Inherently wedding couples begin their dance instruction much too late in their wedding planning and details. In fact most couples do not prepare any dance at all! Sometimes For some reason the art of partner dancing is not seen as challenging enough to give one-selves an opportunity to learn, resolve, and perform in a live time and place circumstance. I’ve known engaged couples who have planned and prepared their “big day” and all the events and circumstances of that big day for as much as two years in advance and yet the exact same couples are in to see me two weeks before the wedding day. Having written that, some quality instruction is light-years ahead none at all. Many years ago when I was known as the Internet’s Wedding Dance & Music expert I conducted a major survey. Only one question was asked of couples who were married at least one year. There were no leading statements suggesting that this survey was from a dance instructor nor were there multiple choice selections. That one question was – “What if anything would have you changed at your reception if you could do it again?” There were 10,000 respondents and 80% of them said something to the effect of , “We would have learned to dance for our wedding!”
Please consider the following very carefully. In all the other details of your wedding with respect to the wedding professionals and vendors and the services they provide, you the wedding couple are not much more than a passive participant or observer. Once you have met with them and made your selections you rest in their experience and become an observer of their artwork and creativity. With respect to dancing you yourselves become the artwork – there is no-where to run or to hide. You are the artist and the artwork all rolled into one!!! You say, “I Do” to the preacher, you eat the meal prepared by the caterer, you observe and smell the roses assembled by your florist, you wear the expensive attire, etc., etc. You critique every aspect of their craft and presentations. As a dance couple you are critiqued, you make the dance happen; you received the accolades or criticisms. You excite your guests and bring the reception room to a fever pitch or by contrast you bore them to tears with the “Penguin Shuffle” and suck the vitality out of the room. Your choice! Even a relatively simple but well prepared dance will bring your guests to their feet with great enthusiasm!
Another notion I have trouble with that if you wait to the very last minute and take lessons just before the wedding you’ll not forget your material. This defies current conventions in education, writing, or marketing. Experts say when you are introduced to a new activity or concept you lose 70% initially remembering only the beginning and the ending. By frequent exposure and great repetition the activity, like dancing becomes your’s. However, refreshing, your well spaced and well rehearsed lessons close at the Wedding date is a good idea. Take lessons earlier as much as 6 months in advance rehearse all the error out of your material so that you’ll only have to deal with the unexpected circumstances and not the usual errors. If you wait too late you’ll not know who you really are out on the dance floor.
Be prepared so those moments out on the floor are precious memories. Many unprepared couples look like their experiencing great pain out there on their 1st dance – praying for the pain to end. Take lessons from a very experienced credentialed pro (not a fledgling make, it a 8 years minimum experience teaching) and you can turn your wedding dance into a thrill a minute – just wait ’til you hear the applause!! My next wedding BLOG will deal with dance studios and some recent events.
Jeff Allen, Jeff Allen’s Latin and Ballroom Dance Studio