Arthur Murray Franchised Dance Centers is proud to be the largest dance organization in the world, boasting over 260 dance studios worldwide, and continuing a tradition of teaching the world to dance for more than 100 years.
The history of Arthur Murray Dance Centers began in 1912 with a man named Arthur Murray, an American symbol of entrepreneurial success and social dancing. Born Moses Teichman in 1895, Arthur Murray developed a business model that was the second franchise in United States history. Famous for his direct mail "footprints," Mr. Murray's concept of selling dance lessons by mail one step at a time took the use of direct mail to a new level. Throughout his teaching years, Mr. Murray taught many important names, such as, Eleanor Roosevelt, the Duke of Windsor, John D. Rockefeller Jr., Elizabeth Arden, & Johnny Mercer.
Mr. Murray's creative use of print advertising attracted national attention as did his business acumen. In March 1920 using students from Georgia Tech, Mr. 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 for dancing. Prior to World War II, Arthur Murray teachers were a regular part of every first-class steamship cruise.
During the 1930s, studios introduced such dances to the public as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. In fact, it was The Big Apple that launched Mr. Murray's single studio into the largest chain of dance studios in the world today! In 1938, the first official franchised dance school opened in Minneapolis, MN. 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, and by 1946 there were 72 Arthur Murray Dance Centers across America.
"Put a little fun in your life. Try Dancing!"
Mr. Murray was the first to realize the growing popularity of the Latin dances in America during the 1950's. Many conventions were held in Cuba during that time to give Arthur Murray trainers & teachers first-hand knowledge of the hot new Latin styles and moves that were becoming popular. In July 1950, Mr. Murray purchased five fifteen-minute television spots on CBS and persuaded his wife, Kathryn, to do the teaching. Before the third show, Mr. Murray bought a half-hour summer series on ABC. The show was called the Arthur Murray Dance Party. By May 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 Arthur Murray Dance Centers throughout the country. This highly popular show ran for twelve years on national television.
When Arthur and Kathryn Murray retired in 1964, a group of franchisees purchased the company and brought a fresh new spirit and leadership to it. Under this new leadership, the Arthur Murray Franchised Dance Centers has kept pace with the rapidly changing "youth culture" and continues to flourish today as the world's largest dance instruction organization. Arthur Murray dance teachers can be found not only in the studios, but on the movie sets of Hollywood, backstage on Broadway, and partnering with major entertainers to promote the music to which the world dances. Whenever a movie involves dance, it's a good bet that Arthur Murray International, Inc has been involved in some way, shape, or form. Such movies as Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing II, Dance With Me, Beautician And The Beast, Flashdance, An American President, True Lies, Saturday Night Fever, The Dilemma, and Scent Of A Woman are some of the films which have used Arthur Murray instructors to either teach a dance to the stars and/or dance in the film.
The Arthur Murray Franchised Dance Center's name appears regularly in major national magazines that include Vogue, Martha Stewart Wedding, Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated, Woman's Day, and wherever advertisers want to reach consumers with a message of romance, intimacy, or just plain fun! Such examples are Gap's now famous Khaki Swing commercials to dancing M&M's and gas pumps. Arthur Murray International, Inc's commitment to dance goes even further, with senior management heavily involved in the world of professional and amateur competitive dance, known as DanceSport. Many of Arthur Murray's officials have contributed to bringing competitive ballroom to the forefront as an Olympic Sport.
All Arthur Murray Franchised Dance Studios are independently owned and operated by individuals who started as dance instructors and worked their way up to an executive level. By the time they are qualified to purchase a franchise, they have experienced every phase of studio operations, from teaching and supervising, to marketing and managing, to training and competing. Building from within has kept the studio system strong, with franchisees that are committed to the Spirit of Excellence, which is the hallmark of the entire Arthur Murray system.