First Dance Performance Tips
You may get a bit hot under the collar thinking about your big day; all eyes will be on you for most of it. You’ve rehearsed your first wedding dance many times over in the privacy of your dance lessons, but you still have to think about all your friends and family and loved ones watching you do it next. Here are some first wedding dance tips for you on your wedding day, taken from the professionals, to help deal with your performance nerves…they may help further than just getting you through your first dance!
- Breath deep
Take deep breaths and learn how to calm yourself in advance of your wedding. A bit of mindful practice if you will. Practice this with your partner so you can help each other through the day. Maybe a signal or something between you when you need it to trigger a relaxation mode – or maybe just a glance at each other will be sufficient!
- Dance in your mind
Imagine yourself going through the routine in the reception room. Even better, get a rehearsal in your reception room if you can be for the event. This will prepare you mentally as you picture a crowd around you, and also physically so you can get used to the floor you’ll be dancing on. Listen to your first dance song on the tube, close your eyes and imagine any little detail you can about where your guests will be, which end of the room you will be facing, which part of the routine happens in which part of the floor.
- Stand like a pro
Put yourself in the mind of a professional – adopt that cool calm exterior of ‘gliding’ through the routine. Hold yourself tall, practise the posture you’ve trained yourself for through the dance lessons throughout your day and it will instantly give you an air of assurance – even if you don’t necessarily feel it inside.
- Don’t be a perfectionist
Don’t worry about being step perfect and relieve yourself from the pressure of thinking it has to be! Most of your guests won’t be aware of your first dance lesson preparation! They’ll already be really impressed that you’ve done that much. This is not a grand world premiere at the Royal Opera House (unless you want to treat it as such), and any slip ups you might make through the first dance will probably just be endearing if you know how to have a good old laugh at yourself if it happens.
Prepare yourself during the lessons for the eventuality that things may go wrong. Know how to revert back to the basic step, which you’ll work on through your dance lessons, or how to not panic if it falls apart. No one in your audience will know the routine so you can pull the wool over their eyes if it doesn’t go as planned.
See the ‘Practice Makes Permanent’ blog for tips to hard wire your dance steps into your muscle memory! Couples who have practiced in advance of their event report they feel much calmer doing so.
- Relax your face
Think of the dance as a conversation so you engage your facial expression too. Talk through the dance with your partner or sing the words once you can switch off from concentrating on your feet. You can decide how much to ‘camp’ it up – or not – but this will give you a bit of focus for your face!
- Where to look
Who you focus on when dancing is down to character. You may be quite happy to look out into the audience and smile and enjoy the reaction on the faces of your friends and family, but if you think that might put you off you can focus on your partner for the most part, and then try looking over the tops of the crowd’s heads. The distance between you will mean they’ll never have to know you’re not looking at them!
Overall prepare to have fun! ‘When you dance the purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” Wayne Dyer
Remembering this will hopefully help you remain calmer and reduce the anxiety if you prepare for any little hiccups.