Monday, December 6, 2010

2010 Yuletide Ball Championship & Gala

Date: Dec. 31, 2010 - Jan. 2, 2011

Where: JW Marriott Hotel in DC

Contact:, 301-972-2416

Bring in the New Year at the 2010 Yuletide Ball Championships and Gala! You can see dancing at its finest by watching the competition or join in on the fun by attending the formal ball! Just don't forget your dancing shoes! Want to keep the party going? Make it a romantic weekend and reserve a room at the hotel! Give us a call to brush up on your floorplay before the gala! 703.626.7016

Monday, November 8, 2010

Your Chance to Dance & Romance!

Annual Viennese Christmas Ball

Date: Friday December 3, 2010

Time: 7:00 PM Champagne & Reception

8:00 PM Grand March & Opening ceremony

Where: Washington Golf & Country Club (“the Club of the Presidents”)

Tickets: $95, inclusive

Attire: Black Tie (white tie optional)

You are invited to the annual Viennese Christmas Ball, presented under the gracious patronage of His Excellency, The Ambassador of Austria, Christian Prosl. Join Wharton Club members and other guests for this elegant event filled with Viennese waltz, quadrilles and ballroom music from around the world!

The evening will begin with champagne and an Austrian desserts buffet, and continue the celebration dancing to our favorite waltzes by Lehar, Waldteufel, Tchaikovsky and Strauss in addition to ballroom music performed by Washington ’s preferred salon orchestra, Con Brio! Join in the famed Radetzky Grand March and dance the Fledermaus Quadrille No. 6 as done at midnight at the grand balls in Vienna.

Opening Ceremonies presented by Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy performing all six Fledermaus Quadrilles. Champagne Reception, sumptuous Austrian desserts buffet and selected wines. Complimentary valet parking. For invitations: Mrs. Robert Bocek, 540-882-4808 or Reservations have come in quickly this year, so please do respond as soon as possible. Attendance is limited.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wedding Dance Workshops for November!

Wedding Dance Workshop
Falls Church, VA
Saturday, November 6, 2010
1:00 - 2:30
$30 per person.
Workshop attendees who are Facebook fans qualify for a discount when you pre-register for two workshops or private lessons.

Columbia, MD
Date: Saturda
y, November 6, 2010
5:00 - 6:30
$30 per person.
Workshop attendees who are Facebook fans qualify for a discount when you pre-register for two workshops or private lessons.

Sample a variety of slow dances perfect for love songs to see which style you prefer.
Develop your individual composure as a dancer by learning foundation techniques.
Learn the fundamentals and secrets of partner dancing.
Techniques for travelling around the floor.
Brief overview of choregraphy concepts
Invite your parents and bridal party so they can prepare for the Honors Dances.
Get a head start on your private lessons or polish and reinforce what you've already learned.
If your wedding isn't for a while and you haven't chosen a special song yet, this is the perfect way to get your feet wet and get comfortable dancing around others!
Meet other engaged couples in the area!

Maximize your investment in private lessons by getting a head start with this comprehensive workshop.
Dance with your partner the whole time - no partner switching

An elegant First Dance requires footwork and armwork so we strongly recommend the Rock the Reception Workshop to compliment to learn easy but dynamic armwork, sexy twirls, head drapes, cuddles and spins to spice up your First Dance plus have cool moves you can use all night long during the reception!

Rock the Reception Workshop

Location: Falls Church, VA
Date: Saturday,
November 6, 2010
2:30 - 4:00

Columbia, MD
Date: Saturday,
November 6 , 2010
6:30 - 8:00

Easy moves that look impressive. Lots of twirls to show her off. Never have to dance by yourself again to fast music! You can slow these moves down and incorporate them into your First Dance too! Learn how to twirl, spin, drape, cuddle, unwrap to give your bride the "Cinderella Moment" she deserves in the spotlght and have your guests applauding, cheering, wildly photographing and sharing their own "Facebook moment!"

Price: $30 per person. (Discounted when you pre-register for two workshops)
Workshop attendees who are Facebook fans may qualify for a discount on private lessons!
RSVP: 703.626.7016 or email:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Determining How Many Dance Lessons You Need

Determine what your dancing goals are first. This will affect when you start and how many lessons you choose. Don't worry too much about time constraints when considering quantity because we can offer double sessions. Once you have determined your goals, we can better advise you as to how many lessons we recommend for your individual needs. Consider the following:
  • Do you want to learn enough just to "survive" the wedding dance?
  • Do you want to have an interesting variety of moves for the wedding dance?
  • Are you participating in additional Honors Dances?
  • Do you plan on fast dancing during the general reception?
  • Do you want to learn to dance in general at future social events?
  • Do you want to enjoy a dinner/dancing date night with your fiance(e) during the wedding planning process?
  • Do you want to share dancing as a hobby even after the wedding?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

