Where do I go from here?

Where do I go from here?

I’ve been teaching students for over 25 years and I've found that every student always needs to have a goal. Without them, things go stale and enthusiasm and progress tend to dwindle. Why? Because we all need to be challenged, it keeps life interesting and keeps us interested in what we’re doing. Dancing is an art form, there really is no end to the learning experience… Da Vinci never stopped striving for perfection.  

It never ceases to amaze me how much more I can learn about dancing. Just as I think I’ve got a handle on some particular aspect, someone comes along and shares information with me that totally blows my mind and sets a spark alight that gives me the drive for continual personal development, both as a teacher and a dancer. Students need this as well.  

Here are some tips that will ensure you maintain that motivation and excitement about your dance progress.

1. Always set new goals
Short-term goals can be preparing for something special for that next match competition or adding new dances to your program. Medium-term goals could be preparing for your next exam, performing a solo or participating in a Showcase. Long-term goals could involve attending a national or international DOR, or preparing for a final exam. 

2. Exchange lessons!
Your teacher is there for you, to teach you and guide you towards your goals, but that doesn’t mean they know everything you might need. Exchange lessons can help give you a different perspective on certain techniques or concepts. Try some styling lessons, or enrol in a small number of lessons with another instructor on a dance you don’t currently learn.

3. Coaching sessions and dance camps
Through your Area Chairperson, your studios have the means of providing you with some of the best professionals in our organisation, if not, the best in the dance industry. These coaches and travelling consultants can really boost your learning through one-on-one coaching sessions, designed to give you and your teacher things to work on for months to come. Dance camps are another way of getting that specialised instruction in a group situation, all the while having your teacher there as your partner. 

And most importantly...

Remember that learning never stops in any area of life and dancing is no different. So always push yourself, ask questions, take risks, step out of your comfort zone and you will reap the benefits on the dance floor!

SHOWCASE vs. DOR is there a difference?

SHOWCASE vs. DOR is there a difference?

Showcase gives you the experience of a DOR and allows you to prepare for a DOR, all without the need to compete and all for a fraction of the cost.

A showcase is a 1 day event, held either locally by one studio, or combined with more studios in the same district. It is a less formal event, usually held at a function centre, which allows costs to be kept to a minimum. It’s non-competitive and every student receives individual critique from the judges, all designed to prepare them for the competitive nature of DOR.

DOR is designed to be a 2 to 3 day event at a luxurious hotel, with multiple categories, renowned judges, floor shows and always involves studios from around Australia and even from around the world. It is designed to be the ultimate experience for every dancer, to take their dancing to the furthest level and partake in an experience that will last a lifetime.

The Area Chairperson and not the studio is responsible for running and organising DORs. The Area Chairperson is the middleman between the franchisees and head office in the US. They run training classes, promotions and dance camps for the growth and advancement of the Arthur Murray staff. Currently, there are 12 Area Chairpersons in the world, each with the responsibility of looking after a particular area.

But wait, there’s more!

Beyond the National DOR, Arthur Murray regularly holds World DORs and Superamas in various locations overseas. These can run for up to five days, and are a once in a lifetime unforgettable experience for those that want to take their dancing to the furthest level

What are the different levels of dancing at Arthur Murray?

What are the different levels of dancing at Arthur Murray?

With over 260 studios worldwide, Arthur Murray hasn't become the world leaders in dance instruction by mistake. It's the method of instruction that sets us apart from others.

Our dance programs are the key to this success. They have been designed over a number of years by the world’s top dancers and dance board members. Every program has been divided into different standards on a step-by-step basis, allowing for differing levels of perfection along your dancing journey.

Bronze is the first of these programs and is designed to make students “dancers” as opposed to people who can dance. This can be compared to a high school level of education. 

Associate bronze is the mid-way point. Here you will learn all the basics, such as footwork, dance positions, styling and poise. The Bronze 1 level gives you the opportunity to experience exams for the first time and to feel a sense of achievement.

By the time you move through Bronze 2, 3 and 4, there really is no need to say you have to “learn to dance”, meaning you have now achieved the highest level of social dancing. You know everything there is available to learn at a social level; motion, floor craft, technique, style, confidence, and probably have more patterns in your brain than you can remember!

But is enough really ever enough? 

Silver is the standard for those that wish to take their dancing to a University level. Meaning, you don’t need to “learn to dance” but are seeking that extra knowledge and level of perfection usually reserved for the large dance floor.

Those students that can’t dream of not dancing, or having their weekly lessons continue on to Silver more as a hobby rather than learning how to dance.

