Still searching for a New Year’s resolution? How about learning a new skill? The Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Budapest launches its classes for the new year on 6 January, and all skill levels are invited to hit the dance floor under personalised instruction.

Dance instructor Krisztina Hera has been dancing since she was three. “Dance is like oxygen to me,” she explains. “And I love teaching it just as much – really, truly.” A native of Hungary, and long-time resident in Miami, she teaches about 80% of the classes at the studio, which are all in English.

Namesake Arthur Murray began his dance studio in 1912, coaching such pupils as Eleanor Roosevelt and John D Rockefeller Jr. Now there are 260 studios worldwide, in 26 countries, and catering to 40 million students. The studio in Budapest is the first in the city, and the first in Hungary.

“Everyone has a different reason for why they’re here,” says Krisztina. “We get couples come in who want to dance at their wedding, single guys who want to meet girls, shy people who want more confidence… Once we had an 83-year-old man come in, he’d never danced before in his life. Now he’s dancing every day!”

There are two types of American Ballroom dance that are taught at the school: smooth dances and rhythm. Smooth dances include the waltz, tango, foxtrot and travelling dances around the room. Rhythm dances “encapsulate everything else,” says Krisztina: swing, rhumba, cha-cha, salsa, samba…

The school’s motto is Walk in, Dance out.

Classes are taught through the Three Way System. First there are one-on-one classes, to master the steps and learn the basics of dancing. Next are the group classes, where students get used to dancing with different partners. Finally come the Practice Parties, to get a feel for dancing “out in the real world”, but with instructors on hand to guide and teach. “In one lesson I can teach you enough to feel confident in a single dance,” Krisztina promises. “You’ll never say no to a dance invitation again!”

The first group lesson is always complimentary.

The syllabus in the Arthur Murray programme categorises ability levels into Bronze, Silver and Gold, with four levels in each. As students progress, they pass benchmark exams and receive certificates of completion, tracking their dance journey.

“I like when someone comes in who has never danced before,” says Krisztina with a smile. “I like to prove to them that they can dance!”

About 90% of students learn up to the Bronze level, known as the Social Standard – enough variety to participate in social dances, as well as styling techniques to feel comfortable on the dance floor. Silver and Gold levels are for students interested in competing, and getting to a higher level of competence.

There are also kids’ classes on Saturdays, for children aged from three to ten.

Classes run from 8am to 10pm, with weekends available on request. “We get couples who come in before work,” says Krisztina, “as well as businessmen who arrive during their lunch break, and those with traditional schedules who come in the evening”. Along with classes, there are also Dance Workouts twice a week, and events involving local entrepreneurs.

“There was a local winemaker who wanted to get her products out to a larger audience, so we thought, why not have a wine-tasting event at the studio?” explains Krisztina. Wine & Dance has since been held three times.

Krisztina is the kind of person who you like upon meeting: smiling, sincere and bright-eyed. You believe her when she gushes, “I feel that through dancing, I’m really changing peoples’ lives!”

Find more information at the Arthur Murray Dance School website, where classes and timetables are available to peruse.