Capital Dance School owner and professional dancer, John, is no stranger to weddings. In fact, he’s had two of his own. Oh, and let’s not forget that one other time (that’s three) he was engaged to the world professional ballroom dancing champion. And he’s wondering if there’ll be a fourth.
So – we thought we should ask someone with a little credibility… what makes the perfect wedding dance?
We hear you’ve got some experience. Have you ever been nervous during a wedding dance?
I think that nearly everyone is nervous about everything on their wedding day, so having nerves about a dance is no different to that. And believe it or not, the stakes are raised a little when the bride and groom are professional dancers! So yes – I identify 100% with a nervous couple during their wedding dance.
Is the bride or groom usually more nervous about the dance?
Definitely the Groom – it’s up to him to lead the dance and keep in time with the music. With the added pressure of his closest rugby mates waiting for the first obstruction!!
How do you choose the perfect song for a first dance?
Is there really any such thing? Only perfect to one, unique couple – because I really believe that a perfect wedding song should be one that means something to each of the people in the dance, and to the couple together. Perhaps it’s a song they heard when they were first falling in love; or a holiday song; or perhaps there’s one song they play when they are happy, sad or apart.
There are so many good tunes. If I had to choose one love song to dance to, though – I guess it would be “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli. And no, before you ask – I haven’t played that at either of my weddings.
Some people just have two left feet. What do you suggest they should do about that?
Find a right one. I’m joking. But really, nobody has two left feet. If you can walk down the street in a straight line, we can teach you how to dance. Body weight is placed, in time to music, across two feet. That’s dancing. The rest is learnt style – if you didn’t learn it as a child, you need to learn it as an adult. So really, it’s just about learning how to hear the music, and how, then, to place your weight.
Believe me here – just take a first dancing lesson, or you will never realise the truth in what I am saying!
How long will a couple normally need to prepare for their wedding dance?
I would normally say, as a minimum, try to start your lessons at least 6 weeks before the wedding, so that you can fit in 5 lessons. But we can always accelerate that process if you are running out of time. Our method breakdown is this:
Lesson 1: Choose your song; Learn how to listen to the music; Figure out what you’re capable of achieving as a couple in the time available; and Learn the basic steps of your dance.
Lesson 2: Finish learning the steps and begin choreographing your routine, from start to finish. Expect a little homework after class!
Lesson 3: Finish choreographing the routine. Practice that routine after class!
Lesson 4: Practice practice practice – with your teacher on hand to perfect any little mistakes, and make sure you are both feeling comfortable.
Lesson 5: Polish that routine, and if we can (we nearly always can!) we’ll add in a lift, just to delight that audience!
The funny thing is that many people come to us for wedding dances, but don’t stop there – along the road, they discover that dancing is actually a fun thing to do as a couple – if you let it into your life, it really is a gift that (hopefully) lasts a lifetime.
That all sounds quite safe. But what would you do if you wanted to do something ‘out there’.
I’d rather show you a YouTube video than speak to that question – our teachers Ryan & Ksenia provided just the right magic for this beginner couple’s first wedding dance – and somehow ended up with over 1.2 milliom views online!!
Don’t be intimidated though, if you’re as quiet and conservative as I am, you will probably be placed with our experienced, devoted teacher, Ranse Howell, who is an expert in American Smooth, which is perfect for wedding dances.
That was my next question – what is the most popular dance style for weddings?
I would have to say a slow foxtrot with American Smooth elements. That’s all very technical – but a good example of that is right here with a wedding couple.
Top tips for the dancing bride and groom?
You know what? If you love each other, dancing together is easy, because dancing mirrors a good relationship.
So KISS. That is, Keep It Simple Stupid. A few basic moves, and your love for each other, really is all that you need.
I want to add one more thing too – a first wedding dance doesn’t need to be a Britain’s Got Talent routine – just hold each other and move to the sound of music. In reality, your guests just want to see you take your bride onto the floor, celebrate your connection with you, and share a window of your love for one moment. And then they want to join you on that dance floor for a damn fine party!