Arthur Murray Events: Everything You Need to Know
Maybe it was your teacher, a fellow student, or some mysterious and alluring poster on the wall in your local Arthur Murray Dance Studio.
Yes, you came for the dance lessons... but, if your Arthur Murray dance program builds your skills, then Arthur Murray events are what quickly build your confidence to use them.
Whether you're interested in social dancing, competitive dancing, latin or ballroom, kids or adult - there's an Arthur Murray event that's right for you.
Oh, and it's okay if it's all of them.
The Medal Ball
Synonyms: Heavy Medal Ball, Medalist Ball, Arthur Murray Graduation
The Medal Ball is an event that finalizes the graduation of dance students from one level of their Arthur Murray dance program to another, and it's also a celebration of that transition.
Graduating from one level to another at the Medal Ball has three main components:
1. An in-studio checkout.
This is done after the instructor, student, and studio executive have met certain dance requirements in advance. Instructors will not invite their students to graduate unless they believe they will receive a passing grade.
2. A freestyle checkout by a visiting Arthur Murray Consultant.
A freestyle is just the practical application of your dance material. No different than dancing at a party, the visiting consultant will watch the student's dancing with a variety of teachers and write notes on areas of improvement, ideas for the next level, and note strengths and signs of improvement.
It would be a shame if a visiting Arthur Murray dignitary watched you dance, took notes on how you looked, and then never shared them with you or your teacher. So, to give your dancing a boost, and provide some expert context, a 15-20 minute appointment is scheduled for feedback.
Bonus: There's a big party
The Medal Ball, even for non-graduates, is a deluxe dance party. With themes like "The Heavy Medal Ball" and everything from Willy Wonka to Dirty Dancing, this dance graduation party is a wonderful way to practice your social dancing and add a fun-filled event to your social calendar.
Relevant terms: Freestyle checkout, In-Studio checkout, Arthur Murray consultant, dance program
Suggested read: What is the Arthur Murray Medal Ball?
The District Showcase
If you're looking for a way to fast-track your dance confidence in a weekend, look no further than the District Showcase.
This two day event features Freestyles, both closed and open, in nearly every dance that is taught at Arthur Murray Dance Studios.
What is a Freestyle?
A freestyle, similar to a Medal Ball freestyle, is a group of people from the same dance level, dancing to the same music, all at the same time. As opposed to a solo routine where there is only one dance pair on the floor.
What is a Closed Freestyle?
A Closed freestyle is a category of freestyle where the dancers must dance material restricted to the level of their dance program. Ex. A Bronze 2 dancer could not dance Silver level Foxtrot in a closed freestyle.
What is an Open Freestyle?
An open freestyle gives the participant the opportunity to dance a freestyle without restrictions. This opens the door to choreographed routines and higher level material. In addition, many students and teachers will utilize the open freestyles as an additional avenue for repetition in a showcase environment for the selected dances.
In addition to Freestyles, the District Showcase also features additional dance activities and entertainment such as:
The District Showcase features some great entertainment from the professionals in attendance. There is a full scale, themed, dance production featuring 80-100 dancers from the participating studios. Featuring exciting music and spectacular choreography, these shows have featured music from everything from La La Land to James Bond.
The grand finale of Saturday Night's festivities is the featured floorshow. The performers are Champion Level dancers demonstrating their best 5 dances to the delight, and loss of sleep, to all in attendance.
Amateur 3 Dance
The Amateur division is where both the leader and follower are students. Without a teacher's physical presence on the dance floor, this division is a great challenge for dance couples or single students paired together.
The Amateur 3 Dance is a three dance competition, Waltz, Tango, and Foxtrot in the Smooth, Cha-Cha, Rumba, and Swing in the Rhythm - with all participants, you guessed it, amateurs.
The event is judged in the same format as a professional dance competition, complete with an award, flowers, and the announcement of the placements.
Professional Jack and Jill
Sunday afternoon at the District Showcase features a professional event for the entertainment of those in attendance. It features professional pairings, selected at random, to parter for a designated dance using only leading, following, and their own dance skill to gain a favorable mark from the judging panel.
This event, with preliminary rounds done throughout the day, is a spectacular demonstration of the talented professionals from Arthur Murray and their social, and competitive, dance skill.
Rather than receiving placements as your sole form of feedback, the District Showcase doesn't end the moment the last freestyle is danced. In fact, the week following the District Showcase is where students and teachers can make the biggest leaps in their strategy and development.
A one on one consultation with a member of the judging panel gives the student a chance to receive more context on areas of improvement and for the consultant to help the student and teacher spot trends in progress and in need of development.
