When you begin to plan your wedding, out come the bridal magazines, or scrapbooks of treasured photos and ideas. Your first thought is of the dress, and the ceremony. As the day approaches, suddenly you remember – I have to dance in front of people! For most couples, their only experience with partner dancing is rocking back and forth in a teenage slow dance.
Your first dance symbolizes so many things. It is the first time he takes you in his arms to dance as man and wife. It is two people working together in partnership. It is also the start of the party!
Although Waltz is the traditional first dance, there are many other styles of dance: a passionate Tango, a jazzy Foxtrot, a hot Latin number, a fun Swing, or even a Disco dance! Whatever you choose, the most important thing is that you feel relaxed and confident on your wedding day.
Your first dance can be as simple or as dramatic as you like…provided you start early enough. Most couples wait until the last month to set up their dance lessons. This may be fine. It all depends on what you have in mind.
Often couples request choreography. A choreographed dance routine is actually a series of dance steps strung together in a set order, to best interpret the accents of the music. People generally think that this is the easiest way, as they have the idea that if they memorize their dance it will be more successful and take the pressure off the groom. Well…
Waltz, for example, is considered a slow dance. In each measure of Waltz music the dancers make three steps. Since Waltz music has 29 –30 measures of music per minute, the average Waltz routine would require you to memorized 270 individual foot placements!
Wait! Don’t be discouraged! You still have lots of options for a beautiful dance.
- If you choose to continue with the idea of choreography, you will need to begin 6 months in advance of the wedding and take one hour of instruction per week. Your result will be worth the effort. The learning process will be a fun, romantic way to spend time together, and on your wedding day, you’ll dance a routine filled with variety.
- If you don’t have the time or inclination to learn a choreographed routine, just learn to dance! Learn however many steps you have time for and dance freestyle. This means that the groom dances whatever steps come to mind, in any order he chooses. Add one or two private lessons to learn a nice entrance for coming onto the dance floor, and a nice dip or under-arm turn to end your song.
Private or Group lessons?
This will depend on how much time you have, what you hope your end result to be, and your budget.
With Private lessons, you will receive the benefit of one-on-one instruction. Your instructor will teach you the dance steps that best suit your personal style. You will learn an entrance, and exit, and as much variety as you have time for…or if you have chosen choreography, it is private lessons which will be necessary to learn and perfect it.
Group lessons are an economical way to learn to dance, if you have time. The group class will cover various dances so you will learn several different types of dance that you can use at your reception and in your future life together. Group lessons are also a great way to get in some extra practice if you have waited until the last minute.
If you have:
1 – 2 months: take 3 – 7 private lessons (don’t plan on one the week of the wedding as you will be too busy by then).
3 – 4 months: a weekly private lesson will provide you with enough time to dance confidently and competently with quite a bit of variety; possibly a short choreography — or a freestyle dance with more skill, styling, and variety.
5 – 6 months: weekly private lessons will allow you to have a choreographed dance routine — or learn to dance in the group class and then take a private lesson or two for a special entrance and exit.
6 – 12 months: weekly private lessons for a choreographed or freestyle first dance.
More time means increased skill level, more variety, and more style or enough time to become quite competent taking only group lessons.