As America’s second oldest dance franchise, Arthur Murray International, Inc. is known around the world as a prominent entertainment company. Our international presence reaches across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Europe, the Middle East, Japan, Africa, and Australia. With the beginning of a new millennium, social dancing is again a significant part of popular culture for all generations. Today, the Arthur Murray Dance Centers continue a tradition of more than 100 years: we’re teaching the world to dance!
About Arthur Murray Dance Centers
It began in 1912 with a man named Arthur Murray. He was an American symbol of entrepreneurial success and a cultural icon in social dancing. Murray used cutting-edge advertising to make many styles of dance more accessible. Selling dance lessons by mail, one step at a time, Arthur Murray took the use of direct mail to a new level.
Gaining National Attention
Murray’s creative use of print advertising attracted national attention, as did his business acumen. In March of 1920, using students from Georgia Tech, Murray arranged to have music transmitted to a group of his dance students a few miles away. This was the world’s first radio broadcast of live dance music.
Prior to World War II, Arthur Murray teachers were a regular part of every first-class steamship cruise. During the Thirties, the studios introduced dances like the “Lambeth Walk” and “The Big Apple” to an eager public. In fact, it was “The Big Apple” that launched Mr. Murray’s one studio toward expansion into the largest chain of dance schools in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In 1942, singer Betty Hutton with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra recorded the big hit song “Arthur Murray Taught Me Dancing In A Hurry” for the movie “The Fleet’s In.” By 1946, there were 72 Arthur Murray Dance Centers across America.
Arthur Murray was the first to realize the growing popularity of the Latin dances in America during the 1950′s. Many conventions for trainers from Arthur Murray Dance Centers were held in Cuba during that time. These conferences gave instructors first-hand knowledge of the hot new Latin styles and moves that were in vogue.
Appearances in the Media
In July of 1950, Murray purchased five 15-minute television spots on CBS and persuaded his wife, Kathryn, to do the teaching. Before the third show, Arthur bought a half-hour summer series on ABC. The show was called the “Arthur Murray Dance Party.” By May of 1952, the Murray’s had televised almost 100 programs. Their TV ratings climbed, and in the summer of 1952, they signed with their first sponsor, General Foods. Millions of viewers all over the United States fell in love with the show and flocked to the Arthur Murray Dance Centers throughout the country. The show was so popular that it ran for twelve years on national television.
When Arthur and Kathryn Murray retired in 1964, a group of franchisees purchased the company and brought fresh new spirit and leadership. Under its new management, the Arthur Murray Dance Centers have kept pace with the rapidly changing youth culture, and continue today to flourish as the world’s largest dance instruction organization.
Teachers from Arthur Murray Dance Centers can be found in many places beyond the studios. They serve on movie sets in Hollywood and backstage on Broadway. Whenever a movie involves dance, it’s safe to bet that AMII has been involved. Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing II, Dance with Me, Beautician and the Beast, Flash Dance, An American President, True Lies, Saturday Night Fever, and Scent of a Woman are just some of the films that used instructors from Arthur Murray Dance Centers to either teach dance to the stars or dance in the film.
Arthur Murray Dance Centers appear regularly in Vogue, Martha Stewart Wedding, Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated, Woman’s Day, and other national magazines. Whenever advertisers want to reach consumers with a message of romance, intimacy, or just plain fun, you’ll find dancing. From the Gap’s famous Khaki Swing commercials to dancing M&M’s and gas pumps.
Stepping Toward the Future of Dance
Arthur Murray International’s commitment to dance goes even further, being heavily involved with senior management in the world of professional and amateur competitive dance known as Dance Sport. Many of Arthur Murray Dance Centers’ officials have contributed to bringing competitive ballroom to the forefront as an Olympic Sport.
All Arthur Murray Dance Centers are independently owned and operated by people who started as dance instructors and worked their way up to the executive level. By the time they are qualified to purchase a franchise, these instructors have experienced every phase of studio operations, from teaching and supervising, to marketing and management. It’s possible for an ambitious person to advance to a top executive job and become eligible to be a franchisee within just a few years.
Arthur Murray Dance Centers Succeed as Franchises
Building from within has kept the studio’s system strong, with franchisees that are committed to the spirit of excellence, which is the hallmark of the entire Arthur Murray Dance Centers’ system. Currently, there are approximately 280 Arthur Murray Dance Centers worldwide.
To learn dance with Arthur Murray and more about the benefits of dance and become part of this rich history, schedule a sample lesson. At Arthur Murray Dance Centers, we enjoy helping dancers of all skill levels grow in their love of dance and culture.