First Wedding Dances Styles

You know you want to learn a routine or have dance lessons for your First Wedding Dance, and may even have played out how the first dance might look in your heads.  The many viral wedding dance videos may have been inspiration for your daydreams – but which style of dance should you choose?  Over the coming week we’ll release a dance style per day as part of our guide to helping you decide.

A guide to choosing your First Wedding Dance Style

First Dance Styles

The Song

You probably know which song you’d like to dance to on your special day.  Without dance lessons or prior preparation, the gentle sway from side to side may be some couples’ natural go-to groove for the more traditional slow song, or for something more up tempo, a fun ‘we’re in the disco style’ bop might do.

For something a little more memorable however, to either give yourselves a bit of a confidence boost on the day, or to give your guests something to talk about, a little choreography (let’s call it a structured routine if that sounds scary), or dance lessons in a style that suits your song could be for you.

The Style

Your The Love Of Dance teacher is more likely to teach you the ‘social’ style of dance forms rather than the formal, more structured competition style.  You may see variations in footwork in comparison to styles of dance you see on tv as there are quite often different variations of each type, so don’t worry if your style doesn’t look exactly like you’ve seen on TV dance competitions etc.  We aim however to leave you with a good foundation in your style for you to carry with you forever more!

Style and Music in Harmony

The Love of Dance teachers will work with you and your choice of song/s to find a style of dance that works with the music.  I say either ‘song’ or ‘songs’, as you may either be stuck on which song of many to choose from, in which case a consultation with us will demonstrate and allow you to try a few dance styles to suss out what you feel comfortable with, or you may want a medley of songs, so your teacher may suggest you have a little mash-up of dance styles to create a really impressive routine!  Your teacher will also get to know you and help to create the bespoke routine unique to your personalities, abilities and initial visions you may have.

…but we don’t have a Song?

You may even have the style of dance in mind, but not a clue of a suitable song to go with your style.  We can advise here too, giving you some songs to listen to if need be. There are many websites giving First Dance Song inspiration – just have a google search and see what comes up.

Live Entertainment

You may have a live wedding band and you could talk to them about performing the first dance song for you.  Make sure you give them the same version of the song you’ve got in mind so they play the right arrangement as you are unlikely to get a rehearsal with them. The Love of Dance can also provide live music to suit a desired theme or musical taste, taking the hassle out of finding music yourselves. Visit our Event Entertainment Page for more info and contact us to discuss.

 


Tips to Feel Fit and Fab for your Wedding

The way that our busy lives go these days, sitting at a desk Monday to Friday 40 hours a week or so is the norm for many, and is a recipe for creating bad habits that can stick for a lifetime.

During your first wedding dance you may want to achieve a statuesque posture as you glide around the floor. You may already be blessed with this, but if you wish to improve your posture, here are some tips for how to strengthen your alignment through your fitness regime. These fitness activities are popular with the pro dancers and will perfectly accompany and compliment your The Love of Dance first dance lessons.

Personal training – your personal trainer will advise you on exercises that will focus on strengthening and training the muscles in direct reference to the dance lessons. Try TRX Suspension training – it’s a bit hardcore, but suspending yourself from specially designed ropes, using your body weight to create the resistance works a treat for creating tone and definition, rather than bulk. Iona from Train Heal Breathe (THB) is a great outdoor fitness instructor based in London who tailors your programme to your requirements.

Check out the Special Offer with THB!

Check out the Special Offer with THB!

 

>Special Offer: We’ve teamed up with Train Heal Breathe who are offering 15% off personal training to The Love of Dance clients (see below for info!*).<<

 

 

Train Heal Breathe: PT for men and women

Train Heal Breathe: PT for men and women

 

Yoga or Pilates  – strengthens the muscles in the back, focuses on posture and also helps with the vital relaxation and breathing you may wish to practice in advance of, and on, the big day. Also good for brain training to help with coordination on the dance floor!

Swimming – excellent for strengthening the arm and back muscles to draw the shoulder blades down the back. Try some Aqua-aerobics too. Even if it’s not a class, you can create your own exercises in the pool. Treading water and moving your arms with the same action as if using weights offers effective toning to all areas of the body, especially if you can use floats and woggles (the tube shaped floats) too.

General dance classes – obviously! Your gym might offer a street class or many community centres offer classes in lot of styles, and most dance styles focus on strength of posture.

Alexander Technique – use this in conjunction with your fitness programme. Helps you to identify and correct bad habits like slouching, or to improve your technique in virtually anything you want to master!! Here’s a summary about Alexander Technique Summary and help to find certified teachers here.

 

Get the right fitness programme for you and maybe a bit of advice from an expert in each field about a programme to help you achieve your goals. Maybe consider getting your friends/bridesmaids/spouse etc involved, to make your sessions more enjoyable with a bit of bonding whilst your at it. You CAN have fun whilst getting fit. If you feel great in yourself you’re going to feel even better in front of your guests!

Work out with friends for more fun & to make sessions with THB even cheaper!

Work out with friends for more fun & to make sessions with THB even cheaper!

