Talking to the students before their performance began was like a tornado:
“Should I change my hair?”
“Do I wear these stockings?”
“I haven’t precticed enough!”
“We didn’t have enough time!”
“I can’t wait, this is so exciting…”
“I’ve been stressing this moment for weeks!!!”
“This isn’t the sort of thing I usually do…”
And you know what? The routines all turned out gorgeous. Just like your instuctor knew they would when they said you were ready to do this.
It’s a funny thing, learning. While you’re doing it, you think it’s all fine and great – but then you have to do the same thing in front of people and it can be as if the world is a totaly different place.
Suddenly curtains and rows of chairs seem to take your familiar dance floor and transform it into a scary focal-point of bright lights and photo flashes. But it won’t always be this way.
Eventually, we have been in front of those lights enough times that they are exciting friends, showing us off to our best potential!
After more than a few Newsome Twosomes and Newsome Gruesomes, we can officially say that this was one of the NewEST: Mychael announced that as of this fresh location change – WE ARE ALL NEW AGAIN!
That’s right: if you have not performed with someone at this past Thursday’s Newsome Twosome, then going forward you may act as though you have never performed with them at all! So when these events come up again (both Twosome and Gruesome;) if you havn’t performed with them in this location, then it’s fair to start making plans!!!
A new home means a clean slate, and we want this next Gruesome event (this fall) to be the sickest, slimiest and most creepy yet! Bring your courage and prepare to see strange things, because it’s open season out there on the hard wood floor… 8D
Can you think of a time when you did better at something than you ever had before? A moment when you rose above every challenge, defeated every obstacle and saw the toughest times through to the other side!
Think of how it felt to finally break the surface of the water and get past the hardest moments when you truly thought you were going to fail.
That’s how it feels for us as we approach this 2018 Winter Showcase! With all of our fellow schools in attendance, Arrowhead is proud to see our students show with such confidence, such excitement and a deep love for the reason we are all here: Ballroom Dance.
We’ve all come down a hard road, pushing ourselves to the max to train and prepare… Teachers perfecting their craft and Students putting in the practice time to make sure they hit their goals. And it all culminates at the February Winter Showcase in Phoenix! The excitement in our studio is crazy…
From having all of our out of town students fly in to share in the spectacle, to having a great turnout of 52 energized Arrowhead team-members, we are ready!
So many of us have moments when we feel like these events are never going to happen for us. We all get discouraged from time to time. But it’s those times, when we have sunk so low, that we rise highest towards achieving our goals and pushing to new heights of excellence! It’s when we have been broken, and lost that we heal and find our way.
Without the experiences of the past year, our Arrowhead team would not be the shining star that it is today. From saying good-bye to good friends as moving out of state or job changes took them away, to saying good-bye to our past, we are very happy to show that these lessons have brought a great deal of change to our perspective in the studio.
We have greater respect for each other as recent events have drawn us closer, and we have a great deal of hope for our student’s future as they continue to amaze us with their passion, commitment and hard work! It is all these things together that make us look at each other and say with confidence that we are making this our best Showcase ever! Our loudest, happiest, most dazzling event yet!
We are bringing more energy, more passion and more excitement to that ballroom than any other studio can boast and it’s happening this weekend! There isn’t anything we can say for this, save that we are so very grateful for our Arthur Murray family, our Students and most of all, each other, for collectively making all of this possible.
Thank you, and we’ll see you on the floor!
-The Arrowhead Staff
Dancing for Charity Events is not a new thing, but it most certainly can be forgotten in the rush of enjoyment we find while moving to the music.
We get carried away with our footwork, our lead and follow skills and the extension of our frame and head position… but all the while, others are enjoying their dancing as well, sometimes by the grace of others…
There is a Charity is Glasboro NJ, that brings their dancing joy to Assisted Living centers and Special Needs communities that otherwise would not have access to it. With their passion for how dancing can positively effect a person’s life, they spearhead the hashtag: #BringTheBallroom and believe that with the amazing power that dance holds, everyone should have the chance to experience it! Learn more about their donation-based organization here .
