How Long Until I’m Good At Ballroom Dancing?

It seems like a harmless enough question – after all, we deserve to know how much time and money we’ll have to shell out before we get… Well, whatever it is you’re looking for from ballroom dancing. But, are you sure you know exactly what that is?

Most newcomers enter the studio with only a hazy idea of what they want to look or feel like on the ballroom floor. This makes things difficult for your instructor, who has to turn these vague expectations into concrete goals. If you don’t want precious lesson time used up on things you don’t want, make those misty dreams of dance as solid as possible.


What do you want?

Do you want to go competitive, or are you just looking to have fun? What excites you most, having a lot of variety in your patterns, or learning how to ‘look like a dancer’? Is there a video or picture you saw that inspired you? A piece of music you heard? Put together, what is your Ultimate Dream Dance Goal?

When do you want it?

Of course, we all want to learn to ballroom dance yesterday. Try to be realistic, and decide how much time you’re willing to invest to accomplish your goals. If you’re really not sure, a quick online search for ‘how long does it take to get good at ballroom dancing?’ will give you some estimates.

How much are you willing to pay for it?

Similar to time, give yourself an upper ceiling for how much you are willing to spend to get what you want, without breaking the bank. On average, group classes range from $5-20, and private lessons $80-150 each. Be aware that, as you grow in experience, private lessons will become increasingly important to improve your technique, where groups are best used to practice what you’ve learned.


Tell your instructor!

It might seem like a no-brainer, but so few students do this that it’s worth saying: the more your instructor knows, the more they can help you! As a bonus, it makes them more accountable to you if they agree to your terms.

Be willing to be flexible.

More often then not, you will have to compromise with your instructor while working towards your goals. You might find it takes longer, or costs more, then you originally expected to become the dream dancer you want to be. On the other hand, there’s plenty of unexpected benefits you might experience: improved coordination, balance, mental cognition, and endurance are just a few of the many benefits of learning to dance. You might even find your end goal changes significantly from when you started.

All this might seem like a lot of time and work, but hey, so is learning to dance! At least with your goal firmly in mind you’ll know you’re working towards something that’s important to you.

Author: Ian Crewe –

Your First Lesson At Arthur Murray: Perception vs. Reality Posted by Chris Lynam

perceptionvsreality-660x240Have you ever given yourself a “reverse pep-talk”?

Ever locked in your critical heat-seeking missles on some negative outcome – before you even tried it?

A job opportunity?

Asking someone out?

Dance lessons?

We’ve all done it.

It’s time to pull back the curtain on the reality of your first dance lesson at Arthur Murray, turn all the lights on, and see what it’s really all about.

Your First Lesson At Arthur Murray: Perception Vs. Reality

Question 1: Should I Do This?

Perception = I should wait until I know a little something before I go in and take a lesson… so I don’t make a fool of myself. I have [insert any number greater than 1] left feet.

Reality = The old Arthur Murray expression is, “Walk in, Dance out”. There’s a reason why Arthur Murray has been teaching the world to dance for over 100 years, and we couldn’t do that for this long if you needed to know how to dance first.

Question 2: Can I Even Handle This?

Perception = I have never done the splits, or any of that other stuff you see on tv. I am expecting there to be some physical and mental anguish.

Reality = The Arthur Murray teaching style is “fun, quick, and easy”, which really translates to “painless”. There are plenty of ways to enjoy dancing without doing the exhibition-television version of it, just like enjoying a casual game of basketball, tennis, or pool without being a world champion in it.

Question 3: What Will It Feel Like When I Am Walking In?

Perception = All the great dancers in the room will stop doing their splits/twists/Latin dance stuff and snicker as I walk clunk into the room with bad footwork.

Reality = You’ll be greeted by your teacher, the receptionist, and most likely, some students with a smile. Don’t be surprised if any of those people greet you by name.

Question 4: What Will My Teacher Be Like?

Perception = They’ll be wearing some ballet leotard-type thingy and maybe even a Flashdance sweatshirt.

Reality = Your teacher will be wearing professional, non-Flashdance, attire. The male instructors wear a shirt and tie everyday. The female staff wear professional, business-like attire. You, on the other hand, can and should dress in whatever makes you comfortable.

