In the previous page
– shopping for Wifey’s gown for our first dance
– tailoring my dance tailcoat
Planning the details is a concurrent activity between the venue, ballroom layout, dance floor, gowns, tailcoat, as well as the choreography and practise sessions.
Without hesitation, we turned to private lessons with Dance Dynamix to have our first dance routine choreographed and subsequently honed.
Wifey and I have followed Dance Dynamix since graduating from NUS and have always turned to them whenever we could gather the time to organise semi private dance courses.
Practise more, fewer lessons
Sam choreographed our entire routine on the first lesson itself and it couldn’t have suited Wifey and I better!
We cannot be further from the truth if we believe that we would improve by leaps and bounds by practising our routine only on lesson day itself, and in the presence of our instructor.
Therefore, our mantra is practise, practise and more practise. For practical reasons, the fewer lessons we take, the cheaper it will be too.
In the end, we booked only a total of two private lessons to pull off our wedding dance. However, we clocked more than 50 hours in practise sessions.
Key information our instructor needed
There are a few information required of us before our instructor can tailor our choreography to our requirements properly.
At the simplest level, we needed to know how many panels of dance floor we have. Standard Tango ballroom dance requires us to scale across huge areas hence Tango would not have worked if we could only secure a few of the dance flooring panels.
At the next level is the look we seek to achieve. It may be difficult for non-dancers to visualise themselves dancing, let alone imagine the figures to have in their routines. A few never-fail moves include:
– kiss finales
Wifey and I were extremely clear in the vibe we wanted to present.
Waltz is an easy choice and we avoided it. Tango had all the right vibes: fun, flair, flirt and funny. The four F’s is a coincidence but I sidetracked.
To clarify, we refer to the Standard Ballroom dance Tango and not the Argentine Tango.
We wanted it to be standard tango for what it really is, i.e. at no point in the choreography would we transition into open hold. Wifey and I would have both our arms as well as our hips in contact at all times.
The final information required would be the chosen music.
I wouldn’t presume any private wedding dance lessons to be void of fun but the kind of humour Wifey and I share with Sam is the same. It can be damn cock wan. And that makes it fun.
Contrast this with the overly polite and hence awkward atmosphere with a prim and proper instructor.
This was why I stated in the first page of documenting our wedding first dance journey that my wedding dance was a long time in the making.
It is a journey with everyone involved as much as it is about the dance with Wifey on our big day.
What cca should one join in University
It’s not just mutual respect but the rapport.
While Sam choreography our routine, he is able to assume the role of both the male and female.
Here’s where Sam’s technical expertise manifests itself. I have danced with few instructors and most of them go limp and the pressure is lost.
Imagine yourself to be standing equally on both foot with both your arms stretched out to the side. Now rotate your torso from left to right while keeping your legs and hips still.
Now imagine the same but with your partner in front of your with both arms outstretched but in connection with yours. Now the gentleman rotate the upper torso and both the lady and gentleman can feel the pressure in both palms.
This is an oversimplification of the dance at hand as the human body moves along multiple axes and the energy is derived from these relative movements.
And Sam does it just fine while assuming the female role with me. He teaches me how to lead while leading me.
We practised thrice weekly, with two of the practise sessions on weekday nights and the third on Sundays. At this frequency, it was a chore and many a time, we had to focus on the end goal and dragged ourselves to our respective practice venues.
It wasn’t easy getting venues all the time either. When Wifey couldn’t book the dance studios at her workplace, we had to go wild, i.e. practise at public open spaces in universities just like I used to dance with my NUS Social and Ballroom dance club pals 10 years ago.
Wifey and I had gotten acquainted with a couple at a slow Waltz class organised by Our First Dance a year and a half after our wedding day. They shared with us that they had practised their wedding dance routine at the gym!
Such is the determination required. It isn’t, as mentioned above, merely about practising only during the private lessons with one’s tutor. Dancing a first dance beautifully requires continuous effort over months.
Total private lessons taken
I did mention above the number of private lessons Wifey and I took. In case it was glossed over, we took a grand total of two private lessons only. The rest was practise and more practise.
The videos are in chronological order and we can see our improvements over time. It was tough but worth it.