Arthur Murray International Inc., together with its franchisees, is the largest and most prominent dance organization in the world with 270 dance studios in 22 countries. Last year, franchise owners Chris and Daisy Lynam participated in The Longest Day with 16 teams from Northern California, Washington, and Hawaii, raising over $50,000. Arthur Murray has now signed on as a Global Team and is committed to ending Alzheimer’s by raising even more funds and awareness throughout the nation.
In the Puget Sound region, there are six Arthur Murray Dance Schools participating in The Longest Day this year. They will be hosting a fundraiser at their annual Medal Ball on June 3rd and a hosting a teach-a-thon the week of June 10th, in which $1.00 per lesson will go directly to funding Alzheimer’s care, support and research.
Kelly Peters, a New Student Counselor at the Arthur Murray Dance School in Bellevue, wanted to extend the Arthur Murray partnership and commitment by getting more involved in the cause. She had previous experience teaching dance to people with cognitive challenges and wanted to bring the benefits of ballroom dancing to people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
“Dancing is for everyone,” says Kelly. “It’s fun, it’s good exercise, and it’s a great way to meet new people. I wanted to create a safe and nonjudgmental place for people living with memory loss to enjoy themselves and learn to dance.”
Arthur Murray Dance Schools in Bellevue, Everett, Federal Way and North Seattle are now offering Dementia-Friendly Dance Classes on a weekly basis for people living with memory loss and their care partners. For a list of days, times and locations, please click here. The drop-in classes are 40 minutes long and focus on a variety of dance styles such as the foxtrot, tango and merengue.
Class participants have given the new classes rave reviews. Here is a testimonial from a couple who attended a class in Bellevue:
“This morning’s dance class exceeded my expectations! Not only were Kelly and Barbara upbeat and knowledgeable, but they engaged us like friends, making certain we were having a delightful experience. There are many losses in this dementia/caregiving journey, not the least of which are personality and relationship changes. Being guided with joy and support, we were reunited through dance, and it was beyond wonderful! Thank you for all you’ve done to put this class in place. We will be attending as often as possible.”
As for Kelly, she sees these classes as a way to give back to the community and honor those in her family who lived with memory loss. “Teaching these classes is a way for me to pay it forward — but my students also bring me so much joy! It’s an honor to share my passion for dance with them and see the happiness it brings to their lives.”
You can learn more about Arthur Murray’s involvement with The Longest Day here.
If you’d like to plan your own event or turn your hobby into a fundraiser for The Longest Day, visit alz.org/tld for more information!