First first dance dance lesson

Dan and I just came back from our first "first dance" lesson! One of my aunts is a ballroom dancing instructor and my mom's been taking lessons with her for awhile, so we went over to my aunt's place tonight with my mom for our first hour-long lesson. We're practicing to the acoustic version of "Ever the Same" and learning a series of foxtrot steps (slow, slow, quick quick):
  1. Two basic steps
  2. One quarter turn
  3. One promenade
  4. One spin
  5. One diagonal weight shift thing
  6. Two quarter turns
  7. Two karaoke step things
  8. One arm swaying thing across two sets of four beats
  9. One quarter turn
  10. Repeat from beginning.
It was really fun! I've always liked taking dance lessons and had Chinese folk dance as my cultural class in Chinese school for years and years, with a few years of ballet when I was very little. Dan is not as much into the dancing but wants to learn to do this for the wedding and is trying really hard. Sometimes (in life) he'll get frustrated enough to lose his temper (rare) when he's not learning something quickly enough for his own standards, but we kept it light enough tonight to laugh about our various mistakes.

We'll have to practice a bit, but since it's not a particularly long or complicated sequence, it shouldn't take too long to make it smooth. I also like that it doesn't look too fancy, but still pretty and graceful. My aunt says that since we want to learn this for just one dance, it'll probably end up being around five lessons altogether.

My overall plan is to go with what Miss Manners said about the first dance more being about the couple opening the dancing, with the couple breaking off about halfway through to start collecting more people onto the dance floor. Look, it's even in the Wikipedia article on the first dance: "The 'first dance' of a bride and groom is a popular element at many post-wedding celebrations in modern European and American traditions. Exactly like an old-fashioned ball, the idea is that the bride and groom, as the guests of honor at a dance, open the dancing, not that they perform a choreographed duet for spectators."

I figure this helps us avoid the wedding-as-a-stage syndrome, gives us less to have to learn in order to fill up the time, and will also allow us to dance for a bit with our respective sets of parents without needing to do separate things like a father-daughter dance. And, this'll be one clear way to get people to start dancing. Some more ideas from 2000 Dollar Wedding on how to get people to dance:
  • pick a very high energy first song and ask everyone in the wedding party to dance their hearts out to get the party started. Bridesmaid Cara has already volunteered her efforts for something along these lines (thank you).
  • also ask a few trusted friends and family members to commit to dancing right away too (Emily N, Caitlin...I'm looking at you)
  • start telling people way ahead of time to "make sure to bring their dancing shoes" and continually emphasize that you want the reception to be about the dancing so that when it comes to it, everyone already knows that's what was important to the couple and will hopefully partake
  • if you want people to dance at your wedding, you should be out there dancing yourself
  • get the kids involved: "About 20% of our crowd was kids, and I tried to dance with all of them. Kids usually love to dance, especially at a big party, and they really loosen up a crowd!"
In other bits of wedding planning news, I put up a big old countdown gadget on the right sidebar of the blog. Less than 100 days. Um, eek.

So I did cut out the muslin that weekend and even thread-traced the seam lines, but haven't yet sewn it up and fitted it (trip to visit college roommates in Boston, then recovering from that, then APW book club #2, then many social events this past week, blah blah excuses). That'll be my goal for this upcoming week. I should also really narrow down my ideas for the invitation designs and flowers and set up a few test runs.

We started pre-marital counseling last week, from a therapist I found through work. One of our benefits is to have five counseling sessions of any kind, for free, and evidently pre-martial counseling qualifies as falling under relationship counseling. It was a little awkward at first, but I thought the therapist was very good about just asking us questions to direct the conversation. We started with very general things, like why we want to get married, and then started moving into heavier topics like our ideas about what might make married life difficult. Nothing particularly new was unearthed for us, but it seemed useful enough to keep trying, at any rate. We have another session this week.

One thing I'm really looking forward to and crossing my fingers that it works out is a girls' weekend being planned jointly by Emily N and Abby. This is to be sort of like a bachelorette party, but minus any craziness and plus a lot more sitting around in our pajamas, watching sci-fi, crafting, and cooking. I read The Conscious Bride a couple months ago and while some of it was a little too New Age-y for me, the author did go on for some time about the importance of finding time to connect with the important women in your life before making the transition into married status.

I actually don't understand right now why getting married should change my relationships with my girlfriends in any way, but I don't want to miss out on time with them beforehand should I be wrong about things staying mostly the same. However, lots of these girls are grad students of one kind or another and would have to travel to get to the NYC area, so we'll see. I don't want to put pressure on people to have to fit in two trips to this area into their budgets and busy schedules, so if it doesn't work out for whatever reason, so it goes, but it would be a lot of fun to basically recreate the way I spent most Friday nights in college :)


Ms. Bunny said...

I would love to take dance lessons with the Beagle, but he's definitely not into learning proper dancing. He's content with swaying in front of our guests. So I'm a bit jealous of your fox trot lessons.

Good work on the dress. Keep it up!

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