7 Tips for a Great First Dance

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1. Choose a meaningful song. Select a song you both love and one that keeps an easy beat, especially if you’re beginning dancers. When your song lasts longer than the usual three minutes, ask your DJ to fade the ending. Remember: frazzled dancers don’t dazzle.

2. Take a couple of dance lessons. Group lessons can be intimidating, but private lessons remove the pressure of dancing for an audience. Your instructor will teach you according to your ability level. With private instruction, beginners can quickly master the basics with confidence. Dancing, like music, lifts the spirit and is so much more enjoyable when shared with your significant other.

3. Decide who leads and who follows. Gender no longer has anything to do with your decision. Choose the pattern that makes you comfortable. There’s nothing wrong with following a simple lead. The object of dancing is to enjoy the dance! Being able to follow the leader creates confidence in the follower and makes a more pleasurable dance for the leader, too. If you’re feeling brave and brassy, create a dance that switches leads once or twice during the routine.

4. Learn a couple of exciting steps. A pre-planned (choreographed) dip or a twirl makes a splashy statement without the tricky toe work of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. These moves are not only easy, but they offer impressive photo opportunities for still shots and videographers. When you look at them in the future, your photos will take you back to these moments with pride and a satisfied chuckle.

5. Plan your entrance and your exit. Will you clasp hands and kiss before you begin your dance? Will you sashay in from the left and leave to the right? Whatever you decide, be sure to tell your camera operators where and in what direction you will start and finish your dance, as well as any choreographed moves you plan to make. That way, they can prepare to capture the moment in its best light and with the correct angle.

6. Familiarize yourselves with the dance floor. Check out the floor you will dance on. Make sure you know its dimensions. Some styles of dancing (like Foxtrot) require a bigger space. Other styles like nightclub two step don’t require much space. Have a good idea of the size and shape your wedding reception dance floor will be so that you can practice and get used to dancing in that amount of space.

7. Practice, practice, practice. Practice on a busy dance floor in a public place. You can also practice at home, of course, (preferably in front of a large, floor-length mirror), but you also need the experience of dancing in front of an audience. Practice your routine at least a couple of times per week, for several weeks, until your feet seem to move without much help from your mind. Concentrate on having fun during your first dance, and your guests will jump to join you on the dance floor.

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