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The Best Studio for Dance Lessons in NJ

Looking for the best place for dance lessons in NJ? Here’s our history. Fred Astaire Dance Studios has served Essex County for more than 50 years. Founded by Vincent Bulger and Kay Connors, we moved from Verona to Upper Montclair in 1998, where we reined as top studio for dance lessons and ballroom instructions for 10 years in a row. In 2005, Kostadin Bidjourov and Carrie Babcock became owners.

Carrie Babcock was a dance major, has choreographed and had major roles in more than 25 musical theater productions, is a member of SAG/AFTRA and has danced at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT and Disney-MGM. TV appearances as a dancer include AS THE WORLD TURNS, The TV Academy of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame Awards, and AMERICA’S BALLROOM CHALLENGE.

Kostadin Bidjourov, co-owner, graduated from Montclair State, is an undefeated Bulgarian Ballroom Champion, and has several US Professional Titles and has produced many US Pro-Am Champions and Finalists.

Kostadin and Carrie have 5 US Ballroom titles and more than 20 Regional titles. They can be seen on the 2006 broadcast of PBS TV’s AMERICA’S BALLROOM CHALLENGE.

Fred Astaire of Upper Montclair prides itself on its flexible and adaptable programs, and the integrity, skill and professionalism of its entire staff. We make dance lessons fun and learning to dance easy and enjoyable!

At Fred Astaire of Upper Montclair we specialize in teaching you to dance, with a partner, quickly, effortlessly and without any pushy sales tactics. Our first two packages, the Introductory Program and Beginners’ Program, are the only two programs that aren’t custom made for you. After that you design your own. Don’t want groups? Don’t pay for them. Want to take 3 groups and 1 private a month? That’s ok too! See for yourself why we’re better than the rest.

Dancing enhances every aspect of your life. Dancing Makes Life Easier. Troubles melt away on the dance floor. Endorphins are released. You just feel better!

Wedding Program
Our customized wedding dance program gives you the confidence when that magical moment arrives and you step on the floor looking like you’ve been dancing together forever. Our goal is to mak you look and feel confident, not stiff and awkward or counting your steps!


You will love the way we teach at Fred Astaire Upper Montclair.

604 Valley Rd.,
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043, USA



Hours: Mon – Fri 1:00 pm – 10:00 pm

The Big Picture

Dancing lessons are a wonderful way to enjoy your life. In fact, our mission at Fred Astaire is “to enrich the lives of each and every person that comes into contact with the Fred Astaire Dance Studios.” You might like to read about some of the ways we’ve enriched our students lives on our YELP page, or some Google Reviews.

In addition to teaching beginning dance lessons, our studio and staff runs a very successful competitive dance team, with more than 20 active competitors who travel around the country to compete in regional and National levels. No one comes to the studio with the intention of becoming a ballroom competitor, but many of our students have become seasoned competitors.

We also have a number of social events a year that enable you to use your dancing outside the studio, and mix and mingle with other like-minded dancers. We have practice parties almost every week, themed parties like Valentine’s Day and Halloween, and formal parties with showcases, celebrating our Anniversary in May and our Holiday Snow-Ball in December. Outside the studio we have banquets, cruises, showcases and other social events designed to enhance your love of dance.

Showcases are a great way to show off your creativity and express yourself. We have all tiers from “works-in-progress” demonstrations all the way to you starring in your own showcase in September complete with lights, costumes and makeup.