The finer points of showmanship and performance, advance materials and styling give those students the qualities that start to rival those on the pro-circuit. I know from personal experience, that guests at DOR can have a hard time figuring out who is the teacher and who is the student, when watching these couples on the floor. 

Gold is pure hobbyist. Reserved mainly for those that have made dancing a permanent part of their lives, enjoying their one-on-one time with their instructors, and becoming the best they can be at what they love to do best. Let’s face it, there’s not a lot of people to socially dance Gold material with, so when you see this standard, it’s one of fusion and complete unity as these couples move effortlessly as one on the dance floor. 

However far you wish to take your dancing, however many steps, patterns or techniques you're looking to learn, there's a program for you, and we're always here to challenge you, push you and guide you along every step of the way.

What do the dance categories really mean?

What do the dance categories really mean?

There are 3 main terms to explain so you understand what you’re entering into at DOR, “standard”, “category”, and “age group”. 

Standard is the level you're currently working on in your lessons, that is, the standard you have attained in your Bronze, Silver or Gold Programs. If you're new, you’ll probably be on Bronze 1 or 2, so your standard is Associate Bronze. This will be the standard you will enter into at DOR and be judged along with the rest of the Bronze 1 and 2 students.

Category is a classification given to the way you can compete, the materials you can use, and how you’re judged. Closed, Open, Scholarship and All Around are all various categories you can enter in your respective standard. 

Age group is purely a way to finally make things a little fairer, and place people together that are around the same age, keeping the playing field even.  

Newcomer
This is a category only new students can enter, thereby giving them a bit of an advantage for their first competition. You must have been learning for less than 12 months, had less than 50 lessons and be on Bronze 1 to enter this category. 

Closed
This is the all-round category for everyone to participate in. It’s exactly that, closed, meaning you compete using the materials you learn on your every day lessons and in groups. If you can dance at a party, you can do the closed category. Freestyle is just dancing using patterns you're confident in and can lead and follow with ease. 

Open
This category can be as simple or as involved as you would like. A lot of students enter open and just repeat what they did in closed, just as an excuse to get on the floor and dance again. But, this category gives you the opportunity to break away from the norm, and delve into materials that you would not normally learn at your current level.

Scholarship
This is reserved for students at the Silver and above level. This is where you get to see students freestyling at the highest possible standard, usually involving intricately choreographed routines, to make the dances special and more of a performance than a competition. This is a pro/am event only, meaning that every couple is made up of a professional teacher and student.

Amateur 3 dance
This is a category reserved just for students, no teachers allowed! They can be couples that learn together, or just 2 students that decide to compete together. The 3 dances are the standard 3 ballroom and standard 3 rhythm dances. 

All Around
All for one, and one for all! Everyone gets to dance together, and have a great time doing it. To put a twist on it, couples dance 2 of the smooth and 2 of the rhythm dances, BUT, you won’t know which 2 they are until you’re on the floor as the judges draw them from a hat! 

How do you choose your first routine?

How do you choose your first routine?

1. Choose a dance that means something to you
Choose a dance that gives you that “bubbly” feeling inside every time you dance it. 

2. Choose a dance that you feel comfortable dancing
Your first routine should be the dance you feel you dance the best. You'll have nerves on the day of the performance, and having a dance that you're confident in, makes it all the more easier to have fun and enjoy yourself. 

3. Allow your teacher to guide you
You may have a dance in mind, or a particular song, but your teacher knows what you can handle and what music will best suit that performance. Definitely have music choices available, but be open to compromise and remember your teacher has to choreograph steps to that music, so not everything will be suitable.

So you’re ready to start your routine...

Once you’re ready to begin, there are a couple of points to remember. 

1. Be prepared for more time in the studio
A solo is not a part of your curriculum, but merely an extension of it. It involves additional lessons to be had alongside your regular lessons. 3 to 4 months is a good time-frame for a confident and enjoyable solo performance. Don’t cram it all in at the end!!

2. Practice, practice, practice!! 
Let’s face it, you’re going to be learning advance movements, patterns and techniques, which may take you out of your comfort zone. Practice is the key here. Ask your teacher what you can do in-between lessons to make this process easier, and make you confident in what you’re doing. Styling lessons with same sex teachers is an invaluable way of learning those finer styling points to add the finishing touches.

And finally...

Remember that a solo is not just the minute and a half on the day of the competition; it’s from the very first lesson to the last and everything in-between. Have fun, smile, challenge yourself, push yourself and remember to laugh if it gets a bit too overwhelming at times!