Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ask a Planner... "What the Pros want you to know about DANCE LESSONS"

Hello Lovelies...  I am a huge advocate for dance lessons in any capacity where a first dance is concerned as the “high school shuffle” is rarely fun for guests to watch (at times even painful) or for the couple to dance for that matter as it isn’t until you get up in front of 100+ guests that you realize how long 4 minutes actually is!  So it is for this reason that this week I bring you…

What the Pros want you to know about…  Dance Lessons.

Wedding dance lessons are often the last and generally most feared item on a Bride and Groom’s to-do list.

Here are 10 essential things you should know about planning the perfect 1st dance:

1.    A “perfect” wedding dance doesn’t necessarily mean getting a “10” from the judges of ‘Dancing with the Stars’.  This should be a fun and enjoyable part of the wedding.

2.    1st Dances can take place either at the start of the Reception when the bride and groom are introduced into the room or after dinner to start off the night’s dancing festivities!

3.    Private Dance Lessons are the best option for maximizing your success!  Going to a group class that is offered to the general public, and is not specific to Wedding Dance can be a waste of time and money.  The best way to prepare for your first dance is to learn steps that suit your chosen song at the pace that’s perfect for you.

4.    Couples should choose a dance teacher based on the type of dance they would like to do.  If they want to do a “Baby Got Back” routine, work with a Hip Hop Teacher.  If you want to copy So You Think You Can Dance, find a Contemporary or Jazz dance teacher.  If you want to have a romantic dance as a couple hire a Ballroom, Latin or Swing teacher.

5.    Not all dance teachers are equal.  There is a wide range of dance teachers out there.  Some teach dance part-time after they come home from their day job.  Others were recruited by a franchise and took a 2-month course to become ‘qualified’.  Only a small few are true Professionals who teach full-time and have years of experience as dancers as well as teachers.  Hire a professional for maximum results!

6.    If your goal is to simply become comfortable together on the dance floor and not make a fool of yourself a good teacher can accomplish this within 1-2 lessons. This won’t prepare you to enter any dance competitions, but will at least help you look good doing the basic “high school shuffle”.

7.    If your goal is to have guests say, “Hey, I didn’t know they could dance!” a good teacher can accomplish this within 4-7 lessons.  This is usually the most popular goal for many couples… they want to look coordinated and elegant on the dance floor.

8.    If your goal is to knock the socks off your guests and give them a show they will never forget you should be prepared to start working with a private dance instructor 3-4 months before the wedding.  Depending on how ‘crazy’ you want to get and how quickly you learn the number of lessons can range from 10-15 lessons.

9.    You’d be surprised at how many different types of music work well as first dance songs.  Couples have had great success dancing to timeless classics from Frank Sinatra and Etta James all the way to contemporary Lenny Kravitz and Jason Mraz songs.  Ideally a couple will choose a song that has meaning or at the very least one they both genuinely like listening to. Whatever the choice of song, in the end, it’s the dance teacher’s job to make it easy for the couple to dance to.

10. To keep things easy and fun to learn and dance, ideally your wedding dance will incorporate several different types of dance steps from various popular genres including the Waltz, Foxtrot, Jive, Swing, Salsa, Nightclub 2 Step, and a few other partner-based dances.  The goal is to create a dance that is authentic and fun and a true refection of your style and personality.

Bonus Tip:  If you are not totally sure if you want to explore dance lessons find a teacher that will offer you an initial free consultation to discuss options.  Keep in mind that the good ones are generally busy teaching all day (and night), but they’ll always be able to find 15 minutes to meet with you to help you decide the best option for you.

This week’s featured Pros are: Joel and Clara who founded JC Dance Co in 2006 after becoming the highest ranked ballroom dancers to come out of Western Canada in the past 40 years.  After traveling the world representing Canada at the highest level they decided to settle back down in their hometown of Vancouver and pass on their knowledge, experience and passion for ballroom dancing to dancers of all ages and all levels in Vancouver.  They teach their private lessons at the beautiful Broadway Ballroom, located on West Broadway and Oak Street.  Contact them to arrange a consultation or book your private lessons today!

Wedding Planner signing off!  Until next week… keep those questions coming in!  Submit your questions by emailing us at 


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Genève McNally, Principal Planner, DreamGroup Productions

Genève first began her wedding career in 1999 as the Catering Manager for one of Vancouver’s most sought after wedding venues, Brock House Restaurant.  In 2004 Genève and college friend Sarah Shore ambitiously started up what is now one of Vancouver's longest running and most trusted wedding planning companies, DreamGroup Productions Inc.

These days, in addition to working with her clients in a full planning capacity and raising her two wonderful boys Harrison and Campbell with her husband, Genève focuses her attention on the sales and marketing aspects of the company and is most often the friendly voice you will chat with when first inquiring with DreamGroup.  Genève is known to inspire and excite both clients and industry associates alike with her exuberant personality and joie de vivre!  Her ability to be refreshingly candid and her in depth knowledge of the wedding industry have earned her the friendly moniker “Two-Cents McNally”.  Genève also teaches the Wedding Planning classes offered through the dg Academy and is the chief correspondent behind DreamGroup's weekly Blog feature Ask a Planner.

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