The first dance can freak out many a couple. Nerves and lack of confidence can leave couples dreading the first dance which is why a few lessons can be a big help. More and more couples are looking at the first dance as an opportunity to master a new skill and are investing a few hours in dance classes to ensure their footwork is up to scratch in time for the Big Day. There are several dance schools that provide one to one classes if you’re looking to learn a few basic steps in privacy or even go all out and wow your guests with a showstopping choreographed routine with the help of a pro. Classes range from one hour lessons to intensive sessions that take place over several weeks depending on the style of dance you’re after.
According to dance instructor Michelle Alonzi, the waltz and the foxtrot are the most popular dance styles as they adapt to current songs and some of the old classics too, but anything goes when it comes to the first dance from jives to tango. To help you get started, we asked dance instructors Michelle Alonzi and Kim Fitzgerald from Kinetix Dance to share a few pointers – check out their first dance tips below…
Michelle Alonzi – View Profile Page
1. Ladies, if you are going to be wearing high heels for your first dance, please bring them along to your dance lesson! It feels very different practising in flat shoes compared to high heels.
2. If you are unsure of a first dance song, and if you are paying good money for a band at your wedding, ask them for a playlist! There’s nothing better than a live version of your song choice. It’s also a good idea to make sure it’s similar timing to the version you’ve been practising to.
3. There is no need to go to major expense to learn a first dance. A professional dance teacher should have you both dancing to your song in no more than 1-2 lessons. Your first dance only comes around once, so enjoy it!!
Kim from Kinetix Dance – View Profile Page
1. Pick a song you like. A lot of couples we speak with ask the question ‘can you dance to this song?’. We can help you dance to anything at all, we can make anything work. We have had couples dance to U2, Muse, Christy Moore, the ever popular Ed Sheeran and we have even had a song from the Muppets!!!
2. Pick a comfortable shoe. I get it… I’m a massive shoe lover myself, I own a pair of Louboutins and I ADORE them but I would never subject myself to a whole day in them!! You are literally on your feet all day and to top it off you have to DANCE in them at the end of the night. Also if you are going for a dance lesson, try and wear a shoe similar to what you will wear on the big day to give you a feel for it. Practising in runners isn’t ideal unless you’re a totally trendy bride wearing converse on the big day (we’ve had lots of these lately).
3. The dress: If you are going for a big princess style dress you really won’t be moving too much during the first dance, some simple movements in the centre are perfect for a dress like this. The same goes for fitted dresses, you can be quite restricted and hiking your dress up to dance won’t look good in those photos. I attended my friend’s wedding last year and put together a beautiful first dance but her dressmaker hadn’t added in a clip for her train… Every step back meant she stood on the dress! I always ask the bride to describe her dress to me before a lesson as it gives me an idea of what she can and can’t do.
4. Don’t leave it until the last minute. I seem to get more and more panicked phone calls consisting of “I’m getting married next week and we can’t dance”. Try to do a lesson or two a couple of weeks before as you will be a lot more relaxed, the week of the wedding is rarely a good idea as tensions can be high. We recommend 1 or 2 lessons (1 hour each) to accomplish something simple and effective. If you are looking to tackle a big YouTube performance you will need to allow at least 3 – 4 lessons depending on content. Every year without fail we have requests for Dirty Dancing but please bear in mind this takes a lot of hours with us and practice and dedication at home to achieve (but it can be done, we’ve seen it).
5. Here’s the last 5 songs we have done lessons to, to show you what recent couples have used. As you can see, anything goes:
Stuck on You – Meiko
Feeling Good – Muse
Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
A Thousand Years – Christina Perry
Love Me Like You Do – Ellie Goulding
6. Enjoy it and smile… everyone is looking at you from the waist up so don’t stress too much about two left feet, they won’t even notice.
Some other things to consider…
Practice makes perfect! Nothing beats a bit of practice to help you feel more confident and comfortable so move the couch out of the way and get practising.
Don’t worry about making mistakes. You and your partner are the only ones who know your routine so your guests will be none the wiser if you forget a twirl or two.
The last thing you want on the Big Day is to be stressing over dance steps so keep your routine nice and simple unless you plan to put in lots and lots of practice.
The size of your dance floor may determine the type of routine you do – you might not have enough room for a five-step routine if you’ve only a small space to work with.
Photo by K2 Productions via The Knot
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Pamela enjoys writing about all things decor (she loves buying it too) and has a not so secret addiction to stationery.