First Dance Prep in Lock Down

My tips for what can be done to prepare for your first dance in Lock Down:

Watch below to discover my gift from me to any wedding planning couples out there….


Wedding planning, first dance & love in a time of COVID-19

Love still blossoms… Online dating was the norm even before lock down. Now face timing is the only gauge of someones mannerisms and demeanour which can’t be read from a WhatsApp message, but does it give accurate enough representation of a person. 

Lockdown Love & Dating

Where do singles find love at the moment?

Can a fleeting moment in a supermarket queue spark new conversation and lead to love in the aisles?

A chat with the regular delivery guy? 

A nurse who helps someone back to health? 

Where else do singles find love at the moment and how can we make a face time relationship meaningful and really get to know someone through a screen??

Love this Image from Tichea Brade
Love this Image from Tichea Brade

What sequence of impactful types of online meetings and conversations need to happen to embed into a singular heart, amongst a sea of other love-seeking hopefuls?

Or do we just press pause on love??

These are the questions I’m going to be taking to @Ticheabrade’s She Created Life’s brunch discusses dating and relationships. 
Sunday 27 April 11-1pm. The link to join is in her bio. 

I can’t wait to see and hear the unique love stories that might emerge and dust themselves off out of a period of complete random circumstance affecting our planet in numerous, monumental and societal shaping ways!!

The Wedding Planning Show Goes On

While on the subject of relationship related norms that are still happening – wedding planning is still very much live.  I was involved last week in an online wedding show.  @BeckieMelvinevents Anti Panic Wedding Show showcased some fabulous Beds, Herts and Bucks Wedding Industry suppliers, bringing the profile of their services to the living room of wedding planning brides-to-be. You can still view the videos through the event Facebook page linked above. It’s a great time for couples to do their research, build a rapport with suppliers while they might have that extra time on their hands.  

More wedding supplier directories to follow: @engageweddings and @Camdenweddings for example to help you on your planning way.

First Dance In Lock Down

And what better way to pass the time than learning to dance together with first dance lessons brought to you in your living room!  The Love of Dance’s FREE online taster lesson will give you a taster of what to expect going forward from our first dance lessons.  To claim, tag 3 wedding planning friends or brides to be into the comments on the Instagram or Facebook post linked here, and I’ll be in touch!


First Wedding Dance Songs – The (Slightly) Alternative Edit

Let’s talk those first wedding dance songs that aren’t too clichéd. Stuck for ideas? Here’s my list of first dance songs that are a little different. Cool, smooth, romantic songs which maybe haven’t been thought of by your friends, cousins – anyone else getting married around you.

Some inspiration has come through from my First Dance Clients. Some are my personal favourite songs of all time: personal to me because of my family’s music background – my dad is a jazz musician.

The first dance song will ideally represent your journey together, but not every couple has the song that perfectly summarises their relationship, reminds them of the day they met, or their first holiday together. You may not have a song that they think is suitable for a first dance – but it is YOUR day – it doesn’t have to be a clichéd love song. You dance to whatever you jolly well like. If you’re stuck, maybe by listening to lots of music, you could find the song that tells your story.

There’s a wealth of music out there on music platforms, Youtube etc. search the genre of music or artists you like; listen to remixes, instrumentals, covers by other artists. Find new music, listening to the suggestions that pop up based on your previous searches. Literally get lost in music!

When you find your song, be creative! Perhaps have it sung by a live band, personalise your song further by asking your musicians to play around with the arrangement, or find an instrumental version (a beautiful piece of music doesn’t need lyrics). TIP: Ask the band to record the final version before the wedding day so you can rehearse your dance to the song in advance!

So keep scrolling down for my list, Sit back with a glass of wine on a Friday evening – or a cuppa on your Sunday morning – with your beau and Enjoy my Spotify Playlist here.

Get in touch to find out more about how The Love Of Dance can help find the perfect song, create amazing first dance memories by teaching you to dance together through wedding dance lessons, and arrange the live music to accompany your first dance and beyond, into the evening.