How to Select a Dance Studio/Instructor

We have couples and event planners who call us from all over the country asking us for advice on selecting an instructor for the most memorable dance of their lives. Their inquiries inspired us to write this article. So here are 8 ways to pick a wedding dance teacher:

1. Know the difference between a generalist and a specialist. In an unregulated industry such as dancing and wedding planning, just because someone calls oneself an expert or specialist doesn't mean they actually are and just because someone is a champion competitor doesn't mean they can teach beginners effectively. There is a huge difference between a a generic studio who slaps up a pink website with stock images of brides and grooms and then advertises on wedding sites that they are wedding dance experts versus a company whose bread and butter is engaged couples, has years of experience primarily serving that clientele and is keenly focused on addressing their needs. It's the difference between a general physician and a cardiac surgeon. One is a generalist the other is a specialist. One way to evaluate a service provider is to see if they are addressing your specific goals. One of the problems with a standard dance studio or instructor is that they view wedding couples as "lost leads." This is because the wedding couple has a short term goal - - the wedding, which does not usually lead them to take very many lessons. Keep these facts in mind when you call or go into a studio and especially if they try to upsell you. Unfortunately your wedding insurance won't cover dance malpractice...So choose carefully!

1) "FREE" lessons: You get what you pay for! Most "free lessons" at dance studios are a lure to get you in the door. Much of the lesson is spent convincing you of the benefits of dance as a lifetime hobby and reviewing lengthy and expensive packages for after your wedding. The free lesson’s emphasis is not actually on learning to dance but rather on selling you more lessons and since the first one was "FREE" the rest of the lessons will have to be more expensive or shorter in duration than other studios to cover the initial loss. Plus, you should factor in how much your and your fiance's time is worth. There is nothing that can't be answered over the phone, by email or online that requires a trial visit. Especially if you are just looking for a short crash course. It costs a dance studio thousands of dollars to create a dance instructor, promote their business and cover expenses. Therefore, studios do not give away QUALITY private lessons for free. Certainly DO NOT expect to receive a complete routine in one FREE trial lesson. In fact, it is rare to find any studio that will GUARANTEE a complete wedding dance routine in one lesson. We were the first!

2) One dance style versus a variety: The Wedding Dance Specialists leaves the decision of how many dances to learn up to you-the client! Most wedding couples are on a tight schedule and limited budget, they want to focus their attention on feeling comfortable for their first dance in front of their guests. In contrast, general dance studios may discourage students from studying only one dance for various reasons (primarily the bottom line). Complicating a small program (3-5 lessons) with additional dances may result in needing to purchase more lessons and cause a sense of confusion and discomfort on your big day. Feeling comfortable with new dance material generally requires about 5 hours. Depending on your skill and comfort level,it’s O.K. to reevaluate your progress and comfort level after the third or fourth lesson to consider learning the very basics of a second dance but be wary of teachers too insistent on focusing on more than one dance from the onset.

3) Experience of the instructor: Since wedding couples generally purchase small packages (less than 25) many studios have their most inexperienced instructors teach the wedding couples. Our instructors have been specially trained for the unique needs of wedding couples and are all competition or performance level dancers. Dance lessons are as important as any other service you might hire for your wedding. You have every right to ask how long your instructor has been teaching. Would you want to hire a chauffeur who just moved to the area, got his license last week and has never driven the limo before?

4) Flexibility in package options: Be wary of studios who insist you cannot benefit from just one lesson or worse do not allow you to purchase only one lesson!  Even one lesson with the right instructor can show remarkable results. Some students time or budget do not allow for more than one lesson. We understand this and are flexible. We GUARANTEE that you can look and feel more elegant on the dance-floor with ONE lesson compared to just trying to “wing it.”. The Wedding Dance Specialists cater to the unique needs of wedding couples. We created this niche in the metro/DC area years ago because we saw a need was not being met. A couple years after our inception, we have been flattered by those attempting to imitate us. Your wedding dance preparation can be the most relaxing and romantic aspect of your wedding planning process IF you have the right instructor! We encourage you to do your research and compare!

5) The Teacher: The personality, demeanor, image, teaching style are all important factors to consider when selecting a dance teacher.  Just because they are good dancers does not guarantee that they will be good teachers. The teacher must genuinely enjoy working with beginners and ideally have compassion and understanding of the unique pressures that wedding planning involves. Our staff also stay abreast of the wedding industry by reading our two complimentary online newsletters called "Wedding Dance 411" and "Marriage 411" which provide professional planning advice, resources and we have negotiated exclusive vendor discounts on your behalf! We hope you'll read it and benefit too!

