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May 25, 2011

THE LAST DANCE

After 36 years, Gene Murray dance studio to close

(Continued)

He quickly switched to a lecture-demonstration for parents at the end of the year.

He garnered a reputation as a serious dance teacher, which may have cost him a few students more interested in tutus than training, but he never minded. Over the years he got referrals from throughout the area for kids with a serious interest in dance, and he prided himself when some of them went on to professional schools and careers as dancers and dance teachers.

"You never know," he said, "when there's going to be somebody out of that group that may have that talent that you can nurture and bring out."

Even for those who will never dance on a stage, he says, dance training has inestimable value.

"It's such discipline," he said. "It's blood, sweat and tears."

And as a result, he said, dance students learn to work hard, to focus and not to sweat the small stuff.

It's great physical training — "You see it in the way you hold yourself," he said.

"And you get a love for classical music and an appreciation for art, which is missing today in so many schools.

"When I was in grammar school, we'd all collect money and go to the opera once a year. We'd have to wear a suit, and Mr. Murphy would give us a music lesson. ... It gave all of us a respect for that.

"I feel bad for these kids that have never seen a ballet or an opera. They make fun of it because they don't know what it's all about."

Murray still teaches almost daily, and he still loves it; he hopes to teach some classes at other studios after his own closes. But he moved to South Boston several years ago, and keeping up his own studio in Salem has become too difficult.

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