Even sometimes whole competitions are set up (like the one in San Clemente: Dancing for a Cause ), where Pro/Am couples work to win the audience and take home a cash prize for their selected charity! Silent and Live auctions go on throughout the night as well.
There are annual Dance charity events here in Phoenix, even, always opening up the opportunity to dance or just watch, share meals and raise funds for everything from youth programs to LGBT awareness, veterans services and more!
Giving is at the heart of dance, let’s be real. A dancer gives to the audience. They give to their partner. They give to the room, the music, the beat… Everything about Ballroom dancing is about giving, and it’s no secret! So much so that people everywhere can feel it so strongly as to create so many opportunities for others to benefit from it, not just themselves.
Ballroom is a generous sport from float to heel-protector, and if we feel that, then it’s no wonder why we find ways to give back. So thank you, to everyone who attends our upcoming Kpa Competition. Thank you for supporting our studio in the effort of using dance to give to those struggling with ALS. Thank you for understanding that dance is a strength that we can all share and stand together with.
Something that makes us family when it is so easy to become distant individuals. We are so thankful for each and every one of you, and hope to see you all brightly smiling as the music plays on September 30 th , as we dance in honor of these wonderful people who need our help.
If you would like to learn more about the wonderful work that the ALS Association is doing and how they improve the lives of patients and families struggling with this terrible disease every day, you can find more information on their website here , and remember to sign up for a few more entry’s to increase our Ballroom family’s donation to their efforts!
And again, we thank you.
-Arrowhead Arthur Murray Staff
There couldn’t be a more exhilarating experience for a dancer than to step out onto a gigantic floor, under a brilliant glow, wearing the most flowing dress… shoes feeling like a sturdy part of the feet, as though they are an extension of your body… a hush steals over the room as the MC announces the dance …and the music floods into the ballroom from everywhere, like a fantasy wind made of sound!
And if that’s too much fluff for you, you could take the more clinical explanation, which would reference such things as adrenaline, blood-pressure, cardiovascular circulation and the dizziness that comes from hot spotlights pointed at you from all directions.
Either way, you look good. ;D
It can be intimidating, in the beginning, to approach the idea of going to competitions. Many questions are brought up, and fears ignited. But there needn’t be any worry! Pro/Am Competition is among the most anticipated of all the dance events! And it should be:
- Sparkling dresses everywhere…
- Dashing suits as far as the eye can see…
- Classy Dinners every night…
- The best Hotels and service…
- Relaxing and exotic locations…
- A huge ballroom floor!
- Staff performances!
- Watching the Professionals compete!
- A whole weekend with your teachers!
- Traveling with your dance family!
What could be better? Ask anyone who has gone and they’ll tell you that the energy and excitement of an Arthur Murray Dance-O-Rama is absolutely unbeatable! The vendors alone are worth a day’s perusal, and the memories! What great memories…
Win or lose, everyone goes for their own reasons.
Maybe they want the titles, and compete with the trophies in mind.
Maybe it’s the feeling of being cheered on by such an enthusiastic audience.
Maybe we simply want to continue to make those memories, year after year.
Whatever it is, we come back, and we look forward to spending time with the friends we’ve made at studios from other states and countries. We build up one another as we deal with our own nerves and find ourselves laughing over the silly mistakes and high-fiving over the triumphs.
We cheer for each other. We hold out for the results to find out if our friends achieved their goals, and we realize something new about ourselves. Every time.
For many, it’s never been about the glitter or the fame. But about personal growth. Competitions are a unique opportunity to challenge oneself to break through new barriers and re-invent the dancer we were before into a fresh creature. A more confident more. A stronger one. Passing through round after round can transform us into faster adaptors, braver steppers and bigger performers, if we let it.
New heights we might never have pushed to can be achieved merely by the encouragement of another dancer in the on-deck area. Someone who has stood in your shoes and can smile and say the words you need to hear in order to lift your opinion of yourself and move better than you ever have before… There’s nothing like the feeling of realizing that everyone out on that floor isn’t actually trying to compete with you at all.
