing studio or when you’re totally new to the dance scene, can be tricky. After all, how often do you pick out clothes for dance lessons? It’s challenging enough to find the right clothes for a date, an interview, or a backpacking trip – so let’s make this decision a little less paralyzing with some dance tips.

Many people arrive to their dance lesson straight from work. No need to change clothes. Just head straight to your dance classes with what you’re wearing.
Some Examples You Can Consider:

Slacks and a Dress Shirt
Skirt and a blouse
Your business uniform
Wear a tie? Lose the tie? It’s up to you.
Dress shoes/Heels

Many students have dinner plans before or after their dance appointment. Great idea, no adjustments necessary.

Khakis and a button down
Skirt and blouse
Jeans and a polo
Dress shoes/Heels

If comfort is key, dress accordingly.

Super comfy t-shirts (cotton/poly blends)
A cute top with leggings
Jeans and a super comfy t-shirt

The easy answer? Clothes. That’s right, you can wear anything to your first dance lesson and you’ll blend right in with the rest of the student body. So, just to be clear – If you’ve got clothes, and you’ve scheduled a ballroom dance lesson, then you are dressed appropriately.

After all, anything you wear can be your “dance clothes” especially in Arthur Murray Dance Studios. All it takes is a little dancing and dance spirit!

A Brief Description of Rhythm and Smooth Dance Shoes

Posted on: Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

A question we’re often asked as ballroom professionals is about dance shoes. Whether you’re a man or a woman, there are many qualities of dance shoes that are beneficial to your dancing progress! There are generally two different kinds of dance shoes; smooth shoes and rhythm shoes. Smooth shoes are used for our smooth dances, such as tango, waltz, and foxtrot.  For women, they are closed toe, so we can reach our feet behind us with the tip of the toe and roll onto the foot. They are made for taking walking steps forward on the heel of the foot, and have a sturdier heel than Lady’s Latin shoes. For men, they have a lower heel, which allows them to roll through their feet easier. They are always black matte or patent leather with laces and a 1 inch heel. They are made for taking walking steps forward on the heel, and so they don’t allow for easy pointing of the foot. Rhythm shoes are used for our Latin dances, such as rumba, salsa, and swing. For women, these generally have open toes and higher heels, as well as straps that go around the entire foot or ankle.  The heel is usually 2.5 to 3 inches, and is the least sturdy heel of all the dance shoes, since steps are generally taken on the ball of the foot. For men, they have higher heel, and a flexible sole which allows for pointing the toe easier.