Question 5: What Will My Lesson Be Like?

Perception = This first lesson will be painful for my teacher to endure. They’ll probably walk off, take a coffee break, or quit on the spot.

Reality = You’ll be working with a teacher who specializes in teaching new students.  As Kathryn Murray used to say, “The hardest step you’ll ever take is the first one through the door.”

Question 6: Am I Even Capable Of Learning To Dance?

Perception = I will probably step all over my teacher, myself, and people casually walking by as I’m “learning to dance”.

Reality = Your teacher was hired based on their pain threshold. We kid. Arthur Murray professionals make teaching their career because they find the greatest rewards come when their students make dancing, and personal, breakthroughs.

Final Thought

Everyone has a list of “should’ve, would’ve, could’ve” moments.

Think about this for a second, “I should’ve taken dance lessons…” will no longer be a sentence you utter, ever again, while you watch another opportunity go by.  There are plenty of reasons to talk yourself out of a lot of things…

… But not dance lessons. Not anymore.

You could’ve.

Permanently Delete These 6 Salsa Lesson Misconceptions!!



What if the only thing holding you back was a total lie?


Misconceptions are out there, and you may have been the victim of one, and there are plenty of them when it comes to salsa lessons.  The cure for a misconception is to bring the truth out into the open, to light up the dark room, and to eliminate the doubt, fear, and urban legends that sprout when we don’t do anything about it.

Read This Article + Delete the Misconceptions = Start Your Salsa Lessons ASAP

Permanently Delete These 6 Salsa Lesson Misconceptions

1. “You need to be born with Rhythm”

Really, the only Rhythm you’re born with is a heartbeat, and coincidentally, that’s all you need to learn how to dance anything. Yes, including Salsa.


2. “You’ll never make it in Salsa dancing if you don’t speak Spanish”

If this were the case, then Arthur Murray Dance Studios all across Earth would have exactly zero students from any Spanish speaking countries taking salsa lessons.  Thankfully for the Spanish speaking Arthur Murray schools and students across the world – that’s far from true.

3. “If you watch other people around you, it’ll be pretty easy to pick up some salsa dance moves.”

While that strategy may have sort-of worked at a nightclub with basic “A Night At The Roxbury” moves, it will not work with any type of partner dancing.  Additionally, it doesn’t work with golf, singing, basketball, or Mixed Martial Arts either.

4. “Salsa Dancing is hard to learn”

Anything can be hard to learn depending on the environment, the teacher, and the methods used. Salsa, when following the Arthur Murray Fun, Quick, and Easy method of teaching, is within anyone’s reach.


5. “You need more moves to Learn How To Dance Salsa”

You can learn salsa dance moves, or you can learn how to dance salsa.  Just like singing, you can know the words to every song in the Adele playlist, but that doesn’t mean that you can instantly sing like her. Learning salsa moves is important, but only when you pair it with learning how to dance them.

6. “You should Focus All Your Time on Salsa To Become A Better Salsa Dancer”

Think of this like the gym.  You may be familiar with a machine or two, and have plans to develop a specific muscle group.  It’s a great personal trainer that shows you how to get in better shape more efficiently using a variety of workouts.  Becoming a great salsa dancer is much easier when you understand the dances that support the salsa.  It will improve your leading, following, balance, rhythm, and keep you on the dance floor at a salsa club longer.



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9 Joy Killing Behaviors That Can Doom A Dance Partnership




How far are you willing to go to be right?

Learning to dance as a couple can be one of the most rewarding activities you do with the special person in your life. Working as a unit, moving in harmony, and doing something just plain sexy together has many advantages over the average couple offerings – TV coma anyone?

But In a world where the ends justifies the means, what if the means bring your hobby to an end? 

9 Joy Killing Behaviors That Can Doom A Dance Partnership

1. Dance Experience Leverage

Sounds like:  “You should listen to me because I took a dance class in college.”

Potential Damage: Being reminded of someone’s dance experience doesn’t make it any easier to dance with that person.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite. 

Solution:  Let your teacher do the teaching. Having some dance experience can be helpful to your own journey, but it could hinder your partner’s. 

2. Skipping Appointments

Sounds like: “We are so busy. We’ll see you the same time next week.”

