Wednesday, April 16, 2014

All Dressed Up And No Place To Go! Oh NO!

by Deborah Joy Block, Premiere National Expert on Wedding Dance

Have you heard of the fable about the Emperor with no clothes? He travels through his kingdom making proclamations but his ommission obscures his message. Unaware of his nakedness and with nobody daring to inform him, his nonverbal communication speaks volumes. Watching the honored couple resort to the prom sway for their First Dance debut is equally awkward. They are royalty for the day and the dance floor spotlight is the most visibly dynamic destination which represents their unity - the reason they got married. In this comparison, both the Emperor and the Couple have missed the opportunity to seal the deal with action. 

Which brings me to a sad story that I wish was just a fable.  It has only happened once before in my 16 year career as a wedding dance instructor working with over 10,000 engaged couples. I had a groom slip through the cracks. He came in for one visit and then his fiance contacted me to say he was too nervous about the idea of dancing to go forward with the lessons. I was proud of him for being open enough to come to the studio because stepping through the door is often the hardest part for people- especially men. 
I asked them what their alternative plan was and the bride tearfully responded "the high school prom sway."  I suggested that before settling on a decision they should videotape themselves and see if they can last 2 minutes (a typical song is 3:45) without feeling bored or awkward then watch the full 2 minutes from their guest's perspective too.

According to proper etiquette, The First Dance is a formal obligation to open up the dance floor for your guests so they feel welcome and comfortable to dance and set the tone for the festivities. It is also the epitome of the Cinderella/Prince Charming moment at their ball. Unfortunately, I don't think he realizes that the awkward high school prom sway for 4 minutes in front of 200 people is not a desirable alternative either especially when this "photo op" is costing $5000 in photography and $1500 worth of videography. Cutting the "bear hug sway" down to 90 seconds isn't fooling anyone either. It just says that you are all dressed up with no place to go. There are countless reasons a person can conjure up to talk him/herself out of dance lessons but for every reason not to there are double the reason to go for it!

The dance lessons are a vulnerable space where couples learn about themselves and their partnership. The couples also feel pressurized because they are often juggling major undertakings such as full time jobs, graduate school, moving house plus wedding planning! They carve out precious time to prepare for their first social debut as Man and Wife which is expressed through The First Dance. Besides a required formality, The First Dance is also the most sacred ritual of the wedding reception. It is the physical manifestation of your ceremony vows of unity and with a little preparation it becomes the highlight for the couple and the guests.  Can you imagine a ceremony with no microphone for all of the guests to hear the vows? Unthinkable. Dance moves give voice to the First Dance as a nonverbal expression of a couple's love. It has the potential to be the most magical, sensual  and exquisitely romantic moment of the whole reception. Royal proclamations and ceremony vows are intended to be backed up with action since actions speak louder than words. That's why it breaks my heart when Prince Charming surrenders to his fear and gives up his throne.

The Wedding Dance Specialists is the premiere national expert of the wedding dance industry. Deborah Joy and Brian Block founded the company in 2000, while engaged and preparing their own "First Dance." Year after year,The Wedding Dance Specialists remain the most recommended wedding dance company according to engaged couples, wedding vendors and the media.  The company has taught over 10,000 engaged couples. Appearing repeatedly on Oprah Winfrey's Oxygen Network, The Wedding Dance Specialists and their students starred on an episode of "Real Weddings by the Knot", the nation's first wedding reality show. In addition to attracting celebrity clientele, The Wedding Dance Specialists were the nations original wedding dance company and have since inspired an entire niche industry that has expanded worldwide!