They’re actually pulling for you. In this Arthur Murray family, we’re all cheering for each other. We all want each other to win. And in a way, because of that fact…
…we all do.
So when you go out there, feel the exhilaration! Enjoy the excitement and let it push you to dance your heart out before the weekend is up. Grow more in a few days than in a few months at home! Make new friends, expand your Ballroom family… and come back year after year.
To do it all again.
Upon recently being asked what our personal Dance Goals are, the staff at Arrowhead Arthur Murray had many varying answers…
Future Competitions were named, new practice schedules talked about, dedication to the standard of quality we teach at our school, and many other ideas came up. But this is nothing new for seasoned dancers. Each of us know that to excel, we have to set and achieve new goals all the time to move forward with our skills. Likewise, we guide each of our students to do the same!
So, here are some common goals that come up for our students and some practical advice about how to move towards them!
- I want to feel more Graceful.
- Ballroom is one of the best sports for making anyone feel they have grace. A great remedy can be a combination of practicing the basics at a super slow pace on your own, and becoming as mindful as you can about how you move. EXERCISE: Go through simple figures and become aware of where your arms are, how straight your posture is and if your footwork is correct on every step! Move as though performing for a huge audience in slow-motion!
- It’s important to me to develop better Floorcraft.
- Practice. Practice. Practice. Dance every song you can, with as many different partners as you can. The challenge will develop your critical thinking skills and the more confident you get with the steps you know, the more steps you can add to your repertoire!
- My leg lines and feet need to improve.
- The best exercises to improve the look of your legs and feet can be explained to you by your teachers, but as a rule, foot exercises should be an essential part of any dancer’s warm-up! They not only make your dancing look better, they strengthen the ankles and knees to prevent injury. Be sure to talk to your teacher about this goal for more ways to achieve it!
- I want to feel the music so that my dancing has more emotion and personality.
- Don’t we all! The easiest way to bring more emotion out in your movement is to dance to songs that you know and love! Beats that make you sway and tap your feet, or hits from your favorite bands will always give you stronger emotions when you hear them! Make a playlist for your practice sessions and push outside your comfort zone. You’ll be shocked at how much embodying the emotion of a dance will make your lines longer and picture steps bigger.
- At my next competition, I want to win Scholarship.
- This is a fantastic goal to set for yourself, and will take a lot of planning with your partner. You’ll want to create a game-plan, decide on key points in your dancing that will need extra focus and make the time for coaching and extra lessons to prepare. Also, be sure to perform in from of as many audiences as you can to ensure your nerves don’t get the best of you.
When setting your goals, be sure to remember: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Framed. That way you can be sure to reach your desired results as long as you focus and don’t give up!
One last thing:
Here at Arrowhead, we really care about what our student’s personal dance goals are, and incorporate them into the lessons we teach to support you the best that we can. So please share your plans and desires with us and let us help you raise your dancing to the level that you dream about!
Perhaps the greatest thing I ever heard a Dance Teacher say, is that “Stiffness Kills Dancing”.
Our stress builds up, we practice too much or too little and we get so rigid, so locked up that we can’t figure out how to be smooth or graceful anymore. Heck, maybe we never were, and we just didn’t realize it yet.
One thing is for sure, if our back is too inflexible, we can’t stretch in a line… If our shoulders make it up around our ears, and our legs get too straight… we can say goodbye to a nice head position and proper footwork!
But dancing is also the cure for stiffness, if you ask me.
Let’s face it, we dance to LOWER stress, not to increase it!!! The music, the steps, the challenge and fun all rolled up in silly goof-ups and great spins, ending in dips…
Dancing is where it’s at! Such a workout and you don’t even notice it! Calories being burned by traveling boxes and Cuban motion… all the stress of the day’s work, the weeks deadlines just melting away.
So how can we ensure that the side of this battle which we are cheering for, wins?
