Arthur Murray International, Inc. was founded over 100 years ago, making it the second oldest franchise in America. Arthur Murray Dance Centers can be found all over the world – throughout Europe, Canada, Puerto Rico, the Middle East, Japan, Africa, Australia and the United States.
Arthur Murray Franchised Dance Studios began in 1912 with Arthur Murray. Arthur Murray is often termed the “Pioneer of Social Dance.” He was a creative entrepreneur who discovered a variety of mediums to bring dance to every doorstep. His idea to sell dance lessons by direct mail with one step at a time was a cutting edge advertisement technique.
Arthur Murray is even credited for the first radio dance music broadcast. In March 1920, Arthur Murray transmitted music to a group of his students at Georgia Tech a few miles away. This was the beginning of broadcasting Arthur Murray Dance lessons nationwide.
Beyond savvy advertising and radio broadcasts, Arthur Murray wrote books and brochures to showcase the social aspects of dance. Arthur Murray was attracting national attention and soon became an American icon for entrepreneurial success and social dancing.
In the early 1920’s, Arthur met his future wife Kathryn during one of his broadcast dance lessons in New Jersey. After they married, they opened a dance school together in 1925. By the 1930’s, their studio introduced the “Lambeth Walk” and the “Big Apple” dances. The “Big Apple” was so popular it turned Arthur Murray’s one studio into the largest chain of studios around the world today. In fact, prior to World War II, Arthur Murray Dance Instructors were found on every first-class cruise ship.
In the 1940’s, The Arthur Murray Dance Franchise grew to 72 franchised studios and grossed 20 million dollars a year. By 1950, Arthur bought five fifteen minute television spots on CBS and convinced his wife Kathryn to teach with him on the show. The TV episodes were a hit and by the third episode Murray bought a half-hour summer series. Americans fell in love with the show and millions flocked to their studios around the country. The show aired for 12 years until 1962.
Two years after the television series ended Arthur and Kathryn Murray retired to Hawaii and sold their company to a group of business associates and franchisees. The fresh new ownership under Phillip S. Masters, George B. Theiss, and Samuel A. Castello began a new era. With the introduction of disco in popular culture, Arthur Murray Dance Studios were popular once again.
Arthur Murray has stayed with the times in the ever changing culture of dance throughout the nation. Arthur Murray Dance instructors not only appear in the studios but are found backstage on Broadway, are partnered with major entertainers and on the movie sets in Hollywood. Movies like Dirty Dancing, Dance with Me, Shall We Dance, Saturday Night Fever, and a Scent of a Woman, just to name a few. Whenever entertainment involves dance there is a good chance that Arthur Murray Dance Instructors are involved as teachers or even dancers.
Currently, Arthur Murray Dance Centers are independently owned and operated by individuals who invested years of time to excel from instructor to executive level. Ambitious employees go through every phase of the franchise from studio operations to teaching and supervision/management to marketing. A studio built from within creates a commitment for excellence and prosperity in all of our studios. Any employee with ambition and dedication has the potential to become a franchisee owner themselves.
In the past 20 years, Arthur Murray has become a global enterprise. Today, there are over 260 Arthur Murray Dance Centers in 21 countries worldwide. The longevity is a result of excellent customer service, unmatched dance instruction techniques and experienced corporate management that all began with Arthur Murray himself.
Arthur Murray continues to teach the popular tradition of dancing with more than 100 years of experience.