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BWW Feature: ARTHUR MURRAY DANCE STUDIOS Carries on the Love of Dance Despite Coronavirus

BWW Feature: ARTHUR MURRAY DANCE STUDIOS Carries on the Love of Dance Despite Coronavirus
Photo by Laura Fuhrman

Whether it is two people gliding together in romance or moving in sync to the beat, dance is a universal language. But with the coronavirus pandemic and now social distancing, people are stopped from the joy of dancing with each other. However, the legacy of Arthur Murray continues the dance at the Arthur Murray Dance Studios in Las Vegas and Henderson virtually.

In Southern Nevada, dancing exploded as a way to connect and enjoy with each other company in a social setting. Now, that feeling is being transformed online with virtual dance lessons.

"I have spoken with other franchisees [Arthur Murray Dance Studio] around the country who are also doing similar things online. We decided that going online would be a way for our students to engage and practice," explains Justin McClendon, co-owner and manager of Arthur Murray Dance Studios in Las Vegas and Henderson. "It is a great way for everyone to cheer up."

The instructors go to the studio (one at a time) with access to the dance floor and computers. Many students are continuing with private lessons and posting videos online to show their progress and joy.

Social media plays a significant role with the studio offering daily activities, including "Daily Dose of Dancing," a 30-day dance challenge. The teachers host a 1-minute exercise or dance step for the students to practice. People then can post in the comments with videos and photos, taking the daily dose to the new level showcasing creativity, steps, and even dancewear.

However, challenges remain, especially that dance is a very social community. "Our business had many people come to dance every hour. We held dance parties every week. I love being part of a business that is so fun based on people coming together and obviously touching each other while dancing," says McClendon. "We were a part of many people's happiness, and everyone is missing that aspect."

McClendon has been an owner for the past 10 years in an industry he loves. He was in musical theater before coming to Arthur Murray and answered a Craiglist ad looking for an instructor.

"Arthur Murray taught me everything about ballroom dancing, which I had never danced before," McClendon says. "Tiffany [Higgins, co-owner of Arthur Murray Dance Studios in Las Vegas and Henderson] was the manager at the time when I first started. When the previous owner left the business, Tiffany and I took over."

COVID-19 has undoubtedly impacted the livelihood of the owners of the studios in Southern Nevada and around the country. Ballroom dance studios are scrambling to embrace news ways during this time of "no touch," "social distancing," and quarantines. In 2020, Arthur Murray International is the largest dance franchise in the world, with 300 locations worldwide. While the quarantine has been extended, many of the owners, including McClendon and Higgins, are bridging the gap and plan on reopening their studios when the time is right.

As McClendon states, "Keep moving even if it is just walking. If you can dance, come join us online and then come to one of Our Studios when we are open again." visit or to engage online and learn more.

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From This Author Debbie Hall