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History of Fred Astaire Dance Studios

History of Fred Astaire Dance Studios

We are proud of our great dance heritage which began in 1947 when the Master of dance himself, Mr. Fred Astaire, co-founded our company.

Mr. Fred Astaire, an American icon, wanted to establish a chain of studios under his name to make sure that his techniques would be preserved and passed onto the public. Mr. Astaire was instrumental in the choice of dance curriculum and instructional techniques. With the opening of the first Fred Astaire Studio on Park Avenue in New York City, Fred Astaire brought his immense talent out of the glamor of Hollywood and onto the dance floors of America and the world.

“Some people seem to think that good dancers are born,” Astaire once observed, “but all the good dancers I have known are taught or trained. To me, dancing has always been fun. I enjoy every minute of it. I am glad that I can now put my knowledge to use in bringing personal confidence and a feeling of achievement to so many people.”

Today, numerous Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studios, located in cities throughout North America and internationally, are required to maintain the highest standards of excellence through our National Dance Board and Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studios curriculum certification. Although Mr. Astaire is no longer with us in person, our studios have produced a wealth of amateur and professional dancers who are living embodiments of his style and grace.

Biography of Mr. Fred Astaire

Biography of Mr. Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire, born in 1899, began show business at the age of 5, performing on Broadway and in vaudeville with his sister, Adele. Then he headed to Hollywood where he began a successful partnership with Ginger Rogers for nine movies. By 1976, he had made 33 musical films with esteemed co-stars such as Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Ann Miller, Debbie Reynolds and Cyd Charisse. He also co-starred with the biggest actors of that time, including Bing Crosby, Red Skelton, and Gene Kelly.

Fred Astaire was not only a great dancer – changing the face of the American movie musical with his style and grace – but he was also an actor in many different dramatic and comedic roles in both movies and TV specials. He won multiple Emmys for his work in television. The Towering Inferno (1974) earned him an Oscar nomination. He received an honorary Academy Award in 1950 for his “unique artistry and his contributions to the technique of musical pictures.”

Fred Astaire died in 1987 from pneumonia. With his passing, we lost a true dancing legend. His effortless lightness and grace may never be seen again. As Mikhail Baryshnikov observed at the time of his death, “No dancer can watch Fred Astaire and not know that we all should have been in another business.”

Benefits of dancing

Benefits of dancing

Dancing isn’t just about the steps and music; it’s a perfect combination of physical activity, social interaction, and mental stimulation. Dancing enhances your life in so many ways:

Health
When you dance, your cardiovascular system improves, your muscle tone increases, and you burn calories. This low-impact aerobic activity also increases flexibility, strength, and balance. Olympic athletes often dance as part of their training to sharpen their control, agility, and speed. Dancing is great exercise in a pleasant, fun atmosphere.

Confidence
Dancers possess an aura of self-confidence and an ability to enjoy themselves more in social situations. When you learn how to dance, your entire mental outlook will take on a fresh sense of creativity, motivation, and energy. This new self-confidence in your dancing abilities will transfer to other aspects of your life as well.

Self-Expression
Dance provides an emotional outlet so that you can reflect your feelings through your body movements with passion and flair. Dancing will bring out, improve on, and strengthen your ability to permanently use these expressive qualities even when not dancing.

Social Life
Dancing lessons are an easy, low-pressure way to meet people. Fred Astaire Dance Studios provide weekly practice dance parties, nights out on the town, regional and national competitions, as well as fun trips to many different locations. Our lessons are the perfect place to rediscover romance, dancing your way to love!

Relaxation
In today’s fast-paced world, we sometimes forget to take a moment for ourselves. Dancing provides a temporary escape from your normal daily activities, a chance to relax, relieve stress, and concentrate on yourself.

Fun
Dancing is a great way to add excitement to your life. Although learning to dance takes concentration and dedication, you will be constantly surrounded by artistic, cheerful people who make learning a pleasurable and rewarding experience. So join us and have some fun!

Type of dance lessons

Private Dance Lessons

Private Dance Lessons are the easiest and fastest way to become a good social dancer. Your dance instructor will provide you with the personalized attention you need to achieve your goal in dancing.

