By Natalie Chun
Arthur Murray Dance Studio in White Plains, one of 300 locations worldwide, teaches 21 different styles of dance including salsa, tango, waltz, rumba, merengue and swing.
Owner Michael Powers said the business has been in his family for decades. His father bought his first location in Yonkers in 1957 and since then, they have taught four to five generations of people in Westchester County and areas of Connecticut.
Powers began dancing at a young age but moved onto other activities, and became a business owner. He owned a deli at the age of 19 and later a landscaping business, but came to work with his father in 1996.
“And then when I started dancing, I fell in love with it,” Powers said. “What I really fell in love with was the effect that dance has on people. That’s what kept me doing this. Seeing a married couple stay together, seeing a guy that has no confidence get confidence, seeing a woman with no confidence get confidence.”
Powers believes that the styles of dance taught at Arthur Murray also create a more encouraging atmosphere that’s different from other sports or forms of exercise. He says that in other sports like tennis, golf or bowling, someone loses. But “dancing, you both win.” Students also get the unique experience of exercising with someone as opposed to next to someone.
“The craziest thing about our business is that we have the power of touch,” Powers said. “When you go to a gym, you work out, your spinning class, it’s you in the class. And now it’s just a different feeling. And now you are dancing with someone, your brain, there’s just different chemical reactions. You get to feel a part of something.”
Arthur Murray Dance Studio in White Plains has around 175 active students who generally range in age from the mid-20s into their 70s. Powers applauds the diversity in this area and believes dance to be a strong unifier. Every Friday, the studio hosts a social, which all students can attend to learn new styles and meet other students, creating a strong sense of community within the dance studio.
“You have from CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to cashiers dancing together at a Friday night social,” Powers said. “No one cares, everyone just wants to have fun.”
“We usually say one thing great about the studio: it’s like taking a dance vacation,” Powers said. “When you’re here you forget about everything. Even as owner, I can be going through all this, practices of business or stuff with kids or whatever else it is, but when I teach, it just all disappears. One of the best forms of stress relief I have ever come to find.”
Arthur Murray Dance Studio is located at 139 E Post Rd in White Plains and their phone number is (914) 948-5929.