Nervous about the first dance at your wedding?
I love watching first dances. Working here I see everything from the Jr. High Sway, to a full ballroom performance with a lift.
Rob and I took classes from Janet of Dance Ten, a professional dance instruction company in Southern California, several years ago. That is when I started to understand the dedication that goes into a couple preparing for their first dance, as well as the fun involved. I have seen couples look completely relaxed and enjoying their first dance. I can tell they started early and gave themselves the time to get in plenty of practice. Other couples look like they are working really hard to get through it. They took lessons, but could have used more practice before their wedding day. You can see it on their face. They are thinking, very hard. And, then there are always some who just can’t wait for it to be over.
Introductory Dance Lessons
Yesterday, Janet stopped by to give an introductory dance lesson to couples that are currently planning their wedding at Maravilla Gardens. I asked her for some of her top tips for couples interested in feeling comfortable during their first dance:
- Hire a professional instructor who has a good reputation and teaches a variety of different lessons. Generally, it takes 6 lessons just to be able to feel comfortable executing a simple dance. You need to give it at least 12 weeks for a choreographed dance.
- Avoid the idea that you can learn how to dance on YouTube. Janet reports she has had to fix many a couple that has taken this route. Which means she has needed to help couples unlearn poor dance techniques, in addition to all she already has to teach them. (Okay, this one made me laugh thinking of the trouble Rob and I would be in trying to learn to dance off YouTube videos. It wouldn’t be pretty, but it could make a good reality show.)
- Pick a song you both like, because you are both going to be listening to it a lot.
- Before your lessons end, practice with either a skirt similar to the wedding dress, or use the petticoat. A dress will add a whole additional element, and the sound of a dress ripping is about the last one you want to hear on your wedding day. I have also witnessed more than one bride get dipped on the dance floor and fall right out of her strapless dress. Horrifying is the word that comes to mind. Certainly it is something to think about and avoid.
- On your wedding day, before you make your entrance into your reception, take a few minutes to practice your steps. It makes a world of difference to get your head back into the dance with all that is going on that day.
What is the best part of dance lessons?
I also wanted to know what Janet feels are the biggest joys couples find when they take dance lessons, as well as what she loves most about teaching.
- She explained that when you learn to dance, you can only focus on what you are doing and each other. You can’t think about work, wedding plans, or any other responsibility. You are learning a whole new way to communicate. For that, you have to be completely present and focused on your partner. Janet’s couples often tell her that is an unexpected joy during this very busy time in their lives. Learning to dance gives them the opportunity to reconnect.
- Who doesn’t want to look good on their wedding day? Let’s face it. Just knowing how to get on and off of the dance floor looking smooth and confident is pretty cool. Guys, you may feel silly learning how to dance. You might not even want to tell your friends, but believe me; your lady is going to find you extra sexy. Oh yeaaaaah!
- Janet’s favorite thing about teaching her clients to dance is watching them take those first steps. Watching the realization come over them that they CAN do this. And then, seeing them beginning to enjoy it, watching them laughing and having fun? That is the best reward.
- She also appreciates that the dance floor is a level playing field. It really doesn’t matter what you do for work or your social or economic background. Learning to dance for the first time is the same for everyone.
What have I loved about learning to dance for those twelve weeks we took lessons?
Learning to dance was a great investment. My favorite thing is when we are out at a wedding or party, faced with the opportunity to dance. We don't have to hold back and watch others dance. Knowing what to do does come back to us. Could we use more lessons? Sure, but we get by, and it’s fun.