Back in page 1:
Choosing the wedding venue for our first dance
Choosing standard ballroom dance Tango
The perfect gown for wedding first dance
Wifey was going to have two gowns and we had to pay particular attention to the one that is to be used for our dance.
These were our main considerations:
– it had to be appropriate for walking down the aisle as a proper wedding gown itself
– it cannot hinder the execution of our Tango figures
– it has to be kept within budget
Appropriateness as a wedding gown
As discussed in Pt. 1 in the previous page, we chose the Standard Tango for our first dance because the tailcoat and ballroom gown is instinctively the appropriate dress for our big day.
If we could compare this:
By the way, my Latin ballroom partner and I had won gold at this competition. It was one of the best moments of my life in NUS.
Ordered from the big C online, Wifey and I couldn’t be happier when the gown arrived at our door. The following photos speak a thousand words.
Gown shopping adventure
It wasn’t easy shopping for Wifey’s dance gown and we treasure hunted a fair bit:
- We visited a studio selling ballroom gowns in Bangkok. The owner was excited about us visiting the studio from Singapore as he had ever competed in Singapore.
- We also visited a new building in Bangkok that is apparently trying to market itself as a one stop mall for wedding gown boutiques, tailors and theater costume providers.
- We returned to boutiques, studios and shopping malls in Singapore when our search in Bangkok turned up futile.
- Last, we turned to the big C online.
The following are the best gowns that we were fortunate to have tried and we count our lucky stars.
This photo was sent to us by a ballroom dancer looking to sell her gown. However, the gown didn’t fit when we met her to try it on:
We tried this dress in a shopping mall. It was extremely beautiful and fitting. However, the hem is too tight and does not allow big strides.
This gown looks a tad bit like a costume:
We loved the next dress the best. The details suggest that it is the owner’s prized and expensive ballroom dance gown. One can feel its weight and imagine the twisty from the photo alone. The length was also just correct because it was made to be danced in with rise and falls.
However, we had to rent it on a daily basis and it would run costs up if we wanted to practise more with it. Furthermore, the intricate details on the gown meant that we had to compensate for any damage to it.
Absolutely out of leads, we finally turned to the big C online for our gown purchase.
Altering Wifey’s gown
Long awaited! We are relieved that the measurements we sent worked well with the tailor’s interpretation of our measurements!
However, it wasn’t quite perfect for dance as the hemline is already touching the floor, with heels on.
The standard dances involve rises and falls and if the gown is too long, my wife will step on it when she lowers in preparation for the next rise. You can see wifey’s altered gown brushing the floor in this figure:
Hence, Mr. Seamster me had to shorten it. Quite some effort there. Not so straightforward after all. This is the first and innermost layer out of seven layers:
All seven layers adjusted revealing the sequins on the outermost layer:
We were then ready and excited to test the new hemline! Video of our first practise with the gown:
We were particularly careful because my wife or I could have stepped on her gown, ripping it and tripping. But it was a success! The fold at the hem of every layer unexpectedly added a bob, which mimicked the bob of an authentic standard dance dress!
My next job was to remove the masking tape and semi permanently alter the gown by hand stitching it.
The outermost and the final layer to have the masking tape removed and stitched up.
It took seven backbreaking evenings of work on the bedroom floor.
I have a few suits tailored over 10 years that I can wear for our first march in. However, I needed to tailor a tailcoat specially suited for Standard Ballroom dancing for our dance on the second march in.
There are no obscure considerations that I might miss for tailoring my tailcoat as it is extremely specific.
The Standard Ballroom tailcoat is tailored differently from a usual black or white event tailcoat. The shoulder pads do not rise when my elbows are raised. Note from the photo below how my shoulder line is straight, extending from my left elbow to my right. The shoulder pads would have puffed upwards if it was an ordinary jacket, even if the jacket was tailored.
Second, the fabric is four-way stretch to accommodate stretching.
We spent some time searching for a tailor that specialises in dance tailcoats. Searched UK websites and they average SGD1500.00 – SGD3000.00. Obviously not keke.
Professional tailcoats are expensive because its fabric is four-way stretch. It does all sorts of warping and squeezing all around the back and shoulders, all while keeping the front sleek. This is technology. I can’t emphasise it more.
These dance tailcoats are cut towards the purpose of clinging to the gentleman’s body when the arms are at rest be the side, as well as when the elbows are raised. In the same photo above, if one hasn’t noticed it yet, there is a fold on the right back of my tailcoat. In other words, my budget and not-so-professional tailcoat is airy at the lats area to compensate for the straight shoulder line.
If my tailcoat were a professionally tailored one, my back would look much leaner with nicer lines and we can see more of wifey. I am after all merely the frame in the dance. See so much of me for what? Keke.
However, one would not have noticed if I had not pointed it out, so it’s fine!
We couldn’t find one in Bangkok, which really surprised me. I really thought there is an influential standard dancesport scene. With no further leads, we went to regular tailors in which are aplenty in Bangkok.
Armed with the steps choreographed by our instructor, we referred to online tutorial videos and broke the routine down into recognizable figures such as spin turn, natural turn etc. We then practised those specific figures with our right hips and ribs in contact regardless of the difficulty. Contact and gait. For emphasis: no kidding, move with that body contact while maintaining our gait. Can’t, try again, and again, and again. Understanding of the principles and essences will come simply by clocking enough hours with the contact.