First Wedding Dance
Debbie & Bayo danced to ‘A Lovely Day’ by Bill Withers
  • If I Ain’t Got You – Alicia Keys
  • Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Andy Williams
  • My Baby Just Cares For Me – Nina Simone
  • Here Comes The Sun – Nina Simone
  • Jose James – I’ve added Jose to my playlist because he’s covered so many soul/RnB classics, alongside writing his own tracks. His voice is like a cosy hug. Go down that maze of following his songs/albums on any music platform and enjoy his delicious voice.
  • Lovely Day – Bill Withers
  • At Last – Etta James
  • I Only Have Eyes For You – So many versions! Ella’s is a lovely upbeat version. The Flamingos: not everyone’s cuppa, but totally cool and chilled!
  • You and I (Nobody in the World) – John Legend
  • What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong (of course!)
  • You Are So Beautiful – Joe Cocker
  • The Way You Look Tonight – various versions
  • A Thousand Years – Christina Perri 

You’re welcome.


First Wedding Dance Synchronicity

Can we just take a moment here to appreciate how amazing Ben and Rachel are? They came to The Love Of Dance having had no dance lessons ever, nor had ever danced together in a structured way. They started their first wedding dance lessons a little later in the wedding planning timeline very close to their wedding due to unfortunate circumstances of Rachel breaking her arm. I don’t usually encourage starting so late. Some couples can get disheartened when they don’t make much progress in a short space of time, panic because there isn’t much practise time, ultimately don’t feel prepared confident as the wedding is approaching and can end up worrying about the first dance. I wanted to help Rachel and Ben as they would have started earlier if it hadn’t been for Rachel’s injury and within a space of 9 hours over two weeks they learnt a basic slow waltz. 

Mr & Mrs Fernandez | First Wedding Dance Synchronicity
Mr & Mrs Fernandez | First Wedding Dance Synchronicity


Some people underestimate what is involved in learning a social ballroom dance. The idea of social dances is couples dance together often at a ballroom/dance club etc. without choreographed formations – unless maybe, in some styles, sequences learnt through a syllabus or dance school. They are able to lead someone they’ve not danced with before, through internationally understood leading signals – pretty clever really! The footwork may look simple, some may say repetitive, but for the lead dancer (in this case Ben) to take control, guiding a partner around the floor, usually takes quite some practise and skill: 

💃🏻Thinking ahead to the next move;

🕺Giving the correct lead signal to the partner so they know where they are going in good time to be on the correct foot with their weight in the right place;

💃🏻Listening to the music to change the footwork and add in flourishes to make the dance interesting to watch;

🕺The following partner has to switch into trust, responsive mode, allowing the lead to guide around the floor without interfering – this can take practise in itself!;

💃🏻Oh – and also making sure they’re keeping the hold in the correct position to make sure they don’t step on each others’ toes!


There’s a lot going on with each step huh?!


Ben and Rachel’s final practice couldn’t have been more perfect, even with its imperfections.

 
💃🏻They made the most of the time we had together in their lessons.

🕺They jumped straight in and were 100% dedicated to learning.

💃🏻They practised over and over.

🕺They listened to the music to get to know their song inside and out.

💃🏻They weren’t fazed if there were any little hiccups; Ben picked up the steps again and Rachel responded!


Textbook students!


Maybe it wasn’t down to my teaching and it was pure coincidence that these two moved so naturally together, but what we ended up with was a relaxed waltz which was so beautiful to watch, with a little simple choreographed intro to the dance…and then they were OFF – with Ben leading and Rachel had NO IDEA what moves he was going to pull out the bag!! 


One word just kept recurring over and over in my feedback to them during the lessons. They danced and moved so naturally together. Whether it’s a result of how this couple have grown together over the last 10 years, knowing each other inside and out, bringing them to this point of marriage; whether it’s that it was mapped in the stars, they were destined to dance together; I feel privileged to help them realise this destiny, bringing them closer together through their First Dance Lessons. 


The word was simply: Synchronicity. 

Just Magical. Thanks Universe.


First Wedding Dance Styles | Summary

First Dance Styles in a nutshell…
Here’s an easy reference summary of our first dance styles series for you to click on and review.
If you’d like to  have an initial conversation about your dance, or book a dance consultation with one of our experienced teachers.

Visit our Contact Us page for more information.

Happy First Dance planning!

We leave you with a clip of Caroline and Tim’s First dance – a Foxtrot…


First Wedding Dance Styles | Freestyle Dance

…and all the Dance Styles in between.

This is our Wild Card Style day celebrating the first wedding dances that are a bit ‘left of centre’. The Wedding Dance YouTube videos have given rise to the phenomena of more adventurous couples wanting something a little less traditional. The Love of Dance’s teachers have massive experience in choreographing, performing and teaching in many styles of dance beyond Latin and Ballroom – we know no boundaries!