Here’s some ideas for tipping the balance in Dancing’s favor:
- Make a conscious decision to have stronger Heart than fear.
Ask yourself if you think Courage outweighs fear, and say yes. Because it’s true: if fear was stronger, you wouldn’t be on the floor in the first place, would you? So ask yourself again, and answer with conviction:
Your Heart is stronger than your fear.
- Give the movement all you’ve got. Attack it!
Say to yourself you’re gonna try it the crazy way, full-out, just once. Just to see. And then really go for it! Push, drive, swing as far as you can! You’ll be surprise the reaction you’ll get from your ‘stiff’ body, and the difference your partner will feel!
- Tell whomever you’re working with that you’re serious today.
If you need accountability, tell your partner that today’s practice you’re really going to focus on letting go, getting outside the barriers, breaking down walls and everything else standing in your way of shaking off the rust!
- Be patience with your body. Listen to it and find new ways around challenges.
Sometimes you will push yourself in a direction or through a step, and no matter what, it still feels awful. Don’t let yourself blame your body and it’s ‘problems’ for it; there’s nothing wrong with you. There are, however, two options here: ONE, you can try changing the way you’re doing it, ever so slightly to find a variation which feels better, or: TWO, you can seek out advice from a dancer you trust who can watch and help explain to you what they see that can be improved or done differently. That way, instead of hitting against the same brick wall over and over, you can find a way to climb…
- Put on the most motivating music you can find. Something you can’t stand still to.
Nothing loosens up a body full of stiffness like a good song and sweet vibrations! Find your inner hippy, gangsta, fighter, ballerina, star or Blackpool finalist by digging the music you’re listening to. Try songs that make you imagine yourself on the biggest, grandest floor you’ve ever seen, striding confidently across it with comfort and ease… maybe put those headphones in and shut the world out to get in the right mindset.
- Dance by yourself and break all the rules you’ve learned. Get loose, then go back to practicing with a new flexibility in mind.
Once in a while, every dancer should shake off the rules and dance only what they feel! If it’s figures and steps, fine, but do them against the LOD, with more turns, different timing… get funky with it, or add in lyrical movement and different styles mixed together. Get out of the rigid ideas of ‘This is a _____ step’ or ‘the timing is _____’. Let expectations go and just move to the music.
Following these tips when you get stuck will help you to shine new light of stiff muscles and reach past the stress! You have to let Heart win. Let yourself try things that may not work! Ask questions you’ve never asked and learn through the stiffness, what you can do to release even the most stubborn parts of your spine.
If we’re fighting a battle between rigidity and fluid motion, we may find that changing our mindset to follow suit goes a long way towards achieving the win. So remember to let new ideas or odd inspirations have their due. Be a little silly… or a lot. And give yourself the chance to be freer in your mind, so you can be free in your body, too.
The end of a year isn’t always cause for celebration.
Sometimes people look at their time spent and find that they worked too much, relaxed too little and spent almost no time pursuing the hobbies they love and dream about.
Thankfully, here at Arrowhead studio, we won’t have much of those sentiments flying around!
Here, we relax when we work, vacation while we play and laugh enough to fight off life’s stress. We push back against a year’s worth of tension with spinning, of all things!
Where can you go that is anything like it?!
Where fun is the point of everything, and enjoyment of life is the highest award we can achieve… Performance is applauded as a form of deep expression and sitting in the audience is as much an honor as being handed one’s own 1 st place medal!
We make our years out of these things, here at Arrowhead. We challenge each other to be our truest selves, to give love freely and show every day that we’re here for one another! How could our year be anything but perfect…
These things aren’t by accident, either. Everything about our Ballroom home is the way it is because of a shared vision of those who put it forth. From our Teachers to our Owner, and Managers alongside, we have the special privilege of fostering an environment that supports caring individuals to care for themselves, striving hearts to strive on, and hopeful friends to hope together.
