Guest Contributor: Victoria Wray, owner and choreographer of The First Dance Wedding Choreography
The First Dance is an exciting, new dance studio in Christchurch specialising in wedding dance choreography. Offering private lessons to couples and wedding parties
As if wedding planning wasn’t stressful enough, you then have to get up and dance in front of everyone!? I hear this all too often. Yes, there is a lot to think about when planning a wedding, I myself have just been in the thick of it! So I can relate all too well. There’s the year of planning every little detail, the excitement of writing and reciting your vows to your one and only, having your photo taken from every possible angle, celebrating with your closest friends and family and then…. the first dance.
I saw a need for what I do, choreographing and teaching couples their first dance. The first dance is such a wonderful tradition to up hold. It is the first time couples come together in front of their guests as a married couple and open the dancing for the evening. Dancing together is not a common skill in today’s modern society and the ability to dance is slowly becoming lost. I have a passion for what I do and have come up with my top 5 tips for making your first dance one that is to remember!
#1 Obtain Professional Dance Lessons from The First Dance Wedding Choreography choreographer Victoria Wray
There is nothing worse than two nervous people, awkwardly side stepping and shuffling through a slow song. At The First Dance Wedding Choreography, I create a one of a kind, individually designed dance for the bride and groom that is specifically at their level. No copies or the same dance recycled over and over. Professional lessons should be with a teacher who has experience in a variety of dance genres (like me) who can create something that suits the bride and groom’s personalities, style and individuality.
In addition to seeing me once a week, it is advisable to practice at home together at least once a week to pull off a polished looking performance. The best dances are those that look effortless and the couples look relaxed. This can be obtained at any ability level if there is plenty of practice. Treat it as couple time! Have fun! Some couples use our lessons together as the start of a date night. They have a dance lesson and then head to the movies or out to dinner, making the whole process entertaining, enjoyable and exciting.
#3 Choosing the right song
When selecting a song for the first dance, couples need to take several things into consideration. The first is does this song have any special meaning to us? You both have to like the song and want to dance to it! Another thing to keep in mind is the tempo, for example a song with a good beat, fast or slow, is much easier to dance to. Songs that have a good amount of repetition are also a great choice, making it easier for couples to know what is coming next or re-use some steps throughout. Re-using some steps can take the pressure off while trying to remember your dance, especially if you are both beginners! The last and most important thing to remember when selecting a song is to listen carefully to the lyrics. There is nothing worse than deciding on a song with negative or sad lyrics. This is your first dance together as man and wife, it should be romantic, loving and enjoyable! Positive lyrics are important to set the mood and to portray to your guests how you feel about each other.
#4 Think about your attire
Bring your wedding shoes (or something similar to what you will wear) to your dance lessons. Practicing in shoes other than your wedding shoes can feel drastically different and alter your balance or ability to move with confidence.
Brides: discuss your dress with me so I can be aware of any limitations the dress may cause – large, full skirts; tight, figure hugging dresses; beading; embellishments; belts; trains and veils can all cause issues, but are easily avoidable with some advice from me. Being aware of your dress and how to move in it will become apparent at your fittings, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind!
#5 Have an open mind
Come into your dance lessons with an open mind and a positive attitude. My clients are often very concerned about dancing in front of people and don’t want to look silly or uncoordinated on their wedding day. I make it my responsibility to create something that you love and feel confident performing. I give couples several options to choose from with varying levels of difficulty. This helps with the anxiety that is often associated with dancing together in public. I would never send a couple away who don’t look well rehearsed or ready to perform their dance well.
After reading these recommendations, I hope to have dispelled the common misconceptions that are often associated with first dances and wedding dance lessons. This is a very special time in a couple’s life and performing a stunning and impressive dance at their wedding is such a wonderful way to conclude such a momentous occasion.