The Arthur Murray Story

Arthur Murray Coquitlam/Tri-Cities

Our studio opened in 2004 on Westwood Street in Port Coquitlam.  Barbara and Brent, having taught with the Arthur Murray Studios in Saskatoon and Vancouver for many years, had the opportunity to open a new branch studio from scratch.  From a tiny dance studio with a just a few initial students we have grown into one of the most successful Arthur Murray Dance Studios in the country.

To see pictures of us building our first facility check out the Coquitlam Dance Studio build-out photo album in our photo album gallery.  We have since made the move to a new location at 212 – 1090 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam and we look forward to growing into our new space!

Lower Mainland of British Columbia (Greater Vancouver, BC)

Arthur&Kathryn mid-1950s

Arthur Murray Front Desk in 1959

Locally Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been teaching social and ballroom dancing continuously since 1948 making it by far the best established dance studio in the Vancouver area. It would be impossible to quantify the thousands of successful dance students that have passed through the doors for more than 65 years.


In an industry where so many dance studios have come and gone, where a mere 5 or 10 years’ existence can be seen as a promotional opportunity, this tremendous longevity speaks volumes about the efficacy, trustworthiness and stability of the Arthur Murray studios system. Although the studio operates on a very personal student by student and local community basis, being part of the world’s largest ballroom dancing organization ensures that all Arthur Murray Studios are in touch with the latest trends on a global scale.

For a look at some of the photos from the past years of dancing check out the Arthur Murray Vancouver “The Last 60 years” Dance Photo Page.

Arthur Murray, The very beginning….

ArthurwithPartner charlston in 1930sArthur Murray International, Inc. is in fact the second oldest franchise organization in the U.S. and is known around the world as a prominent entertainment company with franchises located throughout Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, Europe, the Middle-East, Japan, South Africa and Australia. With the beginning of a new millennium, social dancing is again a significant part of popular culture for all generations. Today the Arthur Murray Franchised Dance Studios continue a tradition of more than 100 years in teaching the world to dance. The history of the Arthur Murray Franchised Dance studios began in 1912 with a man named Arthur Murray, an American symbol of entrepreneurial success and social dancing. Murray was among the first to use advertising techniques considered cutting edge at the time. His concept of selling dance lessons by mail, one step at a time, took the use of direct mail to a new level.

Murray’s creative use of print advertising attracted national attention as did his business acumen. In March of 1920, using students from Georgia Tech, Murray arranged to have music transmitted to a group of his dance students a few miles away. This was the world’s first radio broadcast of live dance music for dancing. Prior to World War II, Arthur Murray teachers were a regular part of every first-class steamship cruise and during the Thirties, the studios introduced such dances to the public as the “Lambeth Walk” and “The Big Apple.” In fact it was “The Big Apple” that launched Mr. Murray’s one studio into the largest chain of dance studios in the world today. In 1938 the first official opening of a franchised dance school occurred in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1942 singer Betty Hutton with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra recorded the big hit song “Arthur Murray Taught Me Dancing In A Hurry” for the movie “The Fleet’s In” and by 1946 there were 72 Arthur Murray Dance Studios across America.

Arthur Murray was the first to realize the growing popularity of the Latin dances in America during the 1950’s. Many conventions were held in Cuba during that time to give Arthur Murray dance trainers first-hand knowledge of the hot new Latin styles and moves that were in vogue and becoming popular. In July 1950, Mr. Murray purchased five fifteen-minute television spots on CBS and persuaded his wife Kathryn to do the teaching. Before the third show, Arthur bought a half-hour summer series on ABC. The show was called the “Arthur Murray Dance Party.” By May 1952, the Murray’s had televised almost 100 programs. Their TV ratings climbed and in the summer of 1952 they signed with their first sponsor, General Foods. Millions of viewers all over the United States fell in love with the show and flocked to the Arthur Murray Studios throughout the country. This highly popular show ran for twelve years on national television.

When Arthur and Kathryn Murray retired in 1964, a group of franchisees purchased the company and brought a fresh new spirit and leadership to it. Under its new leadership, the Arthur Murray Franchised Dance Studios has kept pace with the rapidly changing “youth culture” and continues today to flourish as the world’s largest dance instruction organization. Arthur Murray dance teachers can be found not only in the studios, but on the movie sets in Hollywood; backstage on Broadway; and partnering with major entertainers to promote the music that the world dances to. Whenever a movie involves dance, it’s a good bet that AMI has been involved in some way, shape or form. Such movies as Dirty Dancing, Dirty Dancing II, Dance With Me, Beautician And The Beast, Flash Dance, An American President, True Lies, Saturday Night Fever and Scent Of A Woman are some of the films which have used Arthur Murray instructors to either teach a dance to the stars and/or dance in the film.


The Arthur Murray Franchised Dance Studio’s name appears regularly in major magazines that include Vogue, Martha Stuart Wedding, Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated, Woman’s Day and more. Wherever advertisers want to reach consumers with a message of romance, intimacy or just plain fun, you’ll see dancing, from the Gap’s now famous Khaki Swing commercials to dancing M&M’s and gas pumps. Arthur Murray International’s commitment to dance goes even further, with senior management heavily involved in the world of professional and amateur competitive dance, known as Dancesport. Many of Arthur Murray’s officials have contributed to bringing the best of competitive ballroom to the forefront as an olympic sport.

All Arthur Murray franchised Dance Studios are independently owned and operated by individuals who started as dance instructors and worked their way up to the executive level. By the time they are qualified to purchase a franchise, they have experienced every phase of studio operations, from teaching and supervising to marketing and managing. Building from within has kept the studio system strong, with franchisees that are committed to being the best with the Spirit of Excellence, which is the hallmark of the entire Arthur Murray system. Currently there are approximately 260 Arthur Murray Franchised Dance Studios worldwide in 21 countries worldwide.