If your next year could be any better, we hope it’s better with us! Because without you to give us something to cheer for, we’d have nothing to create magic with anyway. So come and join us as we enter into a new year. Come be a part of our good cheer all year long, and celebrate yourself making another year more wonderful than the last.
Let’s say “see ya” to 2016…
Enough holiday seasons pass and sometimes you start to forget what makes them special.
You see the messages everywhere, from the retailers, to the car commercials, the food indulgences, the big sales and the blow-out savings.
Stuff to fill our houses, closets, storage units and vacuum-seal bags. Stuff to collect. Stuff to use. Stuff to trash in five years when we realize we’ve never used it.
It’s such a heavy thought when considered.
Stuff doesn’t bring us much lasting fulfillment, we know, but it is an easy distraction in the day-to-day buzz, at times.
Still, one thing we can always count on to be fulfilling?
Experiences like meeting for the first time.
Experiences like seeing a place you’ve always wanted to.
Even experiencing being who you want to be after so much hard work!
Dancing is such an experience, such a joy to feel and to share and be connected by.
It brings laughter, fun, excitement and fascination! It reaches beyond borders, beyond boundaries and jumps hurdles that few things can.
The experiences had on a dance floor are written about in songs, stories, plays and even history books. They’re impact can be felt just watching the dancers float and skip and box-step along…
What moments of grand beauty can one have under the lights of the Holiday season, singing songs we all know (even if few of us love), and can bond over, sharing treats and home-made gifts, heartfelt written cards and warm winter wishes!
Such an enchanting few weeks that we remember for years and look back on with fondness. Everyone cold, but happy, freezing, but not wanting to leave. Sleepy, yet enjoying every silly moment…
Experiences like friendship, and the bonds we can have, if we let ourselves.
It may be true all year long, however, as the air turns frosty, it is a chance to re-examine our love of others and how we treat them. It’s a time to be understanding and accepting. To lend a hand. To help.
To give. Not take. To be selfless. Not conceited.
To dance as a means to share ourselves, and with no thought to a return. To drive, swing and sway as an expression of how much we care, and not for the self-gratification in it.
Winter is special because we’re open to it: the Holidays can only be as cold as our hearts. So let us be open to new experiences, willing to learn, hopeful of our future and the coming year and through everything… share the open-hearted experience of dancing with every one of our partners.
Because it helps us be who we most want to be.
It spreads only joy, peace and the very best of what we are, together… as friends.
Happy Holidays, from the Arrowhead Arthur Murray family!
When we start the year, many of us attempt these things called “New Year’s Resolutions”, and desperately try to make the coming year somehow different that the last. Question:
Who thinks about those resolutions as the year comes to a close? Do you pull out that paper they were written down on and see if you hit any marks, or did you burn that paper last February when your goals seemed so far away they could never be achieved?
Did you have Dance Goals? Maybe you wanted to hit Bronze two or even Associate Silver in all Majors? Did you set out to hit two different competitions and make finals or a specific placement… Maybe you committed to dancing every song at the practice parties to build your stamina or just get outta the house!
When we set goals, it’s important to keep an eye on them, but not for the reasons most believe.
Everyone will tell you that goals are about sticking to schedules and achieving big things in a million tiny steps and focusing on moving forward, ect… A TON of emphasis is placed on the actual steps taken and where you are meant to be reaching.
In other words, a lot of people only look at their goals to see where they have yet to go. Few look to see how far they’ve come.
Thing about it, we all know someone who is so eaten up with checking things off their list and achieving ever still more, that they have no appreciation for what they’ve actually done. They may have built an empire for all the effort given, but they don’t enjoy it.
No matter how far they’ve come, or what they’ve built… it’s never enough for them. They seem to constantly need more, because they don’t stop to look at everything they already have.
We’re fast approaching a major Holiday about being Thankful… and we’re also coming up on our Medal Ball ceremony. This is the time to really be mindful about how far you’ve come in your dancing, and how thankful you are for all your hard work and practice. Medal Ball is a celebration of your dancing achievements, small and large, and without appreciating those goals being reached, you risk losing your love of the journey in the scramble to move ever forward and up .
