Your first dance as a married couple can be one of the most romantic moments of your wedding day. To ensure you’re one step ahead, Jacqueline Maya speaks with Vanessa Sutherland, professional dance teacher and co-director of EVE Dance, about the benefits of taking dance lessons before the big day arrives.
Image Credit: Euro Photography
While it’s broadly encouraged to ‘dance like nobody’s watching’, you can be sure that as soon you step out onto the dance floor, all eyes will be focussed on you and your partner. Here, Melbourne Wedding & Bride provides an informative guide on learning how to dance, so you can put your best foot forward.
Trying something new can sometimes be daunting, but more often than not it’s generally an exciting and rewarding experience, and the same can be said about learning how to dance.
The advantages of taking professional dance lessons before your wedding are plentiful. “[You’ll have] confidence when performing the traditional wedding dances, [it will] give you some time in the weeks leading up to the wedding to focus on you as a couple, [and you’ll be able to] find out if you like to freestyle a dance, or if you require a set routine,” Sutherland says. With benefits such as these, it’s no wonder couples are moonwalking their way to dance lessons.
Regardless of whether it’s a cooking, language or dance class, some people prefer to learn in a group dynamic, while others prefer to learn in a more private environment. Catering to your individual needs, EVE Dance offers a range of class sizes to ensure you have the best learning experience.
From private lessons to home visits, EVE Dance provides flexible class types to accommodate all confidence and comfort levels. “A private wedding lesson goes for approximately one hour and we go through the wedding dance song, identify the rhythm, and then determine if you’d like to set a basic routine, freestyle, or choreograph something more advanced,” Sutherland says. “A private class [is perfect for] wedding parties; [you can] organise the style of dance and work on basic rhythms and figures involved in [the routine].
“We also create tailored choreography [to suit all levels of ability], and for an additional cost we can also cut the music for your wedding dance, and even teach you how to walk and dance in heels.”
Finding Your Feet
With a wide range of classes available, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. With the help of a dedicated dance professional, you can rest assured you’ll find a dance style that suits you and your partner, even those of you who have two left feet.
Contrary to the Australian film of the same name, your wedding dance doesn’t have to be strictly ballroom – it can be whatever style feels right for you and your partner. “Due to the size of [wedding] dresses, and the idea that it’s meant to be a romantic dance, a slow waltz, rumba, or social rhythm tend to be good ballroom dance styles for [a couple’s] first dance,” Sutherland says. “However, the best [dance] style is one that suits the couple getting married and [one] that they’ll enjoy.”
While it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of organising the rest of your wedding, Sutherland recommends booking your classes in advance. It’s also essential that you set yourself enough time to learn the dance that you’ve chosen, however your dance instructor will be able to assist you with this. “For a simple freestyle routine, [we suggest booking] four weeks [in advance]. If you’re looking for a complicated choreographed routine, [then we recommend] 12 weeks,” she says.
It Takes Two To Tango
According to Sutherland, “lack of confidence and communication with [your partner can impact the ability to] understand what you both want in the dance.” To avoid stepping on each other’s toes, communicating with your partner is key to ensuring you both have an enjoyable and enriching experience.
Another challenge for couples learning how to dance is when one partner shows less enthusiasm than the other, or makes excuses to avoid turning up to lessons. While learning something new does take a bit of time, Sutherland stresses the importance of regular practice. “No dancer has started out being able to dance [straight away]; they have all been trained, and coordination is something that requires practice,” she says.
As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. However, the footwear you practice in can make
all the difference. “Bring the shoes you’re going to wear on your special day to wear them in,” Sutherland says. “If you can’t dance in them during the classes, you may not be able to on the wedding day. You’ll be in these shoes for most of the day, so you want to be comfortable.”
Everybody Dance Now
From the significant cultural histories from which collective dance emerged, to the revival of flash mob dancing in the early 2000s, the love of dance has long been a shared passion, and in most cases, a tradition among communities and, large groups of people for thousands of years. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that more couples are performing choreographed routines with their wedding party at their reception.
Organising a dance routine for your wedding party is a great way for them to bond, especially if they haven’t met before. However, Sutherland advises that bridesmaids and groomsmen become acquainted before committing to lessons. “It’s a good [idea] for the wedding party [to get to] know each other before the day,” she says. “If the wedding party is [happy to participate] … let them know in advance. We can offer wedding classes for groups of up to 20 people for approximately $20 per person for an hour.”
Take The Lead
If you’re still sceptical about whether taking dance lessons for your wedding is really necessary, then Sutherland’s musings from the heart might help to change your mind. Throughout her entire career, one of the best parts of Sutherland’s job is seeing the massive improvement in the dancing abilities of her clients. “[They go] from not being able to count to music, to being able to lead their partner in time with the music,” she says. “[There’s no greater feeling than] seeing the couple looking into each other’s eyes and beaming with happiness.”
While learning how to dance has its fair share of challenges, the sense of achievement and levels of confidence you’ll experience will far outweigh feeling nervous or embarrassed. By engaging the professional services of a dance teacher, you’ll not only be taking a step in the right direction, but it’ll also ensure that your very first dance as a married couple will feel like you’re dancing in the clouds.