With our free online wedding dance lessons, we will help you create your perfect choreography and show you how to dance it.
Planning a wedding can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to the wedding dance.
Many couples feel the pressure to perform a meaningful choreographed dance that will impress their guests.
Paying for dance lessons or hiring a professional dance instructor or choreographer can be expensive, intimidating and time consuming.
I am not denying that hiring a professional dance instructor, or even better a choreographer is the optimum solution. After all, that's how I make my living!
Unfortunately that's not always a practical solution. Attending regular dance lessons takes time and commitment. Nowadays, with our busy lifestyles it can also be impractical and inconvenient.
On the other hand, getting private lessons from a choreographer can be expensive. As we know, the budget for a wedding can get out of hand very quickly!
However there is another solution, a compromise that might suit many out there.
The DIY Wedding Choreography.
With a structured plan, the help of free online wedding dance lessons, and a positive attitude, it is possible to create your own bespoke wedding dance choreography. A choreography and dance that will be a memorable and enjoyable experience for you and your partner. Knowing that you created your own choreography will definitely add to that special moment on the dance floor.
This is what this article is all about, helping you create your own First Dance Choreography. It's not as hard as you may think.
It's a step by step process.
I propose to highlight each step for you and guide you through the process.
An Achievable Wedding Dance Choreography
Here is a demonstration of what is achievable without any dance experience but with a little time.
Of course, you would only need to learn a few (3 would be good) of the dance patterns demonstrated here. Remember your choreography should be only 2 min 30 sec long.
The trick is to keep your step as simple as possible.
In this video, I use what we call a "marching" step. It's the most basic dance step you can use. We simply mark the beat with each step, while staying relaxed and engaging the hips. But more about that below.
The point here is that if we make the step so simple that we don't have to think about it. This way we give ourselves the opportunity to focus and what will impress: the dance moves.
The Basics - Step by Step
First thing first, you will need to learn the basics of partner dancing:
- Frame, Posture and Hold.
- Leading and Following.
- The steps.
Then we can implement and practice them by learning very simple moves:
- The Basket
- The Hammerlock
1- Frame, Posture and Hold
Posture, frame, and hold are essential elements in partner dancing that contribute to the overall appearance and quality of the dance. Here's a brief overview of each concept:
- Posture: Good posture is crucial in partner dancing, as it enables the dancers to move smoothly and gracefully across the dance floor. Proper posture involves standing up straight with the shoulders relaxed, the chest lifted, and the hips aligned with the feet. Dancers should avoid slouching, leaning forward or back, or letting their head drop.
- Frame: Frame refers to the way that the partners hold themselves and each other during the dance. In partner dancing, the frame is created by the arms, shoulders, and upper body. The partners should maintain a firm and steady frame, with the arms slightly extended and the elbows slightly bent. The frame should be maintained throughout the dance, even when the partners are turning or spinning.
- Hold: Hold refers to the way that the partners hold each other during the dance. In partner dancing, there are different types of holds depending on the dance style, but the most common one is the closed hold. In a closed hold, the leader's right hand holds the follower's left hand, while the leader's left hand rests on the follower's back, just below the shoulder blade. The follower's right hand rests on the leader's left shoulder. The hold should be gentle but firm, with the partners maintaining a slight pressure towards each other.
- Hand Hold: There are several hand holds and I'lll talk about two of them in the video below. The 2nd hold is particularly important for the style of dancing we are going to use. If you find that a move is difficult or awkward, may be a little painful, the first thing to check is your hand hold.
Overall, posture, frame, and hold are crucial elements in partner dancing that contribute to the elegance and fluidity of the dance. When done correctly, these elements help the partners to move together as a cohesive unit, creating a beautiful and enjoyable dance performance.
2- Leading and Following
Leading and following are important concepts in partner dancing. One partner takes the role of the leader, while the other partner takes the role of the follower.
The leader is responsible for initiating the movements and transitions in the dance, while the follower responds to these signals and executes the movements in a coordinated manner. The leader sets the pace, direction, and style of the dance, while the follower follows along and adjusts to the leader's movements.
Leading in dance requires the leader to have a clear idea of the sequence of movements they want to perform, and the ability to communicate these movements effectively to the follower through the right tension in the frame, body language, and cues. The leader needs to be confident, decisive, and sensitive to the follower's movements, and should adjust their movements to accommodate the follower's skill level and preferences.
