Instructor, executive/manager, trainer (Former Employee) – Orange County, CA – March 27, 2018
I have worked in the ballroom dance industry for over 15 years and have worked at Arthur Murray studios as well as independent studios. I have been an instructor, executive/studio manager and have trained many other professionals.
Anyone considering a career as a ballroom dance instructor, especially those professionals with experience, should know this:
I started teaching at Arthur Murray and taught the first half of my career at a couple different AM schools. When I finally left AM, I went to work at an independent studio where the cost of lessons were half the price for lessons at AM and I made nearly twice the pay at the independent school. It is widely known that AM is a good place to start without any experience. As a studio manager, I held a daily meeting covering customer service, sales, upcoming events, etc. as well as a daily dance session for instructors. There are many opportunities for training events, like joins sessions between schools in the same area and regional weekend long training camps. All of this being said, it does not guarantee your instructor will have a great deal of knowledge and experience. It takes a long time and a lot of dedication to develop your dancing as well as your teaching ability. There is a high turnover rate among instructors which means your very likely to get a green instructor for your outrageously expensive tuition.
Sure. There are benefits: Dancing everyday Sharing the joy of dancing with others Exciting, fast paced social environment Opportunity for advancement Fun coworkers Fun events-parties, shows, competitionsmore...
All of the above benefits can be achieved at any well run independent studio. But with AM, your life becomes another spoke in their wheel and they will try to push your square peg self into a round hole. I have seen AM insist a teacher change her name to avoid confusion with the veteran teacher of the same name. I’ve seen studio owners exploit employees countless times.
One last thing, if you don’t like sales, you will not enjoy working at AM. The sales tactics are non stop. Many students complain the sales pressure is too much. Regardless of how many paid lessons a student has on the books (try $10,000 worth of lessons prepaid) the sales tactics never stop. Not to mention, not everyone can afford a $20,000 weekend away competing.
This is simply my honest opinion. These were deal breakers to me and encouraged me to seek out other studios. Many people love working for AM, and I did too initially. I was young and drank the AM koolaid. Ultimately, AM just didn’t align with my true north.less
Dance Instructor (Former Employee) – Seattle, WA – April 17, 2019
I loved teaching and had a sense of family here. I enjoyed my managers and had a balanced life work schedule It can be competitive but that is all part of how you perceive your interactions with your fellow teachers. The competition kept me driving forward and achieving my goals as a professional.