Arthur Murray Inc Trademarks World Championship Dance Titles


New Member
I might have found a way to bring this back to topic! Thanks for your off-the-cuff comment, PasoDancer.

Okay, so to the average person out there, no one really knows or cares what Arthur Murrary or the NDCA are up to with fighting about trademarking World titles. And I'd hazard a guess that a lot of us think that if this actually ended up in court (or arbitration), a reasonable jury or judge would look at this pretty much like we did, that a closed organization trademarking World titles makes little or no sense.

So why is a deal being made of this? Because, as PasoDancer said, "any attention is STILL attention." It's like those organizations' way of letting us know that they are out there doing something.

Although what it is they are trying to accomplish, I still have no idea, I'm guessing either it was an honest but stupid mistake or that it was a sneaky background move in an ongoing turf war. Although I must admit, to me seeing Arthur Murray and the NDCA go at it is kind of like seeing a snake devour its own tail. I thought the top people in Arthur Murray are the top people in the NDCA.


Well-Known Member
Interesting analysis, Laura. :cool: (And, btw, thanks for the un-hijack. You rock. :D )

Hmm. What gives with all the ballroom turf wars, anyway? Makes me wonder. :?


New Member
I'm just guessing here, but I think that in any human activity on planet earth, there are people with different motivations for getting involved. And I think that, in general, people who seek power and control end up being in charge of things. It's not always that the people in control of something have completly altruistic "for the good of all" points of view. Or, if they did, over time those points of view get con-fused with other things such as one's own ego or someone's business plan or whatever. Or, if they still do manage to hang on to their ideals, they can get beaten down by the avaricious streaks in others. It happens in religion, it happens in music, it happens in software companies, it happens in politics, it happens in teaching...who is to say that it doesn't also happen in dancesport administration? Hence, turf wars of varying degrees, ranging from arguing in meetings to legal actions to rappers getting capped outside of nightclubs to things much worse than all of those put together.
A new volley, this time from Michael Mead. I got this via the email list.

Mr. Brian McDonald's response to the NewsFlash article regarding the trademarking of 16 World Dance Titles by Arthur Murray Intl is much appreciated. While he has seldom been observed responding to this type of article, this is a very important issue and we are pleased to have him share his observations with the NDCA members.

A large part of his email seemed to be focused upon my reporting. My responses to the issues raised regarding the reporting can be found at the end of this email, as they should not serve as a distraction from the more salient issues at hand.

The central issues are the Arthur Murray International, Inc. filing for 16 Trademarks on World Championship titles in March of 2005, the confusion over the status of the NDCA Trademarked World Titles, and how all this impacts the NDCA.

The next regularly scheduled NDCA meeting is not until next year. Before that time, and as the facts unfold, here are some of the questions I have every faith that the NDCA Executive committee will be working hard on supplying the answers to on behalf of the NDCA members:

Re Arthur Murray International Inc:

- How did Arthur Murray International, Inc know the NDCA World Titles were available when the NDCA had already stated earlier in July 2004 their intention was to file for them? Why would they bother looking? Did they know the NDCA filing had not been successful?

- Why did Arthur Murray International, Inc file for World Titles? A World title event is surely only a legitimate event when held at an open to the World competition, and Arthur Murray runs only closed competitions.

- Does Arthur Murray International, Inc plan to license the titles out at a later stage to an open competition?

- If that were the case, and if the NDCA has lost the three World titles it applied for as a result, would the NDCA support such a licensed event?

- Will the NDCA file an opposition to the trademarks by Arthur Murray? If so, when? If not, why not?

- Of course, Arthur Murray International, Inc did nothing illegal in filing for the trademarks, does this mean any member organization can file for and run World titles?

- In the light of the fact that they had already filed for the World title trademarks in March 2005, why did Arthur Murray International, Inc not notify the organizers of the September 2005 Embassy Ball, (including Mr. Brian McDonald, President of the NDCA, and Mr. John Kimmins, Vice President of Arthur Murray International, Inc and NDCA Championship/Competition Director) of that fact when the NDCA held their World Championship events at the Embassy Ball?

