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Thread: First Dance Tips.

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    Registered User Beowulf's Avatar
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    First Dance Tips.

    Ok.. the reason I came back from my self imposed exile in the barren wastelands.

    Anyone got any tips for ..ahem.. "Performance anxiety" ? in under 5 weeks from now, I have to take my gorgeous Twirly.. and dance in front of my peers and friends .. all on our own, with no one to hide behind and still make it (a) an enjoyable dance for Twirly and (b) "fun" to watch.

    I'm not a great dancer, ok I can now bring myself to admit I'm not the worst either. (Twirly has been working on my self confidence issues ) But I DO NOT like being the focus of attention.

    Obviously people who compete in dance events (a whole different ballgame but parallels can be drawn) have their routines down pat.. they will have rehearsed every move, pose, and style point to nanosecond accuracy.

    4 weeks on Friday.. which , even if I had the time to go back to dancing .. that's only 4 more classes .. obviously we can't practice "the routine" as we still want to have a little "mystery" about it. (if anyone knows where I can get a breakdance mat from would be gratefully recieved )

    Anyone got any advice on first dances, and getting out there and "doing your thing" with people watching?

    I know , post ceremony, that there only be Louise and I in this vast universe of ours and I'll barely be concious of anything apart from my new bride. I'm hoping that it'll all be fine on the day.

    Did some (Am-dram) acting many years back.. I'm hoping that, come my "cue" the butterflies will flutter-by but I'm still worried. Fluffing your lines is one thing, don't want to fluff the first dance.. especially with dancing friends and non dancing family watching.

    any advice?

    Pete (on the nervous side!)

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    Registered User Lynn's Avatar
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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    From experience of helping friends with a first dance (about 3 times now), they all forgot most of the stuff they'd practiced anyway.

    Your non dancing friends will be impressed by even the simplest of moves, your dancing friends will understand that it can be a bit daunting dancing in front of others. But most of all - no-one is really watching to see your moves or how 'well' you are dancing - they just want to see you happy, enjoying dancing with your new bride and in love.

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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    I've taught many couples to dance for their weddings. As has already been said, many of them chickened out on the day.

    My advice is to stop worrying about it and concentrate on the rest of the day.

    But, if you insist on doing something that is memorable, the best wedding dance I've ever taught was to Andy Williams singing "Can't Take My Eyes Off You".

    Get everyone's attention before the start of the song and stand at the side of the dance floor. Don't move until the music starts. Get the DJ to announce "the happy couple will now take the floor for their first dance". Get the DJ to start the track once you've got everyone's attention. During the introduction walk on very slowly holding hands and gazing into each other's eyes. At the "You'd be like Heaven to touch" turn and face each other and at "I wanna hold you so much" take her in the closed hold - you've done nothing much and already the aunties will be crying their eyes out! Then do a few simple moves and a lift or a drop - and brief the DJ to announce at that point "lets give the happy couple a huge round of applause and join them on the dance floor!". Done and dusted!

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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    I have been to many "dancers" weddings.

    What do I remember about thier first dance, certainly not the moves, not how well or bad they danced... The only thing I remember is that lovely feeling of seeing the newly weds having thier first dance.

    Expectations: I do not think those going to your wedding have any high expections on a "performance", they would just be happy to see you looking into each others eyes and doing some very simple dancing for a minute or two, at which point the DJ can invite others to the floor.

    I have seen some people having worked on a routine, but the best ones IMHO, are those who do some simple moves, with silly grins on thier faces and a sparkle in thier eyes.

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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    Learn a social foxtrot & stick to that - it's less likely to go "wrong", you can cling on to each other ('cos you'll be scared anyway) & lots of oldies know how to do it and will be able to join in

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    Double Trouble (29th-March-2010)

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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beowulf View Post
    any advice?

    Pete (on the nervous side!)
    My advice is to not even think about it. When we got married - 6 years ago in July it will be, oooh, it was the most relaxed dance i have ever had because I was dancing with my wife for the first time. I couldn't have cared less who was watching. Whats more important though was it was just a freestyle, we did not practice any moves at all. Why should you put yourself under that extra pressure on your wedding day? just dance. The muggles will assume it is a choreographed routine anyway (they said as much to me) and the dancers among your friends will appreciate the connection the two of you have (Steve Lampert suggested I could have 'qualified' for jivemasters - but he may have been drunk (although he doesn't drink...mad seal disease then)) . All i can say is, for someone like me who is normally oh so aware of people watching in a competition, to not care about it in the slightest was quite exhilarating. I imagine you will be the same. Pick a smooth song and just go for it. We danced to the Dance Demon version of "Moon Dance", he may be available, you should ask .