The District Showcase Format
The basic schedule of a District Showcase is as follows:
- Saturday morning & afternoon - Closed Freestyles
- Saturday Evening - Formal Dinner, Professional Show, and Social Dancing
- Sunday Morning & Afternoon - Open Freestyles and Specialty Events
Relevant terms: Freestyle, Closed Freestyle, Open Freestyle, Jack and Jill, Professional Floorshow
Suggested read: 10 Things You Need to Know About the District Showcase
The premiere dance event for Arthur Murray students is an Arthur Murray Dance-O-Rama.
This 4-6 day event is a total immersion dance event combined with a vacation. So let's just call it a "dance vacation".
The Dance-O-Rama Format
Every DOR is held in different locations around the world but all have the same general format. Keep in mind that these are general terms, days, times, and activities are subject to change, and this should not be confused with the official outline for any particular DOR.
5 Day DOR sample format:
- Day 1: Arrival, Local Activities/Tour, Evening entertainment/social dancing, *Dance Event
- Day 2: Closed Category Freestyles, All Around Competition, Amateur 3 Dance, Dinner
- Day 3: Open Category Freestyles, Scholarship, Dinner
- Day 4: Solo Routines, Professional Competitions, Dinner
- Day 5: Farewell Breakfast
4 Day DOR sample format:
- Day 1: Arrival, Solo Routines
- Day 2: Closed Freestyles, All Around Competition, Amateur 3 Dance, Dinner
- Day 3: Open Freestyles, Scholarship, Professional Competitions, Dinner
- Day 4: Farewell Breakfast
Key Benefits of a Dance-O-Rama
Total Immersion: From a dance development standpoint, a DOR is the equivalent of taking 50+ lessons in less than a week. Whether it's a conference at work, or traveling to a country to learn the language, the total immersion approach is a great way to fast track your development and your dance hobby is no exception.
Dance Confidence: It's normal to be nervous whenever you're doing anything in public, including your dance skills. But the remedy for those nerves is exposure. So, as opposed to a few minutes on the dance floor at a solo routine event, a DOR provides you with a format that systematically sheds your nervous energy. If that doesn't happen on the first day, you've always got a few more days for it to kick in.
Dance Deadline: Imagine what tax season would be like without an established deadline. There's something about having a finish line in front of you that keeps people motivated through the process of the race. The only difference with your dancing is that a dance deadline like a DOR is a fun finish line... take that, taxes.
Relevant terms: Dance-O-Rama, dance vacation, World-O-Rama, Superama, dancesport
Suggested Read: What Makes Unique DOR So Special?
Synonyms: In-House Showcase, Spotlight, Murray Show, Demo, Newsome Twosome
The Extravaganza is a solo routine event featuring carefully planned out choreography, music, and costumes. This event was once held in-studio and has since been transformed into a full-scale theatrical production.
The Benefits of the Extravaganza
At some point, a dance opportunity will present itself, and your teacher, and your future self, want to be equipped to accept that challenge. A big help along the way is an event where you will, quite literally, dance in the spotlight.
A Sense of Achievement
In the same way that actors may shed a tear at the conclusion of filming a movie, there is a definite sense of euphoria for students to complete and perform a routine. Not only does it help keep your routine in your memory for dance purposes, it's a feather in your cap for taking on something your non-dance self would have never thought possible.
Whether your dance routine is for practical purposes (ex. a Foxtrot you'll eventually use in segments at office parties and wedding receptions) or you love the thrill and escapism of a performance, you can be sure that you'll have both upon completion of an Extravaganza.
Here are some additional ways to participate in the Extravaganza outside of a traditional solo routine:
Trio & Foursome Routines
There is strength in numbers and plenty of production value. Whether it's a trio routine with your two teachers or a foursome with an amateur and professional couple - adding a few extra bodies can create a much more memorable performance.
A dance formation is a large group performance. So, rather than a routine featuring two people on the dance floor, it's a routine for 8-20 people instead. This is an excellent way to achieve the benefits of a routine but without any of the spotlight directly on you.
Whether it's to play a small part in the background or to steal the show at the end, many Extravaganza routines create wonderful opportunities for quick cameo appearances.
Relevant terms: Solo routine, formation, foursome, trio, cameo
Suggested read: 12 Steps to Master Your Next Dance Routine
It's easy to stick with what's familiar, like your dance lessons, and leave the events to "those fancy people."
But keep in mind, that there's a previous version of you who never would have imagined that ballroom dancing would be a skill you'd possess.
The fact that your dance lessons are an accepted part of your hobby activities says a lot about how far you've come. And if you can do that with dance lessons at Arthur Murray, wouldn't it be safe to assume that the events they put on won't be too far off from what you enjoy already?