Potential Damage: In many cases, this is the original problem that evolved into others listed in this article. 

Solution:  We know you’re busy. If you’ve got kids, we recommend checking out the Dance Lesson Escape Plan For Busy Parents.  If you work too much, we recommend 6 Things Dancers Do To Anger Corporate America. The staff at your local Arthur Murray Dance Studio are wonderful at setting a strategy for your lessons that will fit your life. 

3. Comparing Yourself To Your Partner

Sounds like: “Well, I’ll never be as good as her.” Or “He’s the dancer in the family.”

Potential Damage: If you believe this one, it could be devastating to your dance hobby.  This is one of the greatest dance myths out there, next to “two left feet” and “born with no rhythm”.  

Read More About Dance Myths, and why we use them

Solution:  Unless your partner is planning on dancing your part, you have nothing to worry about.  Leaders send the signals, followers read and respond to them. Two different sides, two different skills, two different job descriptions. 

4. Not So Silent Judgement

Sounds like: (at the studio) “I can’t believe you forgot that turn!”

Potential Damage: Verbal criticism adds pressure to the task that your dance partner was struggling with. So, in effect, it guarantees that it won’t get better immediately. 

Solution:  On the plus side, voicing concerns on your lesson gives your teacher a chance to fix them. We recommend that you utilize heaping amounts of Personal Accountability and Benefit of the Doubt – to keep things productive and civil.  

We recommend these 3 Business Books Every Ballroom Dancer Must Read as a great place to start. 

5. Silent Judgement

Sounds like: “No I’m fine, really” (later at home) “I can’t believe you forgot that turn.”

Potential Damage:  Silent criticism is the ninja assassin of dance enjoyment. As a couple, your dance partner comes home with you.  Negative dance critiques at home, breeds negative feelings towards the activity as a whole.  

Solution: Communication with supervision. Your teacher is a dance arbitrator.  It’s much easier to handle your case when they’ve heard it. 

6. Eject From The Dance Floor

Sounds like: “[Expletive deleted], I’m done… taking a break.”

Potential Damage:  Sometimes a dance hiccup can feel like a total meltdown.  Stopping in the middle of the dance floor to “converse” about how things should have gone rarely has a positive result.  

Solution:  Dancing less is never the solution to a dance problem. When in doubt, dance another basic pattern.  If that’s giving you trouble, flag down your teacher and they can help you out of the jam.  

7.  Unfair Comparisons

Sounds like: “We’re never going to look like that dance couple over there.”

Potential Damage: Unfair comparisons remove the lightbulbs of optimism. There’s something semi-permanent that happens when you make negative statements. 

Solution: In the article The 5 Dysfunctional Comparisons of a Dance Student, we made the point that it’s okay to be “inspired” by specific things about someone else’s dancing, but you should avoid overall direct comparisons. 

8. Little Fixes

Sounds like: “Put your hand here.” “Keep your elbows up.” etc.

Potential Damage: For new dancers, available brain real estate for dance related stuff is pretty scarce. Additional items on the to-do list only adds to the search.

Solution: Your teacher isn’t saying anything about the frame, or the eyes, or any other fix – and it’s not because they don’t notice it, but because it’s not critical to the current mission.  Follow your teacher’s lead.  If it’s really causing trouble, your teacher will take care of it.  If it’s really just bugging you, use a disclaimer and keep the focus on your part.

9. Practicing At Home

Sounds like: “Move the couch. It’s time to talk about that grapevine.”

Potential Damage: There are environments that are built for instruction, and then there’s your living room.  It’s not to say that you will kill each other if you practice at home, but the environment could make you vulnerable to some of the behaviors listed in this article.

Solution: Give yourself a time limit, and be willing to walk away if things get tricky.  Your teachers are always the best resource for instruction, so clue them in on what you’ve attempted at home.  Better yet, keep your lessons closer together, skip the living room, and go to a nice dinner or your company’s next office party.  We recommend checking out, “Win The Holiday Office Party Season With Ballroom Dance Lessons”.

Final Thought

It’s easy to forget this, but you’re in elite company.