- When did the two Arthur Murray International, Inc /NDCA employees Mr. John Kimmins (Vice President of Arthur Murray International, Inc and NDCA Championship/Competition Director) and Mr. Tom Murdock, (Arthur Murray International, Inc employee and Executive Secretary of NDCA) first become aware of the Arthur Murray filing for the World Titles trademark?

- How soon after they became aware did they tell anyone else in the NDCA Executive Committee that Arthur Murray International, Inc was filing for World Championship events, some of which would be in potential conflict with those the NDCA had supposedly already filing for?


- There are two Arthur Murray International employees on the NDCA Executive Committee.
- Mr. John Kimmins is Vice President of Arthur Murray International, Inc and NDCA Championship/Competition Director
- Mr. Tom Murdock is an Arthur Murray International, Inc employee and Executive Secretary of NDCA.
In the light of recent events, does this represent a conflict of interest?

- How will the NDCA prevent the possibility of the appearance of similar conflicts of interest in the future?

- On what date were the NDCA World Championship titles filed with the US patent and trademark office?

- Who in the NDCA was responsible for doing the NDCA filings?

- What are the NDCA World titles filings serial numbers?

- Where are the NDCA titles filings viewable on the government patents and trademarks Web site?

- What is the current status of the NDCA trademark filing for three World Championship titles in Smooth Rhythm and Pro-Am by the NDCA?

I am sure more questions will arise as the facts of the matter are uncovered.

If you have any questions you would like to see submitted to the NDCA Executive Committee for clarification, you should contact your NDCA member organization, their job is to represent you and enable your voice to be heard.

If you do not belong to a member organization and have a question you would like answered, you should join one of the NDCA member organizations (See the list on the NDCA Web site directories section at and ask them to submit your question.

Responses to Mr. McDonald’s inaccurate facts list:

1) Mr. McDonald is correct, the Rhythm Style was not part of my original proposal, it was added “during debate” on my proposal (as Mr. McDonald has stated). As a result the final version of my proposal, presented for ratification and passed unanimously, did include the Rhythm Style.

2) I respectfully stand by my recollection of repeatedly requesting a specific reason for having to table my motion the first time it was presented at the NDCA meeting. After not being provided with one, I finally tabled the motion to be heard at the following meeting, as it was requested of me.

3) I reported the first scheduled NDCA World Championships were scheduled for February 2005 and that should have read January 2005. My error and apology.

4) Regarding the rescheduling of the NDCA World events to the Embassy Ball following its cancellation in January 2005, perhaps “eventually re rescheduled” rather than just “scheduled” would have more accurate reflected the fact the second scheduled running of the event at ABC’s USDSC competition following the January cancellation was also cancelled in favor of the Embassy Ball option. My apology for any lack of clarity.

5) Mr. McDonald writes “AMI is not part of the Embassy Ball”, this was not stated as being so in the NewsFlash, so it is unclear why he felt compelled to include this statement in his response.


Michael Mead
NewsFlash Editor
I only just now got that one. The first one I got today was looking for "Johnny and Baby types" for a "reality" series. If it's reality, why don't they get someone with crooked teeth or hairy toes?

Anyway, sorry to threadjack. (Oh- just ONE more question- is the $10 fee on monthly, yearly, or what?)


New Member
Though I could care less about who's holding the world titles, I do find that Mr. Mead's articles are far more interesting and compelling to read.:) I do hope we get response on these specific questions but have a feeling we will not.
Interesting to see that the "next regularly scheduled meeting" of NDCA is not until next year, it is April 2006 now; they can't meet until 2007 ? And i guess 2007 can mean Jan 2007 or Dec 2007 as well ? What should one conclude out of that ? *shakes head*


Well-Known Member
I would imagine their bylaws allow for "special meetings." I have had some experience in drafting bylaws myself, and every one I ever did had a provision for such. I'd be very surprised if they waited a whole year to meet and discuss this. Hmmm...wonder if their bylaws are online...


Well-Known Member
Laura said:
If the issue was as important to them as these press releases make it seem, then I'm sure they could find a way to have a meeting about it. I mean really, it's only April, and there are no more meetings this year? Strange. I assumed they met quarterly, but then I've never read their bylaws. The curious could see if they are on or not. I know the Rule Book is there, but that's not the same.

