Help! My Partner Dreads Dancing! [Part 1]

A sad thing happened. It has only happened once before in my 23 year career as a wedding dance instructor. 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 men. But his self doubt overpowered his trust in me as a professional. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. 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 $2000 worth of videography. Cutting the “bear hug sway” down to 90 seconds isn’t fooling anyone. It just says that you are all dressed up with no place to go. Torturing your guests with the “zombie sway” means you’ve become another dance floor casualty. Since the Groom is the leader on the dance floor doing nothing demonstrates that you have put no thought or effort into the Bride’s “Cinderella” moment in the spotlight.

I have surveyed thousands of couples and I have found that the majority of the time the bride is burdened with projects and shoulders the majority of the stress of wedding planning. The First  Dance is  the Groom’s project. It’s his job to show her off, make her feel treasured and special and keep her safe. That requires preparation. Just remember one thing when your nerves get the best of you – You are supposed to suck when you first start something new. You do not have to have faith in your own natural talent. Dancing is a learned skill like everything else, the skills are not acquired by just rolling out of bed. So just have faith in the talent and expertise of your teacher and when you are ready they will let you know. After all, they have a reputation to keep up to and have an incentive to make you look good. There are countless reasons a person can conjure up to talk him/herself out of dance lessons but for every reason not to there is another good 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 debut as Man and Wife which is expressed through The First Dance. And it is our honor to be trusted with the awesome responsibility of someone’s public debut especially because the First Dance is the most sacred ritual of the wedding reception. After all, actions speak louder than words. 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. It is also the most magical and exquisitely romantic moment of the whole reception. It breaks my heart when people surrender to their fear.

For many cultures dancing is the most primal collective expression of joy and I certainly love sharing my passion for dance with couples! At least half of my grooms are very excited about learning and view the wedding as the perfect excuse and opportunity to finally be rico suave on the dance floor! However, many grooms in our culture are not enthusiastic about dancing. Some are bitter. Some are terrified and feel like a lamb being taken to the slaughter. Some just do it to make the bride happy. Men in American culture are not generally raised with dancing so when they are confronted with it on their wedding day it is uncomfortable because they are afraid of looking silly in front of others. That is the whole purpose of lessons. To get comfortable behind closed doors before being in the spotlight. Often brides are nervous too but if anyone is dreading the experience it is generally the groom. I had one man introduce himself to me  as, “Terrified” instead of his name when shaking my hand. I had another groom refuse to look me in the eye, talk or smile for 5 hours and yet another groom was actually extorted into taking the lessons by his Father in law. But in my 15 years of experience working with nervous grooms all of them felt empowered and more confident after the experience and most of them had a new perspective about dancing in general. By the way, both grooms I mentioned earlier did a spectacular job during their First Dance and had terrific video and photos to capture the moment.

Would you like to learn some new dance steps for your wedding?  The Wedding Dance Specialists can help you learn the most popular ballroom dance styles. We offer wedding dance lessons that are fast-paced and a lot of fun.

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