Freestyle Dance / Non-traditional First Dances

This is where your first dance gets exciting and has the potential to really thrill your guests. A fun, novelty statement routine could incorporate dance styles such as street dance or musical theatre styles – jazz or tap dance perhaps?  Or why not re-enact a famous dance scene from your favourite film, musical or music video. Don’t worry – you can still keep the romance – how about bringing a touch of Hollywood glam – think Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire!
John and Hannah wanted a medley of songs and they really went for it.  They started with the Dirty Dancing routine, into MC Hammer’s Can’t Touch This, finishing with Black Eyed Peas I Got A Feeling.  It entertained us teachers for sure – imagine how their guests responded!
You bring the music you like, whether one or multiple songs, and we’ll fit the movements to it, according to your requirements. At least within the scope of what the wedding dress will allow!
 

Event Entertainment - 50th Birthday Party

Event Entertainment – 50th Birthday Party

Freestyle Partner Dance

We’ve all had the fling around the dancefloor with a friend, partner or family member to mimic partner dance steps seen done by the pros.  These are moves we throw into routines to give them a bit of wow factor, which don’t necessarily follow footwork patterns of the structured social dances, but are used to fit the music.  After all – you’re won’t be competing for the world finals (not quite yet).  The rules are there to be broken as far as your first dance is concerned!

Dance for All!

Our favourite routines involve the bridesmaids and groomsmen…or as a surprise to the couple perhaps the guests could join in flash mob style!
To finish our week of The Love of Dance styles, although not strictly a wedding event here is a routine we choreographed for a 50th birthday party to give an idea of what we can achieve with you.  The client here commissioned us to produce a routine with professional dancers to his chosen song – we fulfilled the brief and then some.  Unbeknownst to him we taught his closest friends the routine too and they jumped in halfway through the song.  They’ll had lots of fun learning the dance – and the birthday boy? He loved it.


First Wedding Dance Styles | Jive & Swing

Get the Wedding Party Started with a Swing

Swing dance styles are the more fun, vivacious dance styles to suit more up-tempo tracks – great first wedding dances to to get the party started.  There are many types of Swing Dance, including Lindy Hop, Charleston, Jive and Rock N Roll created in the 1920s-50s to accompany swing style jazz music.

The Love of Dance Jive Dance Party

Heres a throwback photo to one of our jive parties we taught at for a regular social dinner and dance!

Jive for example is classed as one of the international latin styles of dance.  It came from the US in the 1930s and has a bit of a retro vibe about it.  Your first dance song doesn’t have to be from these eras – here are some songs that we think perfectly fit Jive and Swing dance:
  • Happy – Pharrell
  • Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
  • Candy Man – Christine Aguilera
  • Sing Sing Sing – Benny Goodman
  • Do Your Thing – Basement Jaxx
Social Jive Dance basic steps consist of two slow steps on the spot and then a ‘quick quick’ rock back and forward. These styles don’t travel around a dance floor, although the size and energy of movements that can go towards the spins and sometimes jumps and lifts (for those feeling really adventurous!) can really eat up the space.  The steps should be light and bouncy and the upper body is free and responds to the usually jazzy and lively music with an air of showmanship and lots of smiles!
We’re not just about weddings. TLOD has also taught Jive and Swing dance parties for many occasions such as birthdays and commercial party events. Taster sessions in any dance style are a fun way to help guests get up to their feet and onto the dance floor. Your guests get mingling whilst learning some basic steps too – well we don’t want them feeling left out of the dancing action!

First Wedding Dance Styles | Salsa & Rumba

Bring Your Sauce to the Dancefloor with the Latino styles

Salsa
If you want to bring a bit of sauce to your first dance or maybe your first dance song has a bit of latino flavour, Salsa is a good style to throw some dynamic moves into your routine.  Originally from Cuba with African and Spanish influences, and developed further in South America and New York too, this dance style is sure to bring a bit of fiesta to your day.  A style of dance that can also transfer to many dance floors together, once you have some basics under your belts.  Salsa can be entirely spiced up with the full on latino hip swank, it can be fun and energetic, sensual, or tamed down according to your preference to become a stylish first dance.  There are many different types of Salsa, depending on the country or region of origin – e.g. Cuban or New York cross body style.  Your teacher may specialise in one, two or many styles thus influencing the footwork and floor patterns you will learn.