 

*Train Heal Breathe SPECIAL OFFER: 15% off Personal Training for TLOD clients! Get a small group together and you will reduce the cost per person even further. Contact Iona for more info on Facebook, or visit her website here.

 

If you’ve got any injuries or physical health problems make sure you seek advice from a physician or an expert about your fitness regime before you try any new physical activity.


Enjoy Every First Wedding Dance Step

First Dance Performance Tips

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!

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.


Perfect Practice from Caroline & Tim

Continuing our theme of Practice Makes Permanent this month, meet Caroline and Tim.

They started their first wedding dance months in advance of their wedding, and practised regularly.  We held their final dance lesson in their wedding venue – The Priory Barn in Little Wymondley. We recommend this final practice in the wedding venue to all couples.  The floor wasn’t very gracious – uneven flagstones, but you wouldn’t expect anything less from a beautiful, 16th c. barn, and this helped them to familiarise themselves with the geography(!) of the floor.

The extra practice paid off, and the result was an elegant, effortless first wedding dance. Congratulations to you both!

Perfect First Dance Practice

Caroline & Tim (c) Jackson & Co Photography 2015

Perfect First Wedding Dance Practice

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


Practice Makes Permanent

First Wedding Dance Practice

Plan your first wedding dance in advance

I’m a glass half full kind of person, so to put a twist on the age old saying this is my version:

Succeed in your planning and plan for success. Simple. I’m sure this resonates with your wedding planning through and through. Ultimately we all want to look and feel great and confident on our special day and no doubt you’ll have started planning your fitness schedule. If having first dance lessons is also somewhere on your to do list, because you want to achieve a little more than just a predictable shuffle round the floor, move it forward in your planning now and give it the same priority ranking as your fitness plan!

Practice makes Permanent

I’ve refrained from using the other well know phrase; ‘practice makes perfect’. We at The Love of Dance try to release pressure for couples by reminding them that the first dance should be about having fun and relaxing. Leave the perfection to the ones who are going to be judged at the Winter Gardens…unless that is what you are aspiring to, then who are we to stop you!

However, we do recommend aiming for permanence. Whilst first dances don’t need to be physically demanding, our bodies need time to absorb movement information into the muscle memory. You’ll have no trouble picking up movement sequences, but that beautiful Rogers and Astaire posture and grace we see from ballroom dancers doesn’t happen after a couple of lessons. It is practised to become second nature so that by the time you reach your first dance moment your steps will feel more natural and you certainly won’t be concentrating on posture any more. Get in the habit of holding yourself tall and your guests will be so blown away by the confidence you omit, they won’t care what your feet are doing!

Similarly, as much as some may like to think they are John Travolta on the dance floor on a Saturday night, we professional dancers at The Love of Dance know the process our brains and bodies go through to really give a confident and relaxed, rehearsed performance.

Performance: It’s a big word I know, but don’t let that put you off. As you will be dancing in front of your adoring public (friends and family!) throughout your first dance, for around 2 minutes of your lives, you will effectively be ‘performing’! Start working on your first dance in advance, if you want to start to hardwire the posture, steps and confidence into your muscle and cognitive memory. The further in advance you start practice, the more confident you will feel during the dance. (Blog to follow on tips to prepare for, and relax during your first dance).

Give it time

Without the luxury of a lot of time on our hands amongst busy schedules we appreciate it isn’t maybe feasible to have weekly dance lessons, and you may find in the early days you can only fit in one lesson per month…but closer to your big day, your schedule is going to be squeezed even further. Brains can only retain a certain amount of information pumped into them when only given short periods of time to learn dance. This then has to soak into the muscle memory before the rest just starts dropping out the other ear.

Practising over a longer period however will ensure the cerebellum (the part of the brain that controls movement) has time to remember different bits of information and start piecing together the jigsaw of the different skills needed to be able to dance e.g. the steps, the posture, the leading/following of the partner. This article explains how we make movement intuitive and permanently fixed in our psyche, so we can relax as those dance steps and strong posture start feeling like second nature. (ironically called practice makes perfect!). No. 1 Reason Why Practice Makes Perfect. This article talks about the benefits of learning over a period of time: The Science Behind How We Learn New Skills

Scheduling your first dance lessons?

By starting earlier there won’t be any last minute panic, stressful, ‘shotgun’ wedding dance lessons, which we see quite often and clients leave maybe even a little less confident about dancing than when they first started. Try reversing the shotgun schedule: more frequent lessons at the start, no less than 4 months in advance. This will mean that wedding planning mania sets in closer to the event, whilst your mind is working overtime thinking of everything else you need to be doing, you only need to manage some last minute polishing and rehearsal sessions with a more relaxed frame of mind.

So remember: plan ahead and plan for first wedding dance success. It’s failsafe.

Further reading

More about the logic behind practice here: The Science Of What Happens When You Learn

 

 


First Wedding Dance: Safiya & Alan

A lovely little photoshoot by photographer and all round good guy to know in Wanstead, Mike Edwards.  He captured this shotgun First Dance Lesson with Safiya and Alan, who got married shortly after their lesson.

Check out Mike’s Wanstead and surrounding areas book ‘Shelf Life‘.