Arthur Murray Live Author, Rita Forman
Sometimes a step can turn into a leap.
For Rita Forman, a recent addition to the Arthur Murray Live Author team, she's a classic example. She took one artistic hobby-turned-profession and turned that into her current hobby-turned-profession with Arthur Murray Dance Studios.
Her story not only reveals a lot about her, but can resonate with anyone that has ever taken a bold leap into a new endeavor.
What is the AMLA? The Arthur Murray Live Authors ("AMLA") is a collection of writers with a first hand connection to Arthur Murray. Ultimately, their unique perspective, voice, and location will help to add more content and context to this website.
AML: How did you first get started with Arthur Murray?
RF: I'm so happy to be a part of this! I started with Arthur Murray by answering a job post on Craigslist. I had just moved to the Pacific Northwest and was looking for a temporary job while I figured out what I wanted to do.
AML: What were you doing, work wise, before you started with the company?
RF: I was a professional horse trainer! I trained and showed dressage horses for 11 years in Hawaii and California. I started going out salsa dancing at a place that was only about five minutes from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Thousand Oaks, California.
AML: So then what clicked in your head that made you say, "I think I'll respond to this Craigslist ad for dance teachers"?
RF: I've always enjoyed being a teacher, and the idea of being able to teach, as well as be connected to music, was very appealing. I figured, at the very least, I would get to learn how to be a better salsa dancer. Unlike where I was in California, there weren't any Salsa venues that catered to the under 21 crowd in Portland, so I was excited to be able to continue dancing.
AML: If someone had told you, on the day you graduated high school, that you'd have a career as a ballroom dance instructor, what would your reaction have been like?
RF: Honestly, I would have thought they were crazy. I was already five years into my dressage riding career at that point, so I thought I had my life all figured out. But surprise, surprise, here I am!
AML: Wow Dressage! Isn't that where horses learn how to, essentially, dance?
RF: Dressage is a lot like dancing with horses.
It is actually the oldest style of riding, originally started as military training exercises designed to keep soldiers on horseback safe in battle. It is often considered the highest form of partnership and discipline for horse and rider. One of my favorite parts of Dressage competition was the musical freestyle portion where you would choreograph a routine set to music - almost exactly like choreographing a ballroom dance solo routine!
AML: So what made you change course away from the horse training world?
RF: My original plan was to continue my Dressage training and education in the Pacific Northwest and work for AM part time while I reestablished my client base and training reputation. The thing is, when I moved here, it was February, and none of the training stables had heaters. Eventually, I found that I wanted to establish myself more in the dance studio, and even though Dressage was such an important part of my life for so long, I don't regret pursuing my career for a second. One of my dreams is to get back in the show ring for fun rather than as a job.
AML: Well, the dance world thanks you for making that decision, and we want to thank you for being a part of the Arthur Murray Live Authors group. What kind of articles are you most interested in writing?
RF: I'm really excited to write about issues and questions that a lot of our current dancers have. I would love for all of our students to be dancing for the rest of their lives, and I love helping them discover their "next best self" on the dance floor.
AML: Every writer has a sort of style, or personality, to the way they express themselves - how would you describe yours?
RF: I like to write like I am having a conversation. I'm very candid and honest, and I like to mix that with humor to make people laugh.
AML: If there was an article that completely fixed a problem for your current, or potential, students - what would the headline be?
RF: "Couples Only: 5 Ways Your Teacher Can Help You Build a Perfect Partnership"
AML: If you can, can you elaborate on what being in this group means to you and how that might impact the readers?
RF: I'm so excited to leave a bigger Arthur Murray footprint! I think new voices and ideas are the best way to grow desire, and I'm looking forward to writing material that could alleviate potential dance concerns for our students.
It is often said that fear and courage are the same feeling, but that it's just a single action that separates the two. Both people will feel the same way leading up to that choice, but it is the courageous individual that makes the choice to hurdle the barrier and can feel the emotional and physical payoff for doing so.
Rita took that leap.
While her leap was into a career of teaching people to dance, the hurdle is no different in size or scope than your decision to take your first step into your new dance hobby.
Which is why we are thrilled to have her as a regular contributor to Arthur Murray Live.
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