Sunday, 26 February 2012

Nail The First Dance At Your Wedding - A recent interview for 'You And Your Wedding' Magazine.

I thought I'd re-blog a recent interview I did for top wedding magazine You and Your Wedding.

Liz and Kevin dance to Rule The World by Take That.
For most of us, dancing in public is something we only do after one too many cocktails in the middle of a dark, overcrowded dance floor. So it’s no wonder the nerves start to kick in at the mention of the first wedding dance – with all eyes on you and the groom. Want to wow your guests with more than just a clumsy jig? Read on…

What's the big trend at the moment – Strictly Come Ballroom or Dirty Dancing-style show dances?

For a wedding first dance, the classic ballroom dances are always popular. We don’t have to stick to the rules quite as strongly as Strictly though! I mix in a few traditional steps with a few fancy and fun ones, and adapt some of the stricter ballroom timings and rules to suit the couple and the song. Actually, the couples that do want a more showy dance seem to be going all out lately and involving the bridesmaids, ushers and even mum and dad for a full on performance!

Which is the simplest ballroom dance to master?
I would say learning the waltz is the most straightforward ballroom dance. It is comprised of a basic box step where the feet make a box or square shape on the ground in six steps. Once a couple has mastered this, there is a lot we can do with it to easily fill a song without learning lots of complicated moves.

Would we be better learning a Latin dance like Salsa or Samba?

As a rule I generally find the bride picks up salsa steps a lot easier than the groom. Perhaps because a lot of exercise classes the bride may have attended in the past use similar steps. If the couple is up for it though and prepared to use a lot of hip action, this can be a great style to go for and a real crowd pleaser!

Is it easier to choose our favourite piece of music and get it choreographed for us?
I would definitely choose the right song for you, rather than try and think what anyone else would like. Any song can be danced to, although admittedly some are harder to dance to than others. I find the hardest songs are the really slow ones – especially if a couple is inexperienced with timing. Couples need to use a lot of restraint – quite difficult when excited and nervous on the day. Saying that, couples seem to always pull it off beautifully on the day.

We'd like to do a simple waltz to something contemporary. Can you suggest some tracks?

There are some really cool waltzes out there. A favourite of mine is ‘Valentine Moon’ by Sam Brown. Other great modern choices include ‘Crown of Love’ by Arcade Fire; ‘Come away with me’ by Norah Jones, ‘If you don’t know me by now’ by Simply Red, ‘Kiss from a Rose’ by Seal, plus lots more.

How many lessons would we need to nail something?
It depends on what you want. To do justice to a full song most couples would need around four or five hours. One or two hours however, will give you a good grounding of steps and give you the confidence to dance comfortably together on the night. Couples wanting bigger numbers, i.e. two songs linked together, or involving other members of the wedding party would probably need a little more. As the lessons are one-to-one and tailored specifically to each couples’ requirements, each hour is worth around 10 of what you take away from a group class environment.

How long should we aim for the routine to last?
Three minutes is ideal. It is the length of the average song. I would suggest if you are linking a couple of songs, to shorten them to combine not much more than three minutes also. It is long enough to seem like a complete part of the evening, however short enough to captivate everyone’s attention throughout.

How long before the wedding should we start practising?
I would aim to have your last session around three weeks before the wedding. That way it isn’t so far in advance that you have forgotten it by the time the big day arrives, however you have still enough time to practice, or to squeeze in another session if necessary.

Above all, the main thing is to enjoy your dance! Many couples tell me afterwards what an enjoyable part of the wedding preparations it has been and something they really worked on together. When dancing as a couple you interact both mentally and physically. What better introduction to a marriage than that!?

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Susannah and Bjorn's first dance - Pictures!

Thought I'd post these awesome pictures of Susannah and Bjorn's first dance! They really are so stunning! Do check out the video here too!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Susannah and Bjorn's first dance

I was delighted this morning to receive this video of a wedding dance of a couple I did for a couple last summer. Bjorn and Susannah were great fun to work with and wanted lots of dramatic moves and lifts which looked amazing! It made a nice mix with some more classic steps.
They had 2 and a half sessions. Two in their home and the other final rehearsal the day before the wedding when the marque and dance floor were set up which was great for them to be able to practice in the space.
Here is their dance to Michael Buble's 'Feeling Good'. They did so well and I am really proud of them and with them both a very happy marriage.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Everyone can dance – says the master of street dance (and me!)

One of my favourite TV programmes at the moment is Ashley Banjo’s Secret Street Crew (which is on Sky 1 on Sunday evenings).  Ashley’s mission is to prove that he can get the most unlikely of dancers (so far including a group of darts players and fantasy role play geeks) to get poppin’, locking and body shakin’ like the best of them!  All the rehearsals are done in secret so that their friends and families get a real surprise when it comes to the performance.
Why I probably connect with this programme is that it reminds me of many of the wedding dances and hen party dances that I have choreographed where groups of friends (generally non-dancers) learn an incredible routine to surprise and wow the wedding guests on the big day.   The response from loved ones is always phenomenal and of course, well deserved.
What this tv programme and my personal experiences prove is that Ashley is right and that everyone can dance.  No matter what their background, personality or experience, with a bit of practice and determination, everyone can release their inner dancer (and most importantly, have fun in the process!)
So, if you’re thinking of doing a surprise group wedding dance or getting a group of hens together to learn a routine on your hen do, take inspiration from Banjo’s darts players and geeks and you can impress your family and friends too!