No two people learn the same way or at the same rate. Private dance classes offer much more gain in a comparable period of time than any other type of lesson. The general rule is that you will receive as much from one hour of private dance classes as three to four hours of any other type. 


Group Dance Lessons

Group classes are an important addendum to your private instruction. They range generally anywhere from 8 to 15 students. They give you opportunity to dance with a variety of partners, and a chance to meet your fellow students from the studio… Group dance classes are a good way to learn new dance steps that you can take to your private dance lessons for your dance instructor to touch up on. 


Dance Parties

Dance Parties are as important as dance lessons in the learning process. The dance parties give you a wonderful opportunity to practice what you have learned in your private lessons with various partners, professional dance instructors, other students and guests. Dancing in this relaxed environment eases any stress of dancing in front of other people and builds confidence for all of your future dancing. This is also a great way to meet new friends.

Swing

Swing

East Coast Swing – This dance is frequently referred to as Triple Step swing due to the rhythm of the basic triple step. This dance consists of six and eight count patterns, which require a rock step back by both man and woman to begin. It is a circular dance that is danced with a bounce and is very grounded and not high in the legs. This bounce requires the dancer to stay very smooth and not jump around much. East Coast swing is the base for all swing dances.
West Coast Swing – This dance consists of six and eight count patterns, which are done in a slot. The woman no longer rocks back as in East Coast swing, but instead she always walks forward on count one. This dance is usually done to medium tempo swing music, frequently slower than East Coast swing. However, those who achieve a high skill level in this dance can and do dance it to faster tempo music. This dance has no bounce and a very smooth feel. Rarely will you see high kicks or moves which require the dancer to leave the floor.
Hustle – The Hustle (Disco) is a member of the Swing family, and is like the West Coast Swing in pattern. It has a distinct flavor, utilizing Disco style music & revived partnerstyle among nightclub dancers in the 70s. Hustle is danced to the contemporary pop dance music of the last 20 years. It is a fast, smooth dance, with the lady spinning almost constantly, while her partner draws her close and sends her away.
Lindey Hop – This dance came about with the big band era and is danced to fast tempo swing. Most Lindy steps are eight count patterns done in a circular fashion with a lot of kicks, flicks, hops, lifts, and drops. Its been said that this dance gained its name from Charles Lindbergh and his flight to the United States.
Jive – This dance is the European version of East Coast swing. Six and eight count patterns make up this dance, as in East Coast swing but it is quite bouncy with very sharp kicks and flicks. Unlike East Coast swing, Jive is danced to a faster tempo swing music and is meant for competitive style dancing.

Ballroom

Ballroom

Foxtrot – The Foxtrot is one of the most deceiving dances. It looks very easy, but is one of the most difficult dances to do. The dance originated in 1913 when a vaudeville performer by the name of Harry Fox performed a little trot which appealed to the social dance teachers in New York and thus the Foxtrot was born. It has gone through many changes since that time, and is now comprised of more soft and fluid linear movements.
Waltz – The Waltz appeared as a fashionable dance in Bohemia, Austria, Bavaria and other parts of Europe in the late 1700′s. Danced in 3/4 timing, the recurring, even beats of music send the dancers whirling around the floor enjoying the thrill of the Waltz movement.
Tango – The Tango originated in the bordellos of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is done in a slightly different manner than other dances. The hold is very different, with the lady’s arm under the mans, which creates a tighter hold for a quick staccato action and stylized poses. The American Style Tango is a progressive moving along the line of dance using body movement. A staccato movement of the feet and flexed knees highlight the dramatic style of the Tango.
Viennese Waltz – The Viennese Waltz is a fast Waltz which originated in Austria. Joseph Lanner and Johann Strauss wrote the first waltzes in the early 19th century. In the middle of the 20th century, the German, Paul Krebs choreographed the Viennese Waltz style to which we dance today. The dance enjoyed a great deal of popularity not only in Europe, but also in America, and has been used in many Hollywood productions.
Quickstep – As the name implies, the Quickstep is a very quick and lively dance, comprised of hops, skips and kicks. The dance began as a quick version of Foxtrot mixed with the Charleston, and musical Jazz influences.

