Christy ruined the carpet of every bedroom she ever had as a child – by dancing for hours behind closed doors. In her imagination she was performing on stage and screen, as well as teaching celebrities to dance, act and sing (in imagination land you don’t need to take dance lessons to become a teacher to the stars).
In her early teens Christy didn’t want to choose between acting, singing or dancing…so musical theatre it had to be. Through her teens she found that acting was her most prominent natural talent and moved slowly away from the musical end of things. She competed in competitions for scene performance and improv, while keeping the dancing alive by continuing to destroy carpeting at home.
Fast forward a few years to the Big Move to Vancouver, where Christy had big plans to become a professional actress. She got headshots, signed up for acting classes, and began looking for a dance studio so she could add “salsa dancing” as a special skill on her resume. The first dance studio she went to was well-known, affordable and conveniently located…but they were so rude!! Walking through the door she was greeted (and by greeted, we mean ignored) by a clique of girls in ballet gear waiting for the next class to begin. Behind the front desk was a guy who was too busy chatting up the ballerinas to notice the potential new client standing in front of him. When she finally got the employee’s attention and asked about salsa classes, he waved dismissively toward the door, said “There’s a schedule on the wall outside. Take one.” and went back to his ballerinas.
Leaving that studio feeling somewhat deflated, she saw another sign for a dance studio. The sign read “Arthur Murray”. It said something about teaching Ballroom and Latin dances, so up she went to check it out. The studio was closed, open Tuesday to Saturday, and it was Monday. Just as she was about to turn and go, a man with a big smile appeared and unlocked the door. He was warm, welcoming and filled with information. His name was Brent and he had been practicing with his partner Barbara when he saw Christy peering awkwardly through the window. Arthur Murray offered a free sample private lesson to get started – did she want to schedule that now? Christy had only ever taken lessons in groups and a private lesson sounded really scary. How can you hide in the back of the class when you don’t ‘get it’ in a private lesson?? She left without scheduling a class, but couldn’t find any other decent-seeming dance studios around. Soon, she called Arthur Murray to schedule her free lesson – even if it ended up being awful and scary, at least it would be free.
That first lesson wasn’t awful or scary. It was awesome. In fact, so were all the subsequent lessons. Everyone was so friendly, and private lessons allowed her to learn more than just some salsa patterns – she learned Foxtrot, Rumba, Tango, Swing and lots of techniques for being a good dance partner. She found that she was enjoying the dance lessons and the community at the studio much more than the acting classes. Brent returned to sit down with Christy and her teacher to discuss the next set of lessons, and uttered the phrase that would change her life: “Have you ever considered a career as a dance instructor?”.
Christy went into teacher training a few weeks later and never looked back. Since becoming a teacher she has had the opportunity to perform and compete, but found that the most rewarding part of a career with Arthur Murray was the students she had the opportunity to work with. Taking part in someone else’s journey and helping people to grow and discover a new life for themselves through dancing turned out to be more fulfilling than a cheering crowd could ever be. To this day, Christy refers to all the studio’s students as her “babies”, simple, because there is no other thing in the world that could bring such joy to her life. She has also stopped ruining the carpet at home – but only because she now has hardwood floors