I just looked and didn't see them, so I enquired. Will let you know.
saludas said:
Is it still true that the chain studios do not have actual competiive marking, but only 'grade' the students? I remember hearing about this - that potentially everyone in a heat could have a first place...
I recently particpated in an AM competition. I was intitally told that it was set up like you said (ie a grade, not ranking students against one another). But when I got there I found out I had been misled...we were indeed ranked against one another. Plus it was bogus in that no heat had more than 4 students in the same age group and level category, so nobody "won" less than 4th place. It is true that in each heat there were sometimes more than one person with a first place...but if you looked closely, you could see that in these heats were people in different categories. Many times I was the only student in my age/level in a heat, and in these cases I always "won" first.

I was told by other students who go to these things regularly that it is common for students new to these things to not realize they are being ranked against one's the way the studio management presents it to the newbies. I was kind of pissed, because I would not have gone had I realized it was a competition (becuase I'm astute enough to realize I don't have a solid enough foundation in the fundametals...I have no business competing yet) Still, it was combined with a trip that was fun. And after I got over being pissed that I was lied to and I realized that the whole competition was bogus, and that winning or losing really didn't mean anything (what does being 4th out of 4 really mean, anyway, after all?) I did have fun.


Well-Known Member

Laura, you sure caught them with their proverbial pants down ! World title indeed, much like the world champions in Football, base ball and hockey--- to the exclusion of everyone out side the u,s. competitive arena. The arrogance is astounding.,-- Please oh please put the one simple word in front- CLOSED . ( and or open if so designated ) In principle, I agree with the motion and am suprised the official board inthe u.k. has not stepped in ( maybe it has behind closed doors ) In the final analysis, its all about POWER !!


Well-Known Member
Chain schools

As usual , a lot of mis information and a lot of first hand experience from individuals . There is so much in these posts , it would take me a month to clarify everything . Having worked for chain schools in every capacity over nearly 50 yrs ( even worked for them whilst i am independant ) like most apple barrels, there are great ones, and the farther down the barrel you go, some times tainted and some times bruised .Not possible to tar all schools with the same brush. Have worked for owners in both A / M and F / A, some great . some good ,and several living in the stone age .Perspective, dance schools, no matter their stripe ,, are a BUSINESS ! . One tailors ones product to the clientele you wish to attract . The right or wrong of their business practices is moot. Have known many independants who have inflated prices for various activities . ( probaly learned from chains ) Everyone has the right to walk away if you are not happy with the product. Point. I am not condoning all of their business practices , only giving a reality check .The bottom line is this, many great teachers and dancers have come from chain school beginnings .And, did you realise that even here in the u.k. we had chain schools, with franchise similarities (Bob garganicos, Victor Sylvester for e.g. ) admittedly, their businesses were run on somewhat different lines , but , still a business when all said and done . Just one last tid bit, ran a comp many moons ago ( independant ) long before the mixing of the " tribes ", and in my pro. amer. event, a fred astaire teacher danced with a A / M teacher with the blessing of both owners !! .Did they have foresight , or what ? ( by the way, no chain school judges on panel )


New Member
SexyMan2Cha said:
So hey Laura, how much did one of those AM comps cost back in the day?
It was a long time ago and I was doing FADS not AM, so my memory is getting hazy, but I seem to recall that when I was able to get a la carte pricing, it was $75 per heat. When I left FADS and went to an independent school and did NDCA comps, I was only paying $45 per heat. These prices included the entry fee and the teacher's per-dance free. Plus I'd have to pay for ballroom tickets, and the FADS would make me pay for the final gala banquet at the end of the comp, too.

It took about nine years for the independent prices to catch up to my old FADS prices, but I think the FADS prices at some studios are even higher now.
pygmalion said:
Interesting analysis, Laura. :cool: (And, btw, thanks for the un-hijack. You rock. :D )

Hmm. What gives with all the ballroom turf wars, anyway? Makes me wonder. :?
There's NO turf in a ballroom... It's hardwood-wars... ;)

A turf-war is what I'm gonna have with my erstwhile neighbor....


Well-Known Member
I made an unbreakable promise to come there this year. (What the heck is a pinkie promise, anyway?) I guess I'm too damn old to know. lol. and I'd So love to see you, even if it's only lunch over Publix sub sandwiches lol I'll Pm you my numbers. :) )

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