So stop… look.
Write out what you accomplished this year, so far. I bet you anything you’ll surprise yourself with everything you can list. Because it’s more than just the dancing. You faced fears, you built new habits, made new friends, learned new moves, tried things that may not work, faced wins and losses, found answers and became a new person through it all.
If we don’t enjoy who we are today, we may as well have never achieved anything in getting here.
Because all the dance training in the world is wasted if we don’t take the time to dance,
All the medalist levels in the book are pointless if we push the old stuff aside to learn ‘better’ material.
All the compliments we receive are meaningless if we don’t accept and treasure them,
And we will never learn any more about something… if we think that we have already achieved it and simply moved on to the next thing.
If you sit in the ballroom and observe the dancers with any one thought in your mind this winter season, let it be this:
“Which of these dancers reminds me of where I was at the beginning of this year?” and with that, take the opportunity to wonder at how you’ve changed. Be impressed by yourself and all that you’ve gone through. Be thankful for those extra practice sessions you did on your own time, the routine you were afraid of until you nailed it for the first time…
“Until we gaze about ourselves and feel the reality of all we have created around us, we have not truly experienced it, and so have not fully received the benefits we sacrificed so much for.”
Don’t miss out on everything you have worked so hard for. Enjoy what you’ve done. Be impressed by where you are today. Feel proud of yourself! And your efforts to get here will not have been wasted.
Do you remember your favorite Elementary School teacher?
The way they made school fun? How safe and cared for it was like to be in their classroom, occasionally even getting special treats to take home at the end of the day…
Some teachers really go the extra mile to make us feel special. And not just in a simple nice way; they’re great listeners, have great advice, and seem to know us so well!
A lot like our dance teachers.
I’ve come to appreciate two things about my dance teachers that are very similar to what I loved about my school teacher:
One: They had faith in me . No matter how I thought I failed, they never seemed to think so. They talked about what I could do to fix my mistakes, and how to stop bad habits. It never seemed to phase them when I did horribly and missed the mark I was aiming for. I remember wondering why. I remember thinking that it drove me crazy that they were never upset with me, when I knew that everything I’d done had been awful.
Two: Their life was set aside for me. Did you ever wonder as a small child if your teacher lived at your school? Like their entire life was just that classroom and the school grounds… ever get shocked by seeing your teacher in the grocery store and realizing they had a life outside of your lessons? Dance teachers are funny like that, too. Even as adults we forget that our teachers are just like us. Normal people. Regular people.
These similarities always strike a chord with me, because I love to see through other people’s eyes. I grew up to understand that the reason my 1 st grade teacher never got upset with me for being slow was that she knew the learning steps I was taking. And how what seemed as a monumental failure to me, she knew was only a drop of water in the ocean. She was drawing me up in that way, guiding me when I didn’t know where we were going.
And when I got old enough to see her as a real person and realize that there was a family and life waiting for her at the end of the day, once she had offered everything she had to teaching me… I saw how much she dedicated, and sacrificed to be there. To listen to me. To support me. To be my friend at a time in life when I had few.
Was Elementary School a drop of water in the ocean?
Yes… and No.
And when I think of it now, I have so much respect for those people who gave up so much of their lives to help me build mine.
The same could be said of our dancing. Is it the sum of our lives? Does it mean the world to us? Do we care to live without it?
And is it our teachers who make it so.
They, too, are putting their lives to the side to teach us. To focus on us. To be there for us.
The only difference is that I never was able to tell my 1 st grade teacher that everything she did for me was so powerful and made such an impact.
I’m so glad that I get to be on even ground with my teachers these days, so that I can tell them what their time means to me.
I can stand next to them in life and know that we both go to the grocery store, fill our cars with gas and do our laundry whenever we can. And I can appreciate that they care enough about my lessons to put so much prep-time towards them, so much thought on my goals and the dancer I want to become to plan those steps that I will fumble up and never get mad at me . Because they know each step is just one drop of water.
I can thank them for that.