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About Chris & Joanne

Chris & Joanne have both been dancing since they were tiny tots. Their passion, dedication and enthusiasm is the reason why Arthur Murray Crows Nest remains successful to this day.

The Crows Nest Studio opened its doors in 1968 and began teaching the upper and lower North Shore of Sydney how to dance. In 1995, Chris Michaels and Joanne Middonte took over the Studio from Chris' uncle, Nicholas Romano. They’re successful for two simple reasons... they love to teach and they love to dance.

Chris Michaels

Chris Michaels Arthur Murray Crows Nest
Chris Michaels Arthur Murray Crows Nest

Hailing from Greek decent, Chris was required to religiously attend Greek class from a very young age. Classes involved learning Greek dancing and it was this exposure to the world of dance that ignited his life-long passion passion for the arts.

In his early teens he began training in classical ballet. Not only did he have the physical attributes for a classical dancer, but his teacher soon realised he had a natural gift for the style and urged him to consider classical as a chosen path. However, another career called and Chris was offered a position to train with the Australian Airforce as a pilot. An opportunity too good to pass up, he accepted.

In the meantime, his uncle, godfather and owner of the Crows Nest Studio, Nicholas Romano, contacted Chris begging him to come to Sydney. The Studio was experiencing rapid growth and they were in desperate need for male instructors. Chris dropped everything and made the move to Sydney.

Within his first year, he was teaching 50 - 60 hour lessons per week and was ranked as the Top Advanced Instructor world-wide. He also became Australia's Top Choreographer and Dance Director and has won multiple awards for his efforts.

Still a very active instructor, Chris' passion is in the training of staff. He is proud to have produced some of Australia's Top Instructors and American style competitors.

Visit Chris' website.

5 Minutes with Chris

Favourite Arthur Murray memory?
First Superama in Disney World Orlando, Florida.

What's your best piece of advice for new students?
Don't think too much, give yourself time to learn.

What's your best piece of advice for the seasoned dancer?
Never settle for good, strive to be the best you can be.

Best overall dance tip?
Fake it till you make it.

If you weren’t a dancer, what would you be doing right now?
Flying an F18 in the Airforce.

Joanne Middonte

Joanne Middonte Arthur Murray Crows Nest
Joanne Middonte Arthur Murray Crows Nest

Joanne has been dancing up a storm since she was just 3 years old. Involved in all forms of dance, from classical to jazz to tap, she was exposed to ballroom and latin dancing in her teen years and discovered a passion for the style.

After finishing high school, Joanne was enrolled in Sydney University to study law. Her family however, encouraged her to take a year off and do some travelling around the world. However before the suitcase was packed and the tickets were bought, she stumbled upon an ad for trainee teachers at the Arthur Murray Crows Nest Studio in the local paper. Fate was calling and something just felt right about the idea so Joanne applied immediately. 

It became clear pretty quickly this was Joanne's true vocation. Teaching people how to dance combined two of her favourite things - her love of dance and her desire to help people. In her first year, she was awarded the Top Specialist Instructor world-wide and went on to win numerous national and international awards.

Still an active instructor, Joanne is passionate about the benefits of dancing and how it can improve the quality of life for everyone involved.

5 Minutes with Joanne

What's your favourite dance?
So hard to answer! I’d go with Bolero (if I have to make a choice!).

What's your favourite song to dance to?
Beautiful Maria by Mambo Kings - it's a Bolero of course!

What's your best piece of advice for new students?
Learning to dance is a journey. Enjoy every step of the way.

What's your best piece of advice for seasoned dancers?
Practice, practice, practice!

Is there anything you’ve learned through dancing or teaching that was unexpected? One of my favourite things is teaching couples. The satisfaction achieved when you can sit back and watch them shine on the dance floor together is simply magic!