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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by clevedonboy View Post
    Learn a social foxtrot & stick to that - it's less likely to go "wrong", you can cling on to each other ('cos you'll be scared anyway) & lots of oldies know how to do it and will be able to join in
    Brilliant idea. A foxtrot will look so much more elegant than MJ too.

    I might follow your advice for my own wedding dance.

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    Registered User Beowulf's Avatar
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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    Thanks to all so far. I feel I should clarify that Louise and I are not going down the full choreographed routine. It will, for all intents and purposes , be a freestyle. Although I (for my own benefit .. and for Louise's) need to get a few "Nice" bits stuck in my head otherwise the poor bride's 1st dance is going to be a long chain of Yo-Yo's and man spins

    Without saying too much about the 1st dance track we've chosen it's a bluesy number but not too slow and yes, I agree that when I'm up there I'll probably be fine. I'm a geek.. it's in my job description and genetic make-up to be overly analytical

    I take the point about the muggles thinking we're the best dancers they've seen and the Dancers understanding the situation and not looking at the moves. I will probably ask my best man to cough loudly every time I do more than 2 consecutive yo-yo's though

    Thanks to all so far.

    P.

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    Basically lazy robd's Avatar
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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Trouble View Post
    A foxtrot will look so much more elegant than MJ too.
    There's quite a difference between social foxtrot and slow foxtrot and it's the latter that would look more elegant though I'd expect the style of the dancers to influence how elegant or otherwise a dance looked more than the dance style. I think a social foxtrot is a great choice for a wedding dance, simple enough to learn, great feel and you could use 'My First, My Last, My Everything' which has nice sentiments even if not exactly accurate.

    Of course one man's elegance is another's boring so if you are looking for visual impact a bit of MJ will catch most people's attention especially if they do not dance themselves. Throw in a couple of simple dips and you'll be guaranteed oohs and ahhhs.

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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    Well firstly, everyone there is 'on your side', I doubt anyone could care one iota if you just shuffled round, gazing into each others eye, looking 'HAPPY'.

    But what people wouldn't enjoy, is watching the two of you looking uncomfortable and as though you'd rather not be doing it at all! If that's going to be the case, I think its best to just miss that bit out.. there's no rules that say you have to do one

    At my wedding (25years ago, this year ) we had a kind of SnowBall, me and Steve did a few bars on our own, then my dad grabbed his Mum, my Mum grabbed his Dad and the Best Man and Ushers grabbed the bridesmaids and then everyone kept swapping and getting more people up and the DJ was instructed to make the next song a lively one, to keep everyone up and dancing.
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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Trouble View Post
    Brilliant idea. A foxtrot will look so much more elegant than MJ too.

    I might follow your advice for my own wedding dance.
    You don't think a full-speed Lindy Hop/Balboa would be appropriate?

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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    Balboa is maybe not so daft - perhaps not flat out though. There is the slow dance based on Balboa called Laminu that Dan Guest teaches that can look rather cute

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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    Beo, come the day you will be spending the entire time grinning from ear to ear, overcome with how happy you are and the degree to which you will be unable to tear your eyes off your lovely bride.

    You'll probably spend the whole dance in closed hold, grinning inanely with your new wife, and be comepltely unable to remember a single step you've done, how well or otherwise you've danced it etc.

    While at this point you will feel like the centre of attention, come the actual dance, you will be with the woman you love and will barely notice anything else. In short, the dance is the easy part...

    ... The speech on the other hand...

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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    *reads thread with interest*

    2 weeks on Saturday for me and (soon to be) Mrs CRM. We've a song picked, but it'll have to be a freestyle since we've no time to practice, which means like Beo I may end up stuck in yoyo hell still, there'll hopefully be plenty of dancers at the wedding to fill the floor once we've had enough of being the centre of attention*.

    *For Gail this won't happen; for me it will have happened about 6 hours previously.

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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    As I said above, don't worry about the dance. Don't go to the trouble of learning a new dance. Do a dance you know. Pick a song, stick with it and do a minute at the most, preferably less. Use the DJ to get everyone to join you and get a tick in the "wedding dance" box.

