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New-Jersey-Style

The State of New Jersey has the highest population density in the United States because it has a lot to offer. People who live in the Garden State are used to having the luxury of choice. Even so, the plethora of options can sometimes be overwhelming. Heck, the plethora of questions is overwhelming!  Where do you go for lunch? Where do you buy your next car? Which beach do you go to? Which team do you root for? Which route do you take to get home? Which town has the best school system? Which store has the best clothing? Which tutoring business will prepare my kids for the SATs? Where should I buy my next pet (a shelter!). And of course, this blog post’s big question: Where can I go to learn ballroom dancing? When you don’t know the answer to a question, you ask a friend. When a friend doesn’t know, you ask a professional.

Well, here I am! So let’s discuss dance lessons, New Jersey style! I will provide three guidelines which, if followed, will help you find the dance studio that’s right for you.

Choosing the Right Ballroom Dance Studio

The ballroom studios New Jersey has to offer come in many shapes and sizes. You’ll find some with huge polished wooden floors and trophy laden walls just as you’ll find little studios tucked away on the second floors above laundromats and convenience stores. Where a studio is doesn’t define it, but what it looks like inside is a different story! You’re not wrong to think that your first impression of a studio tells you a lot about the sort of service you’ll receive from it. With this in mind, our first guideline is:  

1. Do Judge a Book by its Cover

This guideline is simple. When it comes to New Jersey dance studios presentation is important.
Tell me honestly, do you let guests into your house if it’s a wreck? What does it say about you if you can’t keep your own home clean? A lot, as you know! 
A home is a reflection of who you are, and a dance studio is your instructor’s home away from home. When you come back to a clean home after a long day, it’s like walking into a giant reminder that no matter how crazy the world is out there, you have a place where you’re safe and secure and loved. If a dance studio doesn’t feel the same way, you might want to think twice about learning in it.
Is the place dirty? Disorganized? Are the bathrooms disgusting? Are the floors polished? Is there dust everywhere? Look out for these warning signs, because they tell you a great deal about how the staff regards their workplace and their work. How highly do you think a studio’s employees regard their students if they allow them to learn in an environment which doesn’t reflect the very poise and professionalism they themselves claim to possess?
When it comes to NJ dance studios, judge a book by its cover or you might find that when you open it to learn, the pages are rotten. 

2. Get the Royal Treatment

Ballroom dancing is, for most, a hobby. A hobby is a stimulating activity done in one’s leisure time for pleasure. It’s important to define that, because if you forget that dancing is a hobby you might also forget that you are coming to your dance studio to be educated and entertained. If you walk into a studio and find it to be well taken care of, the next think you’ll want to look for is whether you are well taken care of.
What do I mean by this?
Any studio can show you a few steps and claim they’ve taught you, but that’s not all there is to it. You’re unique, you learn in a unique way and have unique needs. A ballroom dance instructor who gives you the royal treatment starts by making you feel welcome (be it with a handshake, kiss on the cheek, hug, or even just a warm smile) and finishes by taking the time to learn about you before they ever bring you to the dance floor. At Arthur Murray, we refuse to start dancing before we’ve gotten to know a bit about who you are and why you chose dancing as your next hobby. We love to learn about people because understanding a student’s motivation helps us to keep them on track. An instructor who doesn’t know you can’t lead you to success, because she doesn’t know what success means in your unique case. 
And that’s just half of it! Don’t forget that ballroom dancing is a physical experience too! Do you want to be held and moved around by someone who hasn’t taken the time to make you feel comfortable and wanted?
The instructors you meet are going to be your dancing partners. You’re going to be getting closer to them, both physically and emotionally, than you get to most people you work with, even closer than you get with some of your own family! You can’t imagine how important it is that the people who serve you in your dance studio treat you with warm, inviting professionalism.
Don’t be afraid to expect it in your NJ dance studio. If you don’t receive it, find a place where you do.

3. Find the Instructor Who Challenges You

Dancing is an intensely personal experience. This is absolutely, unequivocally true. When you dance, you put yourself out there, on the line, in the spotlight. If that scares you, then I’d like you to come in to my dance studio today, because that ember of fear in your heart is really a diamond in the rough, one which a great teacher can refine into a glimmering self-confidence you never thought you could have.
When most people say “I’m afraid to dance”, what they mean is “I’m not sure I have it in me to be good at something”. You do. Say it to yourself and believe it. I am a professional and I am telling you that you are capable of dancing well, that you can achieve the self confidence that dancing well can bring, and that you deserve it.
But to have this absolutely life changing experience, you need a teacher who can see you through it. A teacher who can show you steps is not enough. At Arthur Murray of New Jersey we don’t just train to teach you steps, we practice actually helping people improve their lives through ballroom dancing. Because ballroom dancing can be so personal, it affords us the amazing opportunity to make people feel good about themselves. We do this in four steps:
  1. We challenge our students to reach a new level.
  2. We provide them with the tools they need to meet the challenge.
  3. We work tirelessly to help them reach their goal.
  4. We celebrate their victory!
As I look at what I’ve written, I realize it seems so simple on paper. You’d be shocked to realize how few dance schools provide the training necessary to create teachers who change lives. When you look for your next ballroom dance studio, I sincerely hope you find one which satisfies all three of the above guidelines.
If not, come visit ours!

In the comments below, tell me what you think are some other important things to look for when looking for a NJ dance studio!

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is the New Student Director at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Morristown NJ. He's been told his voice "really carries" and that he wears fun socks sometimes. He believes in his work and hopes his efforts can help people who are hesitant about dancing to take that important first step!