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Arthur Murray: The Man, the Myth, the Legend

In the world of ballroom dancing, there are few names that strike a clearer bell than Arthur Murray. While you may be familiar with the name, you may not know about the man who inspired our dance industry. Here are some fun facts about Arthur Murray, dance instructor extraordinaire.

  • Arthur Murray started his first studio back in 1912, and would entice customers via the mail. He would advertise the many different ballroom dance styles such as waltz, tango, foxtrot and rumba via mail advertisements, in hopes they would inspire everyday couples to come and learn how to dance. Even though Murray was known internationally as a ballroom dance superstar, he wanted to bring ballroom to the lives of everyday people.
  • His innovative marketing approach gained national attention, and he used this to his advantage. In 1920, he used his fans at Georgia Tech to create the first live radio broadcast of live dance music for social dancing.
  • Murray was the creative spirit behind both the Big Apple and the Lambeth Walk, which were nationwide crazes in the 1920s.
  • Some of Murray’s famous ballroom dancing students included Eleanor Roosevelt, the Duke of Windsor and John D. Rockefeller.
  • Murray is partly responsible for the rise in popularity of Latin music during the Cold War. Before the Cuban Missile Crisis, Murray traveled down to Cuba multiple times to get first-hand training on the Salsa, Cha-Cha and the Hustle. This was innovative at the time, as the majority of social dancing was composed of foxtrots and waltzes.
  • Murray was a devoted family man who was married to his wife Kathryn for 65 years and had two daughters. One of his daughters went on to marry Dr. Henry Heimlich, who is known for developing the lifesaving Heimlich maneuver.

With the help of Arthur Murray making the different ballroom dance styles famous, it is no wonder why USA Dance Inc. has reported a 35 percent spike in the number of people taking ballroom lessons within the past 10 years. As you can see, there is not just dance steps to learn — there is an entire dance culture to be immersed in!

Looking to learn more? Take your first steps at Arthur Murray. Contact us today to schedule your free, no obligation dance lesson. Give it a try and discover the joy of dancing!

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