Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Which came first, the Mambo or Cha Cha? If you thought that there are similarities between Cha Cha and Mambo, you are right! Believe it or not, the Cha Cha is one of the younger Ballroom dances, and originates from the Mambo. Mambo dates back to the 1930s, and grew most popular in the 50s. As the music and dance developed, so did the steps. The tempo was slightly slowed down, and Cuban side steps were added. That’s how the Cha Cha came about! Now if you got this question wrong, here is a chance to redeem yourself… Do you know how the Cha Cha got its name? It’s said that the name “Cha Cha (Cha)” comes from the sound of feet shuffling on the floor!
Where do the famous Arthur Murray “footprints” come from? Arthur Murray was really ahead of his time. Before technology allowed you to practice your dancing using YouTube videos, Arthur Murray thought up the brilliant idea of teaching dance through mail. In 1920, Arthur Murray became involved with a mail-order business, where he would send his (now famous) paper footprints in the mail for students to follow. He did this successfully until 1925, when he started his Arthur Murray franchise and began personal instruction in studios. Sure his dancing was good, but he was really GREAT at teaching. Clearly he also had a niche in business and advertising, too.
How did the Hustle help bring back Ballroom dancing? Partnership style dancing became obsolete in the 1960s, especially with the introduction of dances like the Twist. Then when Disco became the rage in the 70s, it incorporated a wide variety of dances that Arthur Murray’s had been teaching for years. The movie “Saturday Night Fever” brought to the public the message that it was fun to be a good dancer. Who knew John Travolta and his tight bell-bottoms would make partner dancing popular again?
Did Arthur Murray ever take dance lessons? Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, lived in Hawaii upon retiring, and remained active throughout their lives. It’s said that they swam often, played tennis, and yes, they even took dance lessons! Our very own Jacques De Beve, who owned Arthur Murray studios in Arizona, recalls memories of teaching both Arthur and Kathryn until Arthur reached his mid-90s. Here Jacques is quoted reminiscing, “When they would come to the mainland, to do the Johnny Carson show, or other talk shows, they would visit Scottsdale. They always had an interest in keeping up on all the new trends in dancing and at the time, Disco was very popular, and new dances were always cropping up. Consequently, they’d visit our studio and Roz & I, along with Steve & Georgetta Platt (our sister franchisees in So Cal), would teach them the new trends. It was a thrill for the students, to take a lesson along side of Arthur and Kathryn. I feel blessed to have worked with the Murray’s in New York, in the mid-50s and to have the opportunity to still be a part of their final years. The Murray’s were incredible people & even after their tremendous success, always felt a need to keep up with the new trends in dancing.”
“Whether we’re amateurs or professionals, we’re always students.” – Arthur Murray
Arthur Murray Dance Studio Owner,
Certified Adjudicator, and Mother of Two
Share this Post