Get started today! Call 973-783-8999

History of Fred Astaire Dance Studios

Today, one almost can’t turn on the TV or radio or, open a newspaper, magazine, or web page without hearing a mention of Mr. Fred Astaire in reference to dancing. He has left a lasting impact on the world and when people think of a dancing legend, Fred Astaire is the first to come to mind. We are proud of our great dance heritage which began in 1947 when the Master of dance himself, Mr. Fred Astaire, co-founded our company. Mr. Fred Astaire, considered to be the greatest multitalented dancer of all time, wanted to establish a chain of studios under his name to make sure that his techniques would be preserved and passed onto the public. Mr. Astaire was instrumental in the choice of dance curriculum and instructional techniques. With the opening of the first Fred Astaire Studio on Park Avenue in New York City, Fred Astaire brought his immense talent out of the glamour of Hollywood and onto the dance floors of America and the world. “Some people seem to think that good dancers are born.” Astaire once observed. “All the good dancers I’ve known have been taught or trained. To me, dancing has always been fun. I enjoy every minute of it. I am glad that I can now put my knowledge to use in bringing personal confidence and a feeling of achievement to so many people.” Today, numerous Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studios located in cities throughout North America and internationally, are required to maintain the highest standards of excellence through our National Dance Board and Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studios curriculum certification. Although Mr. Astaire is no longer with us in person, our studios have produced a wealth of amateur and professional dancers who are living embodiments of his style and grace.

The best dance lessons in NJ

The best dance lessons in NJ

Our studio offers dance instruction on Private and Group levels as well as Practice Sessions and at every Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studio, learning how to dance is made to feel easy and fun.

On your first lesson, you’ll learn the basic elements on which all dance patterns are based. By the end of your first lesson you’ll be on your way to dancing!

There are so many ways dancing can enrich your life!
It all starts with a phone call!
Get started today!
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Mr. Fred Astaire

Biography Of Mr. Fred Astaire

Fred-AstaireFred Astaire, born in 1899, began show business at the age of 5, performing on Broadway and in vaudeville with his sister, Adele. Then he headed to Hollywood where he began a successful partnership with Ginger Rogers for nine movies.
By 1976, he had made 33 musical films with esteemed co-stars such as Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Ann Miller, Debbie Reynolds and Cyd Charisse. He also co-starred with the biggest actors of that time, including Bing Crosby, Red Skelton, and Gene Kelly.

Fred Astaire was not only a great dancer – changing the face of the American movie musical with his style and grace – but he was also an actor in many different dramatic and comedic roles in both movies and TV specials. He won multiple Emmys for his work in television. The Towering Inferno (1974) earned him an Oscar nomination. He received an honorary Academy Award in 1950 for his “unique artistry and his contributions to the technique of musical pictures.”
Fred Astaire died in 1987 from pneumonia. With his passing, we lost a true dancing legend. His effortless lightness and grace may never be seen again. As Mikhail Baryshnikov observed at the time of his death, “No dancer can watch Fred Astaire and not know that we all should have been in another business.”

Fred Astaire’s Dance Partners

Although famous for his magical partnership with Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire also danced with the leading ladies of his time, including Cyd Charisse, Lucille Bremer, Joan Leslie, Leslie Caron, Vera Ellen, Barrie Chase, Judy Garland, Eleanor Powell and Rita Hayworth.
“For ballroom dancing, remember that your partners have their own distinctive styles also. Cultivate flexibility. Be able to adapt your style to that of your partner. In doing so, you are not surrendering your individuality, but blending it with that of your partner.”
– Fred Astaire from The Fred Astaire Top Hat Dance Album, 1936

Fred Astaire Films

Fred Astaire starred in 31 musical films. He was famous for his collaboration with Ginger Rogers in the following films:

  • Flying Down To Rio (1933)
  • The Gay Divorcee (1934)
  • Roberta (1935)
  • Top Hat (1935)
  • Follow The Fleet (1936)
  • Swing Time (1936)
  • Shall We Dance (1937)
  • Carefree (1938)
  • The Story Of Vernon & Irene Castle (1939)
  • The Barkleys Of Broadway (1949)

Songs Introduced By Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire introduced many classic songs by famous American composers, including:

  • Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” from The Gay Divorcee (1932)
  • Jerome Kern’s “Nice Work If You Can Get It” from A Damsel In Distress (1937) and “A Fine Romance,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” and “Never Gonna Dance” from Swing Time (1936)
  • Irving Berlin’s “Cheek To Cheek” and “Isn’t This A Lovely Day” from Top Hat (1936) and “Let’s Face The Music And Dance” from Follow The Fleet (1936)
  • Gershwins’ “A Foggy Day” from A Damsel In Distress (1937) and “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off,” “They All Laughed,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” and “Shall We Dance” from Shall We Dance (1937)