Arthur Murray Dance Studios - Grand Rapids Plainfield Studio Kentwood Studio Grandville Studio

What We Teach

Why not add a lit­tle fun to your life?

We teach all the pop­u­lar Ball­room, Latin & Swing Dances. We cater to all lev­els & ages — from begin­ners to advanced. No part­ner nec­es­sary. Some stu­dents in our videos started only weeks ago.

Danc­ing is fun and is a great way to stay in shape, so check our Plain­field or Kent­wood Class Cal­en­dar and reg­is­ter to take advan­tage of spe­cial offers at Arthur Mur­ray Grand Rapids.

Fox­trot Rumba Sam­bas Salsa Swing
Tango Cha-Cha Merengue Bolero
Waltz Hus­tle Mambo Vien­nese Waltz


Orig­i­nally a Span­ish dance in 3/4 time, it was changed in Cuba ini­tially into 2/4 time then even­tu­ally into 4/4. It is now present as a very slow type of Rumba rhythm. The music is fre­quently arranged with Span­ish vocals and a sub­tle per­cus­sion effect, usu­ally imple­mented with Conga or Bongos.

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From the less inhib­ited night clubs and dance halls the Mambo under­went sub­tle changes. It was triple mambo, and then pecu­liar scrap­ing and shuf­fling sounds dur­ing the “tripling” pro­duced the imi­ta­tive sound of Cha Cha Cha. This then became a dance in itself. Mambo or triple Mambo or Cha Cha as it is now called, is but an advanced stage in inter­pre­tive social danc­ing born of the fusion of pro­gres­sive Amer­i­can and Latin music.

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Said by some to have been orig­i­nated by Harry Fox (1913). It is now a stan­dard ball­room dance the world over and serves as a good foun­da­tion for social dances in 2/4 or 4/4 time. NOTE: See also Two Step.

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A num­ber if sim­i­lar style disco dances which had its begin­ning in the mid-70’s and enjoys some con­tin­u­ing pop­u­lar­ity as a swing style today. The record “Do The Hus­tle” was fol­lowed by the movie “Sat­ur­day Night Fever.” The movie por­trayal of part­ner danc­ing by John Tra­volta to the pop­u­lar beat of top sell­ing music from the Bee Gees and the intro­duc­tion to Amer­ica of the Dis­cotheque set­ting, pop­u­lar for some years in Europe, took Amer­ica by storm. Flash­ing lights, mir­rors every­where, loud throb­bing beat, and high fash­ion were in. Large num­bers of pop­u­lar Dis­cos sprang up in every city and every­one was wait­ing in line to dance.

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The fusion of Swing and Cuban music pro­duced this fas­ci­nat­ing rhythm and in turn cre­ated a new sen­sa­tional dance. The Mambo could not have been con­ceived ear­lier since up until that time Cuba and the Amer­i­can Jazz were still not wed­ded. The Vic­tor records of Anselmo Sacaras enti­tled “Mambo” in 1944 were prob­a­bly the begin­ning and since then other Latin Amer­i­can band­lead­ers such as Tito Rodriguez, Pupi Campo, Tito Puente, Perez Prado, Machito and Xavier Cugat have achieved styling of their own and fur­thered the Mambo craze. The Mambo was orig­i­nally played as any Rumba with a riff end­ing. It may be described as a riff or a Rumba with empha­sis on the fourth beat 4/4′ time. Orig­i­nally played by some musi­cians in 2/4 time with a break or empha­sis on 2 and 4. Native Cubans or dancers, with­out any train­ing would break on any beat.

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Merengue was made the offi­cial music and dance of the Domini­can Repub­lic by Rafael Tru­jillo. Part­ners hold each other in a closed posi­tion. The man holds the woman’s waist with his right hand while keep­ing his left hand/her right hand at the woman’s eye level. The merengue is a two-step beat requir­ing both part­ners to bend their knees slightly left and right. This in turn makes the hips move left and right. When danced cor­rectly, the hips of the man and woman will move in the same direc­tion through­out the song. Part­ners may walk side­ways or cir­cle each other, in small steps.

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The Rumba was orig­i­nally a mar­riage dance. Many of its move­ments and actions which seem to have an erotic mean­ing are merely depic­tions of sim­ple farm tasks. The shoe­ing of the mare, the climb­ing of a rope, the courtship of the rooster and the hen, etc. It was done for amuse­ment on the farms by the black pop­u­la­tion of Cuba. How­ever, it became a pop­u­lar ball­room dance and was intro­duced in the United States about 1933. It was the Amer­i­can­ized ver­sion for the Cuban Son and Dan­zon. It is in 4/4 time. The char­ac­ter­is­tic fea­ture is to take each step with­out ini­tially plac­ing the weight on that step. Steps are made with a slightly bent knee which, when straight­ened, causes the hips to sway from side to side in what has come to be known as “Cuban Motion.”

