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First Dance, First Thought?
by Jillian
Forbath, Our Wedding Dance

Wedding couple dance instruction is a hot topic these days for brides and grooms-to-be alike.  Not only have the movies been eager to portray their stunning stars doing tricky tango walks, racy rumba rubbings, and sweet swaying waltzes but in real life the stars are hiring professional dance instructors to put that finishing touch on the long-neglected first dance for their own mega weddings.

The first dance is not often the “first thought” of the very busy bride with the very long to-do list!  The bride has got so much to keep track of that the first dance duties these days are actually being taken over by the groom.  After all it is the groom that leads the dance so it is not surprising that he should want to lead something special and elegant to show off his lovely new bride! 

What follows is a brief interview between Orange County professional ballroom dance instructor, Jillian Forbath of Our Wedding Dance, who specializes in wedding couple instruction -- and bride and groom-to-be Michael and Gloria.


Jillian:  Welcome, I’m so glad to meet you both and I’m happy you could come today to watch one of my lessons.  What did you think?

Gloria:  I think it looks like fun.  I’ve always wanted to dance and this seems like a good excuse to learn!  Maybe we can even learn some salsa or swing!!

Jillian:  Your first dance is a good opportunity to learn the life-long skill of couple’s dancing.  This is something the two of you can do together all your married life – on your honeymoon, on a cruise, for that corporate Christmas party, or just for fun on a Friday or Saturday night at your local night club.  Yes, I’ve had a lot of wedding couples learn the basics of salsa, swing, or cha-cha in their wedding package instruction for a special wow! at their receptions.

Michael:  I don’t really dance – at least, not like this, will I be able to do it?

Jillian:  I tell all my grooms-to-be that this is going to be very liberating for them!  By that I mean that the man leads the steps and choreographs to the music what he would like to do.  Often the men turn out to enjoy the lessons even more than their eager ladies since they are in control!  And of course you can rest assured that there is practically nothing we ladies like to do more than dance: you’re going to be gaining lots of brownie points!

Gloria:  We’ve watched your couple tonight and they seem so good already; I think over the phone, you said they were on their third lesson?  Michael and I would like to know how you start teaching us our first dance and can we look that good in just a few lessons?

Jillian:  Yes, Becky and Darryl are coming right along and they’re having a great time doing it.  In fact they give each other “high fives” every time they get a step right!! 

To start the process, I work with the man to help him to see that he is in control of the lead and work with the lady to help her to feel comfortable following his lead.  The lady needs to dance on her own and really move out of his way so that the man may dance on his own as well.

We get out on the floor right away and start learning the basic elements of dance; walking steps.  Next I work on the dance frame because it is very important that the dancing couple learn to keep their posture and work together in their frame.  Then we learn tips and tricks so the couple can successfully keep from stepping on each other’s toes.  If you are willing to put in some time practicing the steps I give you, you will experience wonderful results in a relatively short amount of time.

Michael:  Wow, this sounds great – she does everything I tell her to?

Gloria:  Michael!! 

Jillian:  Well…  I’m talking about on the dance floor. (wink)

Michael:  Darn!  What if we don’t have a lot of time – our wedding is just three weeks away.

Jillian:  How much time you put into your lessons determines your comfort level on the dance floor the day of your wedding reception.  If you have three weeks we’ll use three weeks, if you have three months; even better, we’ll use three months.  Feeling confident and capable on the dance floor can come about fairly quickly with some simple steps and practice.  Of course becoming absolutely proficient is a wonderful long term goal as well as a fun and healthful one!

Gloria and Michael:  Ok, we’re ready, when do we start?

Jillian:  Let me look at my book and schedule you a convenient time to accommodate your very busy pre-wedding and work schedules.  I’m available evenings and weekends as well as during the day and work out of this lovely art deco ballroom in Newport Beach.  How about tomorrow night at 7pm?

Michael:  Great!  What do we bring?

Jillian:  Please wear shoes similar to the ones you’ll be wearing for your first dance and bring your first dance music on cd.  If you don’t have a song we’ll toss around some titles and listen to some of my music, but I’d prefer you to choose your song since then it will have special meaning to you both.  After all, your first dance is your very own expression of your love for each other as husband and wife!!


Jillian can be contacted at (949) 400-7347.  Her website is http://www.ourweddingdance.comand her email address is  Our Wedding Dance has first dance packages to fit every budget that range from 3 - 10 hours of instruction to several months as well as a 30 minute instructional video tape for purchase over the internet. 


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