reception Shall We DANCE? ance isn’t just about your feet — a lot of what happens on the dance floor starts way further north, in your head space. As you think about that wedding highlight, the first dance between wife and husband, already alarm bells might be sounding in your head. Perhaps you are very comfortable dancing but your partner — well, let’s just say he’d as soon walk across burning coals in bare feet as put his toes onto a dance floor. As the stars at your wedding reception, sitting it out simply isn’t an acceptable option. By planning and working ahead, your first dance will be as wildly-romantic and special as you want it, without undue angst. Start early with your lessons so that your body knows where it wants to move without even having to think about the steps involved. That way you can relax and enjoy what is arguably the romantic highlight of a wedding reception. By Jonathan Barratt GETTING YOUR HEAD AROUND WEDDING FIRST DANCES D FROM THIS DAY FORWARD Don’t look at dance lessons as just preparation for a dance or two at your wedding. The ability to dance well to various types of music is something partners share for a lifetime. You will be able to dance well throughout all your wedding celebrations, into your honeymoon and confidently into all the dances in your future together. Picture your fiftieth wedding anniversary celebrations, with the two of you still deeply in love as you move in unison across the dance floor to your favourite love song. FIRST STEPS Of all the steps along the way to your first dance, this may be the most important one. Book consultations with two or three dance studios to find the one that works for you. Prepare a list of questions as your agenda. Lisa MacLaggan, owner of Arthur Murray Dance Studios in Yorkville and Etobicoke, strongly advises couples to ask very specific questions and be prepared to provide detailed information to help your dance consultant select the appropriate program for you. Here are some of Lisa’s must-talk-about points: • If you opt for a plan of say twenty lessons, can fifteen be used for the bride and groom and the remainder for father-andbride or groom-and-mom dances? • How flexible is the studio? Close to the wedding day, couples need a lot of latitude to be able to make everything happen. • What is the cancellation policy? • Will you be dancing to a DJ or live band? • Is the dance floor small or large? • What is the vantage point of the wedding guests? continued on page 44 FEAR OF DANCE Quite a number of factors come into play for some folks who “just say no” when it comes to dancing. Maybe two left feet really are the issue, and if they are, they can be trained to go where you want them to and when. Part of being human is a fear of being judged and found not to be up to standard. Those self-conscious feelings are magnified when it comes to a public display of ability, or lack thereof, such as your moves on a dance floor. Therefore, step one is to rethink your thinking. Reprogram your brain and make the default “can learn to dance”, replacing “no way I could ever do that”. Learning to dance involves learning skill sets that will stand you in good stead on the dance floor at your wedding and in many situations throughout your life. We’re not only talking about footwork here but the confidence that developing a new skill brings. SET A REALISTIC GOAL Before purchasing a series of lessons, decide exactly what you want to accomplish. Do you want to learn some basic dances that you will be able to use not only for your first dance but also for other dances throughout the reception? Is your dream to do a choreographed dance? Set the dance bar at realistic heights. Don’t think you can learn something as intricate as dance sequences on “Dancing With The Stars”; their novices have a tremendous advantage because each one is teamed with a professional dancer who carries them through those complicated and demanding dance routines. 42 Wedding Essentials 2013