A bride and groom usually start off the wedding celebrations with their grand entrance and first dance, creating that special, memorable moment they will remember throughout their lives! Since it is so important that each step be made with perfect gracefulness and a touch of weightless elegance, it is not uncommon that the couple considers taking dancing lessons before their special day.
Learning the art of dancing, however, is not meant to only be used for a special event. Couples often enjoy having a romantic evening where dancing is essential to strengthen their relationship, and making it more meaningful.
Choosing the best dance company may, therefore, be a very important step not only for your wedding, but also for ensuring a closer bond with your partner in the future. When you have a favorite song you want to dance to at your wedding, the dance lessons can teach you the best moves to use during your special dance and help you express the magic of your relationship in a beautiful way on the dance floor.
DanceWithChad.com is an excellent dance company that specializes in weddings. Their careful instruction has inspired many couples, not only to perform well on the dance floor, but also to express their relationship’s special spark during their first dance. The company’s priority is to make life better and happier through the beautiful practice of dancing, as well as to help couples strengthen their relationships and communicate better.
The Guests Enjoying Kim and Drew in Their First Dance
If you’re planning a truly grand entrance at your wedding, you may have a lot of questions about how to approach your dance lessons in the best way, which music to choose or what shoes to wear. Now Chad from DanceWithChad.com will try to answer all those questions and many more in the interview below, for all those who truly want to turn their life into a blissful dance.
What should an engaged couple bring to their dance lessons?
An open mind, a good positive attitude and a willingness to learn. If they’ve selected any songs or are deliberating between a few, this is helpful so that we can demonstrate what steps can be danced to a particular song and also what song(s) are easier or harder to hear.
Why should an engaged couple take dance lessons prior to their wedding?
As long as you treat one another and yourself with respect and kindness, dancing can be one of the most gratifying and relationship-strengthening activities available. We’ve had so many couples tell us how their relationship has improved, their attitudes have become more positive and their confidence has increased.
In today’s fast paced world, it’s nice to take the time to have a “date night” that can last a lifetime. Dancing is a form of self-expression as well as communication. It’s also a vehicle for fun and redirecting yourself and/or your partner’s energy away from life’s challenges.
I sure do hope I see you on the dance floor.
Should the engaged couple already have their wedding song picked out, prior to their lessons?
Some do and some don’t. We teach approximately 700 couples a year and I’d say almost half did not have a song selected and were completely misdirected on what to pick.
Ideally, the instructor would be skilled enough to take a song that is special and means something to the couple and then assists that couple to create a dance that reflects the dynamics and characteristics of the couple. Never let not having a song keep you from having a great dance experience.
Couples that start earlier than 6 months before the wedding have the additional flexibility to splice two songs together, one slow and one fast to add a bit of “spice” to the experience. In addition, couples that start early also have the time to build their dancing skills so they can make a choice to do a Waltz or a Tango or anything else they’d like.
How long should the couple’s first wedding dance last?
Weddings are about the couple and the guests are typically supportive of the couple so if the song lasts 4 minutes, it lasts 4 minutes. Songs that seem “long” can be handled so eloquently by a graceful entrance while the music is playing and a well planned exit. This is where a diagram of the venue is helpful. As the instructor, I would want to know where the couple is entering so we can help them deal with the nervousness of a “long” song and make it comfortable and elegant.
If we were performing at a “dance competition,” 4 minutes can be an eternity unless the material is magnificent. . . or unless the room is filled with people that adore you! Lol. At a dance competition, 2 1/2 minutes is a decent rule of thumb. For your wedding, 3 to 4 minutes for one song and longer if it’s a slow and fast number spliced together or a properly arranged entrance and exit would be fine.
What are some of the most appropriate dance styles for the couple’s first wedding dance?
Again, this is totally about the personality of the couple and so the instructor needs to have the skill to create a truly customized dance for the couple. My hope is that the couple chooses one or more songs that reflect who they are rather than go with a “cookie cutter” approach.
Quite often, what happens as couples learn, is that their guard comes down and the natural movement quality shows up after some decent training.
How many lessons should an engaged couple typically take so they’re prepared for the big day, and what will they learn at these lessons?
There are many factors involved with this: Difficulty of the song, whatever issues one might have about learning to dance, if they buy into the myths of dance, whether they have ever danced and if they seem to have that “special ability” to just pick things up while others take more time.
Everyone has a different comfort level and some become more confident in less time. A good gauge is when the couple can dance through their special song without stopping and independent of the instructor’s coaching and assistance. Also, it’s important to be able to keep going if something unexpected happens . . . just like “real life.”
If an engaged couple starts with something like the 8 week City Of Tempe Wedding Survival Class for only $35 per person for the entire 8 weeks and then a month or two prior to the wedding assess the ability to make it through on their own . . . we can better determine whether more lessons are needed or whether they can coast along.
Our apprentice program at DanceWithChad.com LLC is the only one of its kind and allows a couple to work with a qualified apprentice while also having access to a seasoned instructor and stay within their budget.
If I were to learn to play golf or when I learned to play tennis . . . I had no idea how good I even wanted to be. It’s just like anything that’s worthwhile; it takes time and diligence. I remember playing at least 3 to 4 times a week when my late wife was teaching me tennis. I was a former all- star baseball player that could hit the ball into the next neighborhood, even though that’s not what I meant to do. I remember not liking it. I also remember that, as I got good at it, I definitely enjoyed it much more. This is one of the benefits of starting early, so you have more choices.
Do the bride and groom-to-be both need to attend the dance lessons at the same time? If not, how do ballroom dance instructors typically work around situations where both people can’t be present for their lessons at the same time?