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This is a favored name for a type of Latin music which, for the most part, has its roots in Cuban cul­ture and is enhanced by jazz tex­tures. The word, Salsa, means sauce denot­ing a “hot” fla­vor and is best dis­tin­guished from other Latin music styles by defin­ing it as the New York sound devel­oped by Puerto Rican musi­cians in New York. The dance struc­ture is largely asso­ci­ated with mambo type pat­terns and has a par­tic­u­lar feel­ing that is asso­ci­ated mainly with the Clave and the Montuno.

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This Brazil­ian dance was first intro­duced in 1917 but was finally adopted by Brazil­ian soci­ety in 1930 as a ball­room dance. It is some­times referred to as a Samba, Car­i­oca, a Baion or a Batu­cado. The dif­fer­ence is mostly in the tempo played since the steps in all three dance are very sim­i­lar. The style is to bounce steadily and smoothly in 2/4 meter. They say that the Samba was intro­duced in the United States in 1939 by the late Car­men Miranda.

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An ever pop­u­lar blend of sev­eral African Amer­i­can dances, which include Lindy and Rag­time Jazz and Blues, as well as all the other dance music to accom­pa­ny­ing dances of the past ninety years. Today it gen­er­ally refers to the ball­room and night club ver­sion which is based on two slow and two quick counts or the slow and two quick counts of rhythm dances.

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There are essen­tially three types of Tango — Argen­tine, Amer­i­can and Inter­na­tional Style. Argen­tine Tango: (arra­balero) A dance cre­ated by the Gau­chos in Buenos Aires. It was actu­ally an attempt on their part to imi­tate the Span­ish dance except that they danced it in a closed ball­room posi­tion. The Tango caused a sen­sa­tion and was soon to be seen the world over in a more sub­dued ver­sion. Amer­i­can Tango: Unlike the Argen­tine Tango, in which the dancer inter­prets the music spon­ta­neously with­out any pre­de­ter­mined slows or quicks, the Amer­i­can Tango fea­tures a struc­ture which is cor­re­lated to the musi­cal phras­ing. The dance is exe­cuted both in closed posi­tion and in var­i­ous types of extrav­a­gant dance rela­tion­ships which incor­po­rate a par­tic­u­lar free­dom of expres­sion that is not present in the Inter­na­tional style. Inter­na­tional Tango: This is a highly dis­ci­plined and dis­tinc­tively struc­tured form of the Tango which is accepted world­wide as the for­mat for dance sport events. The dancers remain in tra­di­tional closed posi­tion through­out and expresses both legato and stac­cato aspects of the type of music appro­pri­ate to this style.

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The Vien­nese Waltz is a rotary dance where the dancers are con­stantly turn­ing either in a clock­wise (nat­ural) or anti-clockwise (reverse) direc­tion inter­spersed with non-rotating change steps to switch between the direc­tion of rota­tion. A true Vien­nese waltz con­sists only of turns and change steps. Other moves such as the fleck­erls, American-style fig­ures and side sway or under­arm turns are mod­ern inven­tions and are not nor­mally danced at the annual balls in Vienna. Fur­ther­more, in a prop­erly danced Vien­nese Waltz, cou­ples do not pass, but turn con­tin­u­ously left and right while trav­el­ing coun­ter­clock­wise around the floor fol­low­ing each other.

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The real ori­gin of the Waltz is rather obscure, but a dance of turns and glides, leap­ing and stomp­ing appeared in var­i­ous parts of Europe at the end of the 17th and begin­ning of the 18th cen­tury. In Italy it was the Volta, France has its Volte, Ger­many the Weller and Aus­tria had its Landler. These were round dances but at the end of the dance itself there was a short period in which the cir­cle would break up into cou­ples who would whirl madly round and round and fin­ish with a jump in the air. In the Landler the hop­ping gave way more to a glid­ing motion and that is why it is con­sid­ered the fore­run­ner of the Waltz. The Waltz can be traced back as far as 400+ years. The Waltz regained its real pop­u­lar­ity in the 20th cen­tury. The Waltz blos­somed out as the Hes­i­ta­tion Waltz in 1913. Until the devel­op­ment of the hes­i­ta­tion, cou­ples had waltzed in one direc­tion until dizzy and then reversed until ready to drop. The Waltz had degen­er­ated into an endurance con­test. The Hes­i­ta­tion resulted in the Waltz it is done today. The slow Waltz was once known as the Boston Waltz. Today the slow Waltz is the Amer­i­can Waltz, Eng­lish Waltz or just Waltz, and the faster is the Vien­nese Waltz.

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