Latin dance styles

Latin

Cha Cha – An exciting, syncopated, Latin dance, which originated in the 1950s as a slowed down Mambo, the Cha Cha gathers its personality, character, rhythm, basis, and charm from two major dance sources. It is a derivation of the Mambo through its Latin music, and it is also a stepchild of the Swing, as it is danced to a 1-2-3 step rhythm. The Cha Cha gets its name and character from its distinct repetitive foot rhythm.
Rumba – The Rumba was originally a courtship, marriage, and street dance that was African in origin. The Rumba met some opposition from societys upper crust because of the suggestive body and hip movements. 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.
Mambo – The spicy Mambo as we now know it grew out of the Danzon (national music of Cuba), and grasped the imagination of the American dance scene at the close of World War II. Later, fast Swing-Jazz and upbeat Latin music joined in to form the updated and uninhibited Mambo. The Mambo is a spot dance and the steps are quite compact.

Samba – The Samba is a lively Brazilian dance which was first introduced in 1917 and was finally adopted as a ballroom dance by Brazilian society in 1930. It is sometimes referred to as a Samba, Carioca, a Baion or a Batucado. The difference is mainly in the tempo, since the steps in all four dances 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.
Paso Doble – The Paso Doble is a theatrical Spanish dance that characterizes the man as the matador and the lady as his cape. Based on Flamenco dancing, the character of the dance is arrogant and passionate. Paso Doble translates to “Double Step”.
Merengue – The Merengue is a popular dance of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and is a truly lively Latin dance. There is an old tale about a very brave and famous military officer who was wounded in battle and developed a limp. A celebration dance was given for the great hero returning from the war. Rather than embarrass their hero, who limped on his wounded leg while dancing, all the men present favored their leg as well, & thus the Merengue was born. 

Bolero – 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 presented as a very slow type of Rumba rhythm. The music is frequently arranged with Spanish vocals and a subtle percussion effect, usually using Congas or Bongos.
Salsa – Salsa is the Spanish word for “sauce” denoting a “spicy” and “hot” flavor to this popular dance style to a complex mix of many different rhythms. There are indications the term Salsa was coined by radio disc jockeys in Puerto Rico as early as the 1960′s. Later associated with a New York sound developed by Puerto Rican musicians, Salsa is considered the national music and dance of Puerto Rico. The fusion of an Afro-Cuban beat with enhanced jazz textures results in an aggressive high energy pulse which has become popular everywhere. Many of the patterns are closely related to those of the Mambo and Cha-Cha.

Why Dance?

Why dance?
For starters, it is a lot of fun! Fun aside, dancing has so much more to offer than just a good time. Exercise, stress relief, self-confidence, social poise, and a creative outlet are amongst the many benefits you can receive from dancing.

Can I learn to dance?
Even if you have “two left feet” or “no rhythm,” you can learn to dance! Fred Astaire himself is quoted as saying “some people seem to feel that good dancers are born. All the good dancers I know have been taught or trained.”

How long will it take me to become a good dancer?
At Fred Astaire, you will quickly establish confidence with the basic steps of dance. However, the longer you dance the better dancer you will become. As your dance education continues, you will engage in advanced steps and styling that will have you looking and feeling like the dancer you want to be!

Will the introductory offer take care of my dancing needs?
We will not have you dancing up one wall, across the ceiling, and down the other side; however, we will show you the basic steps to the most popular social dances, such as the fox trot, swing and waltz.

What happens after the introductory offer?
After your private lesson, group class and practice party, you will have a better idea of what dances interest you most. Your instructor will help you choose a starter series that fits your specific goals and dance needs.

What should I wear to my lesson?
You can wear anything that you feel comfortable in; however, sneakers have rubber soles that tend to grip the floor. A dress shoe usually moves a little more easily. We do not love stiletto heels because they are not very nice to the floor!

Fred Astaire the legend

Co-founded by the legendary Fred Astaire,our studio set the standard of excellence in dance instruction. From Ballroom to Latin to Swing to Salsa, we offer all styles of dance lessons for all ages and abilities in a fun atmosphere.