Following in dance requires the follower to be attentive, responsive, and adaptable to the leader's movements. The follower needs to have a good sense of timing and rhythm, and should be able to read the leader's signals and cues accurately. The follower also needs to maintain good posture, balance, and technique to execute the movements correctly.
Leading and following in dance require both partners to have good communication skills, trust, and mutual respect. The leader should not force the follower to perform movements that are beyond their skill level or comfort zone, while the follower should not resist or second-guess the leader's movements. Instead, both partners should work together as a team to create a harmonious and enjoyable dance experience.
In summary, leading and following are crucial aspects of partner dancing that involve clear communication, mutual respect, and teamwork between the partners. When done correctly, leading and following can create a beautiful and fluid dance performance that showcases the skills and chemistry of both partners.
The practical skill you need to learn now is understanding the importance of holding the right tension in the frame. Try the exercise below.
3- The Steps
When it comes to the dance steps, our philosophy is to keep them as simple as possible!
There are a couple of reasons for this:
- The more complex the step, the more difficult the dance...Obvious but overlooked some many times.
- Your guests are not looking at your feet, they are looking at you. When someone looks at you they look mostly at your face and when you are dancing, your upper body.
So, with this in mine we will teach you the most simple step. This way you can focus on what will look good and impress: the moves, patterns and styling.
Now let's learn 2 simple moves. At this point you should use these moves to practice everything that you learned up to now.
Don't rush this step, it's VERY important.
If you can't relax, be fluid and elegant when you dance these two moves then you need more practice!
4- The Basket
Here is your first move. Time your time with it and explore the different variances.
It's a great move to test your connection, rhythm and coordination. You will find it used in patterns later on.
It's also a very good "linking" move if you want to link to patterns together or if you just draw a blank and can't remember what to do next!
5- The Hammerlock
The Hammerlock is another handy move and it can lead to interesting patterns. Don't be afraid to explore the possibilities that it offers.
One word of caution though, the Hammerlock can be painful if it's not led properly. We explain this in detail in the video.
Followers, don't settle for pain! There shouldn't be any pain when you are dancing. If you feel any discomfort, in particular in your shoulder, inform your leader straight away.
Brushes don't really qualify as moves. They are more of a styling exercise.
We like them for two reasons:
- They look good!
- They are a great way to practice holding the correct tension in your frames. It's important to always pay attention to the tension in your frames. In the excitement of learning new moves and more complex patterns, it's easy to forget your basics! Remember the basics are the most important elements of a partnered dance.
7- Basics - Wedding Dance - Demo
Here is a simple demonstration of what we have learned so far. As you can see, even with just these basics, you can dance.
It's not very impressive yet but it's a frame on which we can now build upon.
It's also good to know that, once you master these basics, you can dance. So even if you were to draw a blank on the day and forget your choreography, you can still dance and look a hundred times better than if you had not prepared!
Moves and Patterns
So, let's define a pattern again as it's a concept that often leads to confusion.
A pattern is simply a series of moves. An example of a very simple pattern for example, would be The Basket + The Hammerlock + Out of Hammerlock.
So a pattern is arbitrary. It's a vehicle that instructors use to teach. It gives structure to both the lesson and the choreography. I like to use the analogy of a lego set. Each lego piece is a move and by putting these moves together you create a pattern. So a move is rigid but a pattern is fluid.
So, now that you know that, you know that you can change, adapt, deconstruct and reconstruct any of the patterns below. You can create a choreography that suits your song, your personality, etc...
1- The Rope
Here comes your first pattern!
The beginning of this pattern should feel familiar as it starts like the Basket. It's a great pattern to start a choreography as it will ease you into it.
You should feel a "flow" when you dance this pattern. Be careful not to look robotic. You will probably get the jist of it quickly enough but it's likely that you will need a good bit of practice to make look it seamless and elegant.
Practice, practice, practice...
2- Lean on Me
3- Picture Perfect
Entrance and Exit
In conclusion, creating a DIY wedding dance choreography can be a fun and rewarding experience, even if you're not a professional dancer.
With a structured plan, the help of online resources, and a positive attitude, you can create a dance routine that reflects your personalities and makes your special day even more memorable.
So, don't be afraid to take on the challenge and get creative with your dance moves!