Did You Know…? Part 5

Did You Know…? Part 5

AM1.  Which dance launched the Arthur Murray franchise?    

In the 1930’s, the studio introduced such dances to the public as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple.  It was the Big Apple that turned Arthur Murray’s one studio into the large franchise it is today. The Big Apple is a group swing dance that starts in a circle and eventually pairs off the dancers into couples. This dance is a favorite of avid lindy hoppers and can still be found in lindy clubs today. The most accurate interpretation of this dance can be found in the 1939 movie Keep Punching.

Here’s the video The dance starts at the beginning and goes until about 2:50.

I need a nap after watching that!

 Pictured above: Arthur Murray’s original studio in Miami Beach, Florida

AM show

2. Did Arthur Murray influence “Dancing with the Stars?”

Many people recognize the Arthur Murray name from the Arthur Murray Dance Party TV show that ran from 1950-1962. Along with being one of the only shows broadcast on all four major broadcasting networks at the time, it also featured many celebrities. Some of these include Groucho Marx, Betty White, Dick Van Dyke, Andy Griffith, Eva Gabor, Bob Hope, Buddy Holly, and Andy Williams. Some celebrities were taught to dance on air and competed against each other (sound familiar? The original Dancing With The Stars!) Others were musical artists who performed for the dancers.  


wheelchair3. Can people in wheelchairs compete in ballroom dance?  

There ARE ballroom competitions that have wheelchair categories. In these categories, one person is in a wheelchair dancing with a partner who is not. It is a pretty ingenious way to include everyone who wants to dance and shows that there really are no limits when you are passionate about something.

Watch it here!

swords4. Swords and dancing?  What??  

It is believed that the closed dance position that we use in ballroom dance was influenced by the men wearing swords on their left hip. Swords were worn on the left hip so that men could reach over and pull it out of the sheath with their right hand. The ladies had to stand slightly to the man’s right while dancing to avoid tripping over the sword (and possibly being skewered to death!)




cake5. What does the phrase “piece of cake” have to do with ballroom dancing?

Ever hear the saying that something is “a piece of cake,” meaning that it’s easy? Or that something “takes the cake,” meaning it is the best? These phrases are actually dance related! They come from a dance known as the Cakewalk. There are many versions as to how it originated, but it was mostly practiced amongst 19th Century slaves in America, but has been adopted by some dancing circles and can still be found today. In this dance, couples would take turns strutting their stuff and the best couple of the night was awarded a cake! I don’t know about you, but cake sounds like a great prize at a dance competition, especially after all that dancing works up an appetite.
Here’s a video


Hungry for more facts? (Especially after all that talk of cake) Check out my other Did You Know blogs:

Did You Know…? Part 1  – Did Arthur Murray teach anyone famous?

Did You Know…? Part 2 –  How much do you know about the AMWH staff? 😉

Did You Know…? Part 3 John Travolta brought back partner dancing!

Did You Know…? Part 4Guess which controversial Radio/TV personality took lessons at Arthur Murray?

Christy Melgoza

Arthur Murray Dance Studio Owner,

Certified Adjudicator, and Mother of Two

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