Weddings are events that linger in people’s minds long after they are over. They are heavily photographed, video recorded, and talked about for years. The first dance is fast becoming one of the most talked about elements and that’s one of the reasons people are starting to put so much thought and effort into their wedding dances.
The first dance is a long standing, romantic tradition and one of the most memorable and intimate parts of your wedding day so it’s something you want to get right, however it can be one of the most nerve racking parts of your wedding day. If having all eyes on you is your worst nightmare and you are not a confident dancer, the idea of a first dance and the pressure for perfection may leave you feeling stressed and nervous. Even the most confident mover can be hit by nerves.
Today we are talking to Claire Spence from A Dance to Remember. Claire is a dance teacher with over a decade of professional dance experience travelling the world as a featured dancer and dance captain. Now specialising in first dances, Claire works with couples to ensure their first dance experience is stress free, beautifully choreographed and most of all relaxed and enjoyable.
Claire Spence – A Dance to Remember
Claire will work with you in the comfort of your own home to choreograph a dance that’s tailored to you as a couple whatever your ability, and build your confidence to make sure both you and your partner are confident dazzle on the dancefloor.
Here Claire reveals some helpful advice:
What tips would you give for handling the nerves?
There really is no need to be nervous! Your guests will expect you to do the ‘awkward shuffle’ so anything beyond that is of course an improvement. Whether a simple twirl or a fully choreographed routine each dance will be choreographed and tailored to your ability, ideas and preference – every wedding is different and every dance should be too! It may often be easier said than done, but try to relax and have fun! Try not to think about everyone watching but instead enjoy your moment together. You only get one first dance, make it on to remember.
We both have 2 left feet, is there any hope for us?
Everyone can dance, it is just finding the way which suits your style and that of course you feel comfortable with. A few pointers to improve posture and how to hold each other can change the appearance of your dance, even if the steps you are doing remain very simple and simple can be very effective! Having fun and feeling confident and comfortable with a few combinations gives the vision of an elegant and polished routine.
How many lessons would we need to get us up to a good standard?
For a simple routine with a few combinations I would usually recommend two or three one-hour lessons in the lead up to your big day. It is preferable to space these out to allow for practice time between if possible, however in the month before your wedding when these lessons are most beneficial, it is understandably a busy time! For just a few hints and tips one lesson would be a good start and for a full routine more time would be required. Like everything, everyone learns differently and it really is whatever works best for each couple.
What are the most popular music choices for a first dance?
There was a time not so long ago where ‘Dirty Dancing’ or Ed Sheeran ‘Thinking Out Loud’ were firm favourites for couples, and although they are still popular choices there are other more unusual songs creeping through. I think because choreographed first dances are becoming more popular couples are tending to choose different options to make their dance different. Song choices now are often not typical wedding songs but rather a song that means more to the couple or echoes more of their personalities.
We don’t have a song, how do we go about choosing a track that suits us?
Remember that it doesn’t have to be a typical first dance wedding song. It can be anything you want, even if it isn’t the stereotypical slow, romantic ballad. If you have ‘your song’ there may be acoustic version which the artist has brought out, or a cover that another artist has done. If you have a band playing for your wedding they may even have your own version. Searching through YouTube is a great way to find alternate recording, or give you other ideas for a similar to style to what you’re hoping for and if you don’t have ‘your song’ it opens up a lot more ideas and helps you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Do we have to choose a slow song for our first dance or could we have a more upbeat number?
You can have anything you want! If the ‘awkward shuffle’ is something you are dreading then a more upbeat song can give you more options for dancing and make sure you have fun for that first dance as a newlywed! If you want to have your wedding party involved that’s fun too, safety in numbers! They’ve helped you up until now with the organising and planning so why not add another role for them.
Is there anything you would advise brides and grooms to avoid trying?
You don’t want to try anything risky! Lifts can be great and have the wow factor but it needs to be doable every time, no panic or stress. If there is any doubt it won’t come off on the day, it needs cut. Similarly, if there are complex steps which are hit and miss, they should be simplified to be comfortable and on point every time. Don’t try to copy anyone else, either people you know or on YouTube. Be yourselves!
Do you have a top tips for couples doing a first dance? Is there something couples often forget?
Don’t forget to practice with the music/an exact copy of the music you will be using. You want to be sure all you hard work learning choreography with a track doesn’t fall apart because of a slightly different version. If you are having a band most are happy to record their version ahead of time for you to use in rehearsals.
Also on your wedding day when you do your first dance, it will often be over 24 hours since your last practice. With so many things going on throughout the day it will be at the back of your mind until the moment comes. In the week before your wedding try doing the dance once a day. Just once, no more. This way, you know where the stumbles are and what you have to think about, and it prepares you for you big day when you only have once chance to hit the mark.
And ladies, remember to practice in your heels! Eliminate all elements which will be unknown on the day – the dress, change of space and audience will be enough to contend with.
Claire is taking bookings now. Whether you are looking for a little guidance to make the moment special for you and your partner, or a spectacle with the full bridal party to entertain your guests, Claire can choreograph a dance so you can dance into your future together with confidence!
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