This couple just proves the old saying “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” You see, while they were taking lessons one of them was living in Memphis and the other in St. Louis. Talk about dedication! Completing this routine took a lot of planning, but it was all worth it when they had their gorgeous and romantic first dance on the beach at sunset.
Wendy and Chris are a good example of the axiom opposites attract. Okay, so they’re both sweet, intelligent, successful people, but they’re personalities are yin and yang. In other words, perfect together! So it’s no surprise that their charming wedding in the garden at Acre was a beautiful blending of the two, and their first dance was just sweet, sweet, sweet.
What do you get when you combine a doting (and slightly ADD) father, Daddy’s little girl, and a great song? Magic! Wes and Elaine didn’t want to do a standard stand and sway dance, but they did want people to think that’s what they were going to do. And they managed to keep their secret right up until the moment when the music sped up and they broke into a lively swing dance. Their enthusiasm and energy are amazing and the crowd loved it.
Elaine & Wes perform their father-daughter swing dance with the help of Jeremy Shrader’s Octacats!
All right, if I’m honest, I think you should know a lot more than three dances. But in general, you need at least three: one for slow music, one for fast music, and one for intermediate tempos. So here are three very handy dances that will fit the bill for almost any occasion.
Not every studio teaches slow lounge, but it works beautifully for those slow songs that will inevitably be playing for the first half-hour or so of any event (wedding reception, class reunion, charity gala). It can be relaxed and friendly, sensual and romantic, or even a little campy, depending on the song and the mood of the couple dancing. In fact, many engaged couples will learn it for their first dance and then also use it for the father-daughter or mother-son dance. It’s that versatile!
Swing is a big umbrella that includes several dances (many of them regional), but the simplest is push-pull. It’s fast and fun, making it a go to dance for parties. Unlike most forms of swing (which use a syncopated 6-count rhythm), push-pull has a simple four beat pattern, making it easier to learn and to lead. It’s also less taxing than its more complex cousins, and therefore appropriate for almost any age or fitness level.
And then there is rumba. At first glance it’s not an obvious choice, since it’s traditionally a Latin dance, but the rumba rhythm can be found in oldies, pop, and even country music. The basic movement is a simple box-step that anyone can learn. From there you can add a few simple patterns for social dancing, or develop a sophisticated repertoire of wraps, turns, Latin motion, and styling.
So, these are my choices for the three dances everyone should know. What are yours?
When I first started dancing, I resisted getting dance shoes. I felt I wasn’t “good enough”. To me, they were something only professionals and serious competitors wore, and as a rank amateur I wasn’t worthy of calling myself a dancer. So I dithered and wore sandals, ballet flats, and even moccasins to class. Adequate, but hardly exciting.
I don’t remember what finally pushed me to purchase my first pair. Perhaps it was an upcoming show, or simply that everyone else at my level had long since taken the plunge. At any rate, they were only a middling quality basic black t-strap pump, but to me they were magic. From the moment I put them on I felt like a “real dancer”. Instantly I held myself differently, stood taller, and had a little more sass in my step. The steel shank supporting my foot made me feel stable and strong. The suede sole let me turn and spin with abandon. And ahhh, the padding.
I’ve purchased many, many dance shoes since then, but I still have that first pair. They’re full of holes and full of memories. So, do you really need dance shoes? Strictly speaking, you do not. But why not treat yourself to a pair and see if they don’t come with a sprinkle of magic?
Ahhh, a spring wedding. Olivia and Jacob’s outdoor service at Southwind was perfect!
When I first met this lovely couple, I asked what they hoped to get out of their lessons and Olivia said, “We just want to look like sophisticated adults.” Excellent. That request was made even easier since they chose a song that was a Foxtrot, which is a smooth and classy dance.
Working with these two was so much fun because even though they laughed (a lot!) during their lessons, they worked hard and progressed quickly. With only a few lessons, they had a dance they could really be proud of. The only glitch was that while practicing in the hallway right before going out on the floor, Olivia realized she had a little trouble moving backwards in her dress. But they worked as a team to overcome that obstacle, and isn’t that what marriage is all about?