There are countless Arthur Murray students who come in for dance lessons, but without their other half. These are people who have turned ballroom dancing into a hobby, but it’s with an asterisk. Why?  It was all done without the one partner they wanted most. So consider yourself lucky.  Sure, it can be challenging at times, test your patience, and reveal quirks you didn’t know existed, but don’t all of those things also strengthen your bond?

So enjoy the process. If there is one thing you should know it is this:

You don’t need to have perfect dancing to have the perfect dance partner.


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Win The Holiday Party Season With Ballroom Dance Lessons


You’ve got to start planning now. 

We’re not talking about the next black friday sale, or creative excuses to have as many four day weekends before the end of the year.  We’re talking business, serious business.  Professional business.  

Holiday Parties.  

With dance lessons your reputation can dramatically change for the better, but a couple of bad moves and you’re out of the game. 

Win The Holiday Party Season With Ballroom Dance Lessons

office-party-like-a-pro1Office Party Like A Pro

The Scene:  Live band, Black Tie, Spiked Egg Nog

The Players: Your Boss, His Boss, and Her Boss and family.. oh yeah, and co-workers

The Likely Danger:  Alcohol Induced obscenities directed to boss and his spouse, photocopies of rear end, or any attempt at breakdancing. 

The Ballroom Dancer’s Approach: 

  1. Skip the Egg Nog
  2. Dance social Foxtrot with select members of your co-workers. Play it really cool/low-key
  3. Use Swing midway through to liven things up.
  4. Recruit co-workers to the dance floor.
  5. Start a Conga line that includes at least one C-Level executive
  6. Transition into a Latin dance with Boss.
  7. Secure another dance in the future.
  8. Lightly pitch your new Product Launch idea over spiked Egg Nog.
  9. Accept the invitation of company limousine ride home.


house-party-like-a-pro1House Party Like A Pro

The Scene:  Bluetooth speaker, Holiday music, Spiked Egg Nog

The Players: Your family, including your aunt’s boyfriend/dispensable crew member that changes semi-annually

The Likely Danger:  Fall into a deep food coma slumber watching bad football while missing an opportunity to get the family dancing. 

The Ballroom Dancer’s Approach:

  1. Sync your preset ballroom playlist to the boombox via Bluetooth (smarty pants)
  2. Ask the person with the most life experience to dance first. Foxtrot is a great for large living rooms or back patios.  Rumba and Swing in the kitchen.
  3. Transition to contemporary music to recruit younger generation to dance as well.  Threaten with cancelled visits from Santa Claus if necessary.
  4. Thank each partner you dance with and secure future dances at the next Holiday gathering.
  5. Finish with Egg Nog, football, and a long winter’s nap.



After Party Like A Pro

The Scene:  Night Club, Live Band, Dress Casual, Mojitos

The Players: Close friends, co-workers, and a collection of party people

The Likely Danger:  Staying at home in food coma slumber, leaving the house just to stand in line to return holiday gifts in search of something else – only to find that you still aren’t satisfied. Drinking more spiked egg nog, passing out, repeating the entire process with shame and turkey gravy stained clothing until your boss calls to arrange a meeting with HR to discuss a racy Xerox photo shoot left on his desk after the office holiday party. 

The Ballroom Dancer’s Approach:

  1. Pick a local Bay Area Salsa club, Swing Club, Tango club, or all purpose Nightclub
  2. Pick a nice restaurant
  3. Invite someone special, or a group of friends, to join you for steps 1 & 2 after any of the aforementioned holiday parties.
  4. Bask in the glow of knowing that your dance lessons have saved you from the”Ghost of Bad Choices During the Holidays Past”.


Final Thought

Getting started with Arthur Murray may take a little courage, but what doesn’t kill you, and anything worth doing, blah, blah, blah.  Actually, for most non-dancing humans – you just need the right reason:


You’ve got an office party, you want to make an impression = Ballroom dance lessons are an unlikely investment in your career.

Stress Relief.

Sitting around and listening to family complain over the holidays can be stressful = Ballroom dance lessons gives you a skill that can get everyone moving.  When they’re moving they are happy and get tired faster.


We sometimes stay resigned to working late, or binge-watching depressing TV shows because that seems like our only option = Ballroom dance lessons gives you more social opportunities.

Now you’ve got an event (or three), you’ve got a great reason, and now you just need to take the next step and book a lesson!



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