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A Dancer’s Advice to Wedding Couples

As a dance teacher, I see a lot of wedding couples. More and more people having been moving away from the traditional sway dance, instead taking lessons to learn something more intricate. If you’re like me, you appreciate this trend. There is nothing quite so boring as watching four minutes of the eighth-grade sway step. That being said, it can be easy to get in over your head when you’re attempting a trained ballroom wedding dance. So, if you having been thinking of taking some ballroom lessons in preparation for your wedding, here are some tips that will make it a lot less stressful, and a lot more fun.

1. Start early. I get a lot of couples who try to start their wedding dance just a few weeks before their wedding. That’s just not enough time. Considering the inevitable scheduling difficulties that abound as the wedding date approaches (and those on top of already busy schedules), it is nearly impossible for couples to consistently practice in the weeks leading up to their weddings. If you start early, you will have a better chance of practicing consistently, and missed lessons won’t have such a drastic effect on your dance because you will have time to make them up. It makes for way less stress and a way better dance.

2. Invest in private lessons. If you are looking for a choreographed dance, then private lessons are the only way to go. However, if you are looking for a lead-follow dance, you can certainly start with group classes, and after one or two you may feel that is all the instruction you need. While it is great if group classes can get you feeling comfortable, they are not going to offer any of the in-depth instruction that will really make your dancing look good. There are so many fine points to dance posture and technique that it’s difficult to keep track of what you’re doing and what you’re not. That is where private lessons can bridge the gap. Even if you only do two or three lessons, having one-on-one (or one-on-two) instruction time will give you a much better understanding of your dance and how to work as a team.  For an actual choreographed dance; however, we have a wonderful Wedding Dance Private Lesson Package that includes eight 50-minute private lessons along with a complete choreographed routine.  We will also cut the music to fit your dance perfectly.  (Want more information?  Visit www.ballroomdancebr.com/wedding.html and complete the short online form and one of our professional instructors will be in touch with you to discuss your options in greater detail.)

3. Have multiple song options. Of course, if you have your heart set on a particular song, you don’t have to compromise. But keep in mind that some very popular wedding dance songs are actually very difficult to dance to. The tempo can be too fast or too slow, or the rhythm may be inconsistent. If you bring your instructor a few different songs for your dance, he/she can coach you on which song will be easiest to dance to and what kind of options you have.

4. Practice. I know this one seems like a no-brainer, but I also know how difficult it is to find time in a busy schedule to practice. It doesn’t matter what the hobby is, it’s tough. But practicing doesn’t have to mean doing the same four of five dance steps over and over. If you can find time to do any kind of dancing between your lessons, it will keep your muscles and your memory active, so it will be easier to pick up where you left off the last time. A perfect environment to practice in a fun way is to attend practice parties. Any studio you attend should host a party every week, usually on Fridays or Saturdays. BDBR’s social dances are held on every Saturday night except for the first Saturday of the month.  (See our calendar of events at www.ballroomdancebr.com/calendar.) Take that opportunity to go out and practice. You can make it really special and turn it into a date night. Just make sure you get on the floor!

5. Have fun and smile. This is the most important bit of advice I can give you. It doesn’t matter if your dance is the best in the world if you don’t enjoy it. If you can smile and have fun, it will be so much more engaging for you and your audience. Something that you can really remember and look fondly back on. After all, it’s your wedding! If there’s a day that you should be having fun, it’s today.

Following these suggestions will help make learning your wedding dance a much more enjoyable process. Of course, there will still be the occasional hiccup. If you have any trouble or concerns, don’t be afraid to communicate these to your instructor. We’re here to help, and we want you to have the best wedding dance possible. Best of luck!

Johanna Collier
Dance Instructor
Courtney Black’s Ballroom Dance Baton Rouge

Posted January 22nd, 2015 in All About BDBR.