Last year’s 100th anniversary of Arthur Murray’s entry into the world of dance instruction spun out multiple celebrations throughout the year, including a worldwide dance party that marked his birthday, which falls on April 4.
This year in Greenwich, it will be a quieter, but no less festive celebration of the man who brought dance into the lives of many people. Before he died in 1991, at the age of 95, Murray had built up the largest chain of dance studios in the world, which includes several locations throughout Fairfield County.
On the anniversary Murray’s birthday this year, the Arthur Murray Grande Ballroom of Greenwich will join First Selectman Peter Tesei in celebrating “Arthur Murray Day,” which will become official with the reading of the proclamation at a ceremony at 12:30 p.m. at the Town Hall.
Christine Georgopulo, president and owner of the Greenwich dance studio, said she is planning to have some dancers at the event, which is scheduled to be held outdoors, and has planned festivities at the studio located on Lewis Street.
Georgopulo, who also is a Greenwich resident, switched gears two years ago and opened the studio, after a 30-year career in real estate development. She said she was spurred to do this based on her experience of becoming a competitive dancer.
“I started as a student … and fell in love with it,” she said. She began dancing in earnest about four years ago.
“I always wanted to be a dancer and an entertainer, but that didn’t pan out,” she said, laughing. “This way, I have an opportunity to have a little piece of that.”
In addition to instruction, she said she has enjoyed community outreach programs, including a class for cancer patients at Greenwich Hospital. Georgopulo said its been a busy time at the studio. She and a couple of her instructors are participating in Curtain Call of Stamford’s Dancing with the Stars fundraising event on May 18 and her dance studio will host a bridal event on April 28.
She said for many, the process of learning about dance and sticking with it can be transformative, not to mention stress-reducing. She said there are other benefits, as well. For instance, she said it can help bolster social skills and ensure you will not be sitting on the sidelines when it comes to weddings, cruises or fundraising galas.
“It put me in the best shape of my life,” she said. “It was just a soul-changing experience. …. You have to be 100 percent present.”