6) Price: The rate an amateur dancer can expect to pay for a professional private lesson can range anywhere between $65 - $140 per lesson depending on where you live, what type of facility is hosting the lessons, the length of the lessons, the quality of the instruction and specific services provided. There are studios that require you to purchase a package combination of privates, groups and practice parties. If you do not realistically think you will be using those services then subtract out the value of the group ($15 per group) and the value of the party ($10 per party) and then you will have a realistic idea of how much you are actually paying for a private lesson. 

7) The Duration of the lesson: Lessons that are lower in price but also shorter in duration often end up costing the exact same or even more than lessons that are higher per lesson but longer in duration. The actual cost per minute of instruction may come out even in the wash and the longer lessons will save you a lot of extra commuting time and avoid you having to reserve extra studio visits in your busy wedding planning calendar. Lessons range from :40 - :55 mins. Generally it is better to find a studio that offers :55 min lessons. If you calculate in all your wasted time, the shorter and "cheaper" lessons may actually cost you more in the long run. Also remember four :55 minute private lessons are equivalent to five :45 minute lessons.

8.) The studio's/instructor focus: Does the entire studio or independent instructor exclusively focus on engaged couples 99% of the time or 10% of the time? If it is not at least 70% of the time chances are high you business is just "filler income" to them. That means they just throw up an ad during the busy season for weddings and siphon off the business from clients who didn't fully research their options. Also generic studios tend to give their most inexperienced teachers (now dubbed wedding dance specialists) their wedding couples since they consider them "lost leads" anyway. It takes a certain type of teacher who truly has a passion for weddings and for teaching beginners to be a wedding dance specialist. Even prestigious high ranking national champion dance competitors have tried and failed.

9. Can he/she work with your song? The vast majority of First Dance songs are very slow love ballads. They are not used in ballroom dancesport competitions because their tempos cannot be easily categorized. Many of these songs do not work well with the traditional ballroom dance tempos for typical dances like Fox Trot, Waltz or Rumba. So what do you do in those sticky situations? Plus if you are taking a crash course and your song does fit into a typical ballroom style, the basic curriculum is not particularly dynamic and photogenic to maximize the best poses for your photography and videography. So what do you do? This is where a specialist can help. We suggest you ask the instructor to demonstrate the whole routine at the beginning of the lesson with the bride so you can see the big picture perspective of what you are about to learn.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Unique Wedding Ideas

I came across a bride's post online asking for unique ideas for her wedding. I suggested a creative First Dance instead of the usual high school prom sway. My husband and I wanted to demonstrate our unity and teamwork and passion for each other by dazzling everyone with our First Dance. We feel the First Dance is the most sentimental and indispensible moment of the reception. With a little preparation it can also be the most memorable moment! So we changed into Tango costumes and performed a sultry Argentine Tango routine with a live guitarist and Julio Iglesias sountrack to "A Media Luz" in Spanish. (the lyrics - about a mysterious and sensual mood) were translated on the back page our ceremony program). The Argentine Tango was my husband's idea and reminiscent of the surprise date he took me on to see amazing Tango show on Broadway in NYC. It made for amazing pictures and really set the tone for the rest of the evening which was "Dancing and Romancing" all night for all of our guests! Looking back, we had lots of other unique touches but THE FIRST DANCE takes the cake!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

National Dance Day in Washington DC!

The National Mall
3:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Join DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Nigel Lythgoe, celebrity judge and producer of "So You Think You Can Dance" TV show. As our nation struggles to combat obesity, we invite you to come celebrate popular forms and to promote physical fitness across the United States

For more info: 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Are Thank You Notes to Vendors Necessary?

I came across this online discussion topic and as an etiquette consultant, wedding vendor and former bride, it peaked my interest. From my perspective, a vendor's fees and gratuities cover costs but word of mouth keeps vendors in business.  Hence, the widespread popularity of social media and review sites like Wedding Wire, Yelp, Project Wedding, etc... That's why referrals and testimonials are the highest compliment. The feedback and endorsement is ultimately more valuable than the one time sale because it represents one's reputation which is priceless. Vendors build up a portfolio and credibility based on a solid history of success and customer service. What's more, most of the vendors that make our weddings magical are small family businesses and they need our support more than ever during the most serious economic downturn since the Great Depression!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Virginia State Ballroom Championships

July 15-18

Virginia State Ballroom Championships

Hyatt Regency - Reston VA Town Center

Organizers - Rosendo Fumero and Ahmed Hussien

Tentative Schedule:

Saturday Evening Gala Features Professional Championships

For spectator tickets & table reservations only, please contact:

OR contact:

Beverly A Donahue, 220 Kentland's Blvd #1, Gaithersburg, MD 20878

(301) 926-9591


Nick Short, Suite 615, 4242 East West Hwy Chevy Chase, MD 20815

(301) 657-9095

Checks payable to: Virginia State Dancesport Championships

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ballroom/Latin Dance Camp in July!