Though naturally it’s advantageous to have the couple together at least at some point in the instruction, some situations do not lend themselves to this, especially if one partner is in the military and seldom home, living in a different state or simply that the couple’s work schedules are very mismatched.
We’ve had many situations where we’ve taught the couple separately, put together the movements, videotaped the material and used whatever means necessary to help the couple create a memorable, enjoyable and special first dance.
My company had even taught a couple that was in a different state via the internet. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
What are the main differences between group and private lessons? What are the advantages and disadvantages to each?
As long as you are in good hands, meaning a good dance instructor/team embarked on a journey to meet your goals. . . BOTH private and group lessons are beneficial. Private lessons naturally will address specific skills of each person and couple. Group lessons will help a couple and/or individual acquire supervised practice with additional instruction at a more economical manner. Eventually we want our wedding couples to be able to dance without the instructor’s prompting. Both are great approaches.
Should the couple wear any specific types of shoes to their lessons?
For the first lesson, comfortable shoes that stay on the foot. Steer away from flip flops and sandals if these are not the shoes you will wear for your wedding dance. There are actual ballroom dance shoes that make dancing easier, just like wearing tennis shoes for playing tennis. As your dancing skills improve, bring shoes that will closely resemble the shoes you will be wearing at the wedding. Ideally, bring the actual shoes. If possible, buy a good pair of ballroom dance shoes.
What is the best way for a couple to select a wedding dance studio and/or an instructor?
This can be very tricky as, unfortunately, there are no “licensing” requirements to advertise yourself as a dance instructor, nor do some “instructors” have the basic skills to handle someone’s learning style. Approximately 5 1/2 years ago, I was working with a couple whose former instructor told the husband-to-be that he had no rhythm. I was astounded as this is a total “myth” and I do not understand why anyone would even think that, let alone say it. This particular gentleman was quite capable AND a musician and this comment, from a so-called “professional,” really set him back rather than assisting him to move forward.
So to answer the question, one way is by word of mouth. Ask around for referrals. Also, if you choose to do a bit of internet surfing to see what comes up – ask good questions like “May I come and observe one of your classes?” “May I speak to a couple of your wedding couples?” “Where did you get your training?” “What inspired you to become a dance instructor and when did you begin?”
There are associations that certify dance instructors who truly ARE professionals in my book. Meaning they study their profession and work on their own dance skills.
Does the couple typically bring their own music to each lesson?
Yes. It is very important that the couple take immediate responsibility for their music. Having their special song on a cd, mp3, ipod or phone and being prepared for anything is a step toward building great habits and also making sure that the DJ, MC or Band has the correct song for the couple and, if not, the couple already has their backup . . . just in case.
What if the bride or groom-to-be is far more experienced in dance than their partner? Is it still possible (and advisable) to take lessons together?
Oh, even better! One of the reasons that a less experienced dancer looks better with a more seasoned dancer is that the more experienced person carries more of the responsibility. The key factor is the attitude and patience of the partner. Remember, this is also a journey in being a great partner on and off the dance floor and how you treat one another matters a lot. Ideally, whether the experience of a partner is more or less – time and budget permitting, taking lessons together and individually is of great benefit.
What types of clothing should students wear to their dance lessons?
For the first lesson, being comfortable and showing up is important. As the lessons progress, we want to simulate the closest possible wardrobe to the actually wedding day. For the groom, this means bringing a jacket, vest and shoes that they will actually be dancing in. The groom’s shoes can be quite slippery and we need to make sure he knows how to deal with, and negotiate, this possible problem.
For the bride, wearing the crinoline resembling the amount and weight of the material she will be dancing in, as well as the length, is also important. This is also true for the groom as there will be some concern about stepping on the dress. Dress makers these days are becoming more educated in the need for a well bustled dress that the bride can rest assured will stay on and not worry about it “falling.” If the dress is strapless and there is concern about raising the arms or what will happen when she dips, it’s also vital to address this issue.
How far in advance should a couple start taking dance lessons before the big day?
This varies with couples typically because time can get away from you. We’ve had couples begin as early as 18 months and as late as the day before. Naturally the couple that planned ahead is going to appear and feel much more confident and rhythmic on the dance floor. We’ve noticed that a decent average is 3 to 6 months prior to the wedding and ideally sooner so that their bodies and really “feel” the movement quality. If every couple gave us 6 to 12 months, we’d invite them on stage to perform their dance at the Bridal Fashion Debut.
Is a wedding dance usually a choreographed/pre-planned routine?
Yes, absolutely. It certainly makes a big difference and alleviates the nervousness to have something “pre-planned.” Though it would be nice to be so skilled they can, in fact, go off the cuff, this is not usually the case, so it certainly helps to have a game plan. The grooms we’ve taught exhibit a sigh of relief when they’ve been able to map out on paper, or on a video lesson, exactly what they are going to do and when. They truly wish to present their bride in the best positive light.
DanceWithChad.com organizes group workshops as well as private and semi-private coaching with these world-class dancers and dance teachers. They’ll teach you how to dance and also will guide you in setting up a positive mindset and attitude so that you will be able to learn to dance.
Contact Chad now at (602)-549-1916 or email your enquiries to him at Chad@DanceWithChad.com. He’ll assist you with your first dance, provide the instruction you need to look good and present confidence on the wedding day.
Your wedding day is the time to shine, delight your guests with your choreographed first dance as husband and wife. It will be well worth the time and effort, and an elegant addition to the most important day of your lives!
Thank you for reading and stopping by! ~ Glenn & Lilet