    It's a big day, right up there on the list of really important and special big ones: marriage, birth of your children, erm, that's about it for the really, really big ones that are good news - bigger than house buying, new car, new job, new boat, etc, you don't realise how big a day it is when you do it for the first time - and you don't remember your own birth or death so you can't count them.

    If I did it again I'd make it smaller so we could actually take part rather than be the subject of the day. Parents kept telling us "it's your day". But looking back, it was really their day - but we should have made it ours. Was I or am I bothered? Not a bit. The important bit was becoming married and the interesting bit is being married. So worrying about a dance is tiny, tiny, tiny!

    Over time you will look back on your wedding day and remember only a few things. Mostly the good things and not even all of them. But you will never forget the things that went wrong - if you think your dance could go wrong my advice is - don't do it.

    For those who wish to post the things that went wrong at their wedding I've created a new thread here.

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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beowulf View Post
    Although I (for my own benefit .. and for Louise's) need to get a few "Nice" bits stuck in my head otherwise the poor bride's 1st dance is going to be a long chain of Yo-Yo's and man spins

    Maybe slip in a first move and a travelling return, then you have 3 moves

    I am sure your "poor bride" will only be thinking of how happy she is to be dancing with you.

    When you have been dancing for an eternity (55 seconds) and done the dreaded 2 yo yo's in a row, then time to point to the DJ, which is his que to announce for others to come join you on the dance floor.

    You might even find the track runs out and you wondered where the 3 minutes 40 seconds went.

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    Registered User David Franklin's Avatar
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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin View Post
    When you have been dancing for an eternity (55 seconds) and done the dreaded 2 yo yo's in a row, then time to point to the DJ, which is his que to announce for others to come join you on the dance floor.
    Actually, if the first dance is stressing you(*), the one concrete piece of advice I'd give is to edit the track to make it shorter. It's not difficult to make 2 minute versions of most tracks. [Alternative plan: if you want 'bluesy', you could use Nigel's Theme from the movie Swing which is under 2 minutes to start with].

    (*) If, far from stressing you, you want it to last as long as possible, then of course ignore everything I say...

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    Registered User Beowulf's Avatar
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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by Princess Fi View Post
    Beo,

    ... The speech on the other hand...


    Actually... with my experience of Am Dram.. that's not so much a problem. I'll have my "lines" and my "audience" and get up and do it

    One could have gone to Juilliard you know, Luvvie..

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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    Trying to think back to when I was in your position Beo. At the time I hadn't been dancing long, about nine months, seriously lacked confidence in what I was doing but got through it fine, even managed to be alert enough to stop my now ex-wife from falling on her face when she tripped on her dress whilst dancing.

    It's nerve-racking at first but it got easier as things got on. I did have the element of surprise as only two people in the room knew that we had both been going to dance classes. Everyone was very pleasantly surprised and cheering. I did have a few blank moments but they had been anticipated, so my ex would shout the odd name of a move at me to remind my of things to do. Managed a few leans and dips, which got a few woos and awes.

    Best just to go for it and ignore everyone else. Yes they will be looking but they'll enjoy watching your first dance together and be smiling with you, they won't be giving you scores and catty comments afterwards like SCD

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    Re: First Dance Tips.

    Here are my tips based upon my experience a few months ago.

    1) If, after many weeks of your partner saying that they don't want to do anything special for their first dance, your partner suddenly announces that they want to work out a choreographed routine 4 days before wedding day then just say no.

    2) Having been talked into the idea of doing a routine at short notice try and persuade them that they should do it to a track that you have with you rather than one that is sitting on your computer 5000 miles away.

    3) Try and dissuade your partner from using choreography that is sitting in your DVD collection 5000 miles away and that she is going to argue with your recollection of.

    4) Always (I really mean always) do at least 3 dress rehearsals before showing your first dance. I don't care if it is unlucky to see the dress before the big day. It is much better than hearing the dress rip during a lift and then having both yourself and your new bride spending the next 8 beats wondering if you are just about to slide your bride out of her skirt onto the dance floor to be in front of her guests in just her knickers and bodice.

    5) Have your music on the ipod by all means but have at least two copies on CD and give one to someone you trust and have one copy yourself. Use the CDs in rehearsal to ensure you have versions that will play without skipping.

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