July 3-7. 2010

Independence Day Ball and Ballroom/Latin Dance Camp
The Hilton, Rockville, MD Executive Center 


*     Over 150 Latin and Standard workshops!

*     Dance Instructors are Blackpool, US and World Champions and Finalists (e.g. Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Erin Andrews)

*     Private lessons available with ALL of the instructors

*     Four workshop CHOICES every hour

*     Separate Advanced track for Open and Professional level dancers

*     Over 10,000 sq ft of dance floor

*     Independence Day Ball social dance party

*     Performance class taught by Danny Quilliam with special show

*     Practice space open all night long

*     Immersion program in Argentine Tango

*     ISTD Standard Symposium

 Visit  for more information.

The Wedding Dance Specialists teaches all the styles of dance and can prepare you for any occasion so contact us!


International Salsa Congress in DC this weekend!

June 18-21, 2010
6th Annual International Salsa Congress in DC!
Crystal City Hilton
Arlington, VA.

Brings some of the worlds finest Salsa dancers, performers, and instructors into the DC area!
Salsa workshop classes
Salsa Performances!
Salsa Vendors (shows, attire, music)
Salsa parties 11pm to 3AM every night!

42 Workshops + 10 hours of bootcamps + daytime social dancing+ party till 3am+afterparty

Contact us to learn how to thrive or just survive on the dance floor!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Award Winning Engaging Affairs Event Planning Endorses TWDS!

Award Winning Event Planners at Engaging Affairs surprised us with this lovely review on their blog. We are so flattered that one of their consultant Sara chose TWDS to prepare her and her husband for the most sacred dance of their lives! Here is their blog review:

There is a lot of debate among my couples about whether or not to take dance lessons for their wedding. I'd say most intend to and more than half actually do it. I think dance lessons are a great idea and can be a fun prewedding activity. That being said, if one person is dead-set against it, then dragging them through the lessons will not be fun. Better to stand and sway than to have one person gritting their teeth through the dance.

But if you are both willing to try, then go for it! Guests love when couples have a fun first dance complete with spins and dips. And I love seeing the excitement on couples' faces when they finish their dance and get wild applause.

We love the folks at The Wedding Dance Specialists because, well, they specialize in teaching couples to do a first dance. Even in one lesson, they will have you dancing more smoothly! Our own Sara and her now husband took lessons through The Wedding Dance Specialists and danced like pros. Sara says that they are living proof that anyone can be taught!

I also love that The Wedding Dance Specialists work with you on selecting a first dance song and have a list of appropriate songs on their website with clips so you can listen to a bit of the song. As the folks on American Idol will tell you, song selection is important. There is nothing more awkward than realizing halfway through a first dance that the lyrics are totally inappropriate.

So check out The Wedding Dance Specialists and get dancing!

Here is a link to the Engaging Affairs Bridal Bubbly Blog which is full of creative ideas and great advice on event planning!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Independence Day Ball Dance Camp

July 3-7, 2010
Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Executive Meeting Center
1750 Rockville Pike,
Rockville, MD

Learn from Blackpool, UK, US and World Champions and Finalists.
Evening fun social activities including 4th of July Fireworks near the White House!
Already confirmed instructors include:
. Maksim Chmerkovskiy
. Glenn Weiss
. Victor Fung & Anastasia Muravyeva
. Rufus Dustin
. Bill Sparks
. Danny Quilliam & Ieva Pauksena

Independence Day Ball dance camp will feature over 150 workshops from World-Class instructors.
Four concurrent workshops will be taught every hour - 2 Latin (Cha-Cha, Rumba, Samba, Jive, Paso Doble) and 2 Standard (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quickstep and Viennese Waltz).
These workshops will focus mainly on technique.
There will also be a performance class focusing on figures and presentation.
Will continue to expand separate Advanced track for Open and Professional level dancers.

Nightly social events: trip to downtown Washington to see Fireworks on the National Mall near the White House, Capitol and Washington Monument.
Friday Night Social Dance.
"Pizza with the Pros" - a Q&A session with our panel of instructors that always ends in laughter and one-of-a-kind demonstrations.

Testimonial: Where else can you have so many group lessons from instructors who are World Champions? In every room, there's a different world champion teaching something. That's pretty exciting. 
- Daniel (West Lafayette, Indiana)

Visit for information.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Feedback from our students Julie and Jason!

Julie and Jason are a lovely couple and so easy to work with! Julie was so supportive and encouraging of Jason and Jason had such a mellow and sunny disposition. Both had the perfect attitude going into the challenge of learning something new under time pressure constraints. I guess Jason is not flustered by pressure easily as he risks his life on a daily basis as a police officer! Thank you for choosing our services!