First Wedding Dance

Dan & Jo. Photo (c) Kirstin Prisk

Songs to suit Salsa:
  • If You Had My Love – Jennifer Lopez
  • Fly Me to The Moon – search the salsa version on Youtube
  • Suavamente – Elvis Crespo
  • Sway (There are many versions of the Dean Martin original.  Bublé does a cha-cha version. Have a search on Youtube for the many different versions.)
  • Have a listen to the Buena Vista Social Club album.
Quite often you may find Salsa covers of popular songs – worth a search through YouTube for the options!
 
Rumba
Just like Salsa, Rumba has flexibility to be as camped up Strictly Come Dancing/competition style or smoothed out to be a little more relaxed.  A little more intimate style than salsa, Rumba suits many modern popular and jazz standard songs on the 4/4 tempo, with a prolonged, slow first step and two percussive quick steps.  The song doesn’t necessarily have to have latino flavour.
Some of our favourite song examples that suit the Rumba are:
  • Can’t Take My Eyes off You – Andy Williams/Franki Valli
  • At Last – Etta James
  • The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson
  • My Baby Just Cares for Me – Nina Simone
Here’s Amie and Alex’s First Dance using the Rumba footwork.  Watch out for the sustained first two beats to the bar.


First Wedding Dance Styles | Waltz

As part of our daily guide helping you choose your First Wedding Dance style, will it be a Wedding Day Waltz?

Originating from Germany, the characteristic flowing rise and fall of the Waltz offers an ethereal, graceful quality when bride and groom dance in their wedding day finery.  Another of the more classic, romantic and formal styles of ballroom, which will suit songs that are counted in a 3/4 time signature. Three beats to the bar means three steps in a basic Waltz footwork pattern.

Body Control

Couples dance in closed hold and you’ll see from the video example below the man/the lead have a strong, proud air to their poise, remaining lifted in the chest, whilst the woman/the follower may arch backwards.  There is minimal movement to the upper body, aside from the dancers’ upper body leaning slightly to follow the turn of the head towards the left or right shoulder.

First Dance Lesson (c) Mike Edwards

Travelling Patterns

Social Waltz steps usually travel anti-clockwise around the dance floor, and in a ballroom with many other partners dancing, couples will move to the centre of the floor to perform steps on the spot.  The usual rules of course can be stretched for your first wedding dance, so that the floor patterns can travel in any direction, or that posture can be more relaxed.

The Music

There are different types of Waltz dance, as there are many forms of the music.  Traditionally classical composers such as Strauss, Chopin and Brahms wrote Waltz scores, and now more modern popular songs using the 3/4 time signature can also be danced to, such as;
  • Come Away With Me – Nora Jones
  • Kissing You – Des’ree
  • Kiss From A Rose – Seal
  • If I Ain’t Got You – Alicia Keys
Here’s a beautiful Waltz from a Strictly Come Dancing moment, performed to Des’ree’s Kissing You.  Just like something out of a fairytale.


First Wedding Dance Styles | Foxtrot

Over the coming week we’re releasing a First Wedding Dance style per day as part of our guide to helping to choose a style for you. Today we’re looking at Foxtrot!

Foxtrot is quite a common wedding dance style – a classic, romantic and smooth ballroom dance, couples can take their time and feel confident on the dance floor.  Some types of Foxtrot can be a little more up-tempo depending on the song.  Think ladies gliding around in their beautiful ball gowns, led by dapper gents in their coats and tails.  Classy.

Karina and Theo wanted to dance to John Legend’s All Of You.  They didn’t want anything too adventurous, just needing some dance lessons for some pointers on the floor.  The song is nice and relaxed at a gentle 4/4 tempo.  They had some basic social Slow Foxtrot dance lessons and a simple structured routine using just the basic steps and a few ‘generic partner moves’ (see below) that allowed them to move calmly around the floor, whilst having a little flourish of moves to offer those photo worthy moments; opening out toward the audience and finishing with a classic dip (groom leans bride backwards).  They looked so chilled during their routine which meant they could just really enjoy the moment. Watch Karina and Theo here:

Other songs to suit Foxtrot:
Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
Here Comes The Sun – Nina Simone
You & I (Nobody In The World) – John Legend
The Way you Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
Let There Be Love – Nat King Cole

 

Perfect First Wedding Dance Practice

Caroline & Tim’s First Wedding Dance (c) Jackson & Co Photography 2015