Keep Dancing

I own a few of the Arthur Murray series of dance albums released by Capitol Records. The earlier pressings came with certificates for 2 free dance instruction courses at the Arthur Murray dance studios. This fact is touted on the back covers of all the albums...

A year or two ago I came across the Rock 'n' Roll album in the series. The '50s rock music didn't interest me much but the fantastic brightly colored cover did. After a couple months seeing the album at the record store I finally gave in and bought it. I got home and listened to it once through and then put it away, occasionally taking it out to listen to the great version of "One Mint Julep."

Recently I had the album out and as I removed the record from the sleeve, a little piece of paper fell out...

I guess whoever originally owned the album had no interest in learning to rock 'n' roll dance from Arthur Murray (I don't blame them) and so the certificate remained with the record for 40+ years.

Noticably absent from the certificate is an expiration date, meaning that I should be able to take it to any of the several Arthur Murray dance studios in the Washington area and get two free introductory dance lessons. Perhaps I could learn the basics of the mambo in one lesson and the rhumba in another...or maybe cha cha cha in one lesson and fox trots in another...or I could concentrate my studies on one dance, like La Chunga.

As we start the 21st century, Arthur Murray franchised dance studios seem to be going strong. The web site,, features some snazzy Flash animation and the company still uses the same outline of two dancers as a logo. There's even a new, web-only certificate that looks a little like the old one above. I wonder if they play any of the albums from the Arthur Murray series during lessons. Probably not -- I'm told that the hot dance these days is Lambada: The Forbidden Dance.

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(no, there was never an Arthur Murray Lambada album)