9 Choreo Tips for a Killer First Dance

May 24, 2017

First dances can be tricky, because much as you might enjoy holding your beau, you also have to be aware of your watching audience. Having the perfect song isn’t enough: If you don’t want to put them to sleep, you need to grab their attention.

Of course, you still have to work within your wedding deadlines. You can save a lot of time however, by being aware of and implementing the tips below as you go along, rather than adding them later. Good luck!

Tip #1: Choreograph conservatively.

As much as you might want to re-enact the scene from Dirty Dancing, seriously consider sticking to moves that are within your ability or only challenge you slightly. Your audience can tell if you’re not comfortable with your moves, and you can always upgrade if you have time left over.

Tip #2: Have a timeline.

It’s a lot easier to avoid that last-minute ‘choreo-crunch’, if you have milestones for your progress planned out. When should you have a quarter,half, or all of the choreography finished? If you know, you’ll see if you’re falling behind and make adjustments earlier.

Tip #3: Include the audience in the dance.

Your family came to celebrate with you, so share your dance with them! (not literally) Figure out where your audience will be, and favour moves that allow at least one of you to face them - and the photographers. This draws the audience in, so they can share in the love you feel for each other.

Tip #4: Explore the space.

If you have a dance floor, why would you only use a quarter of it? Try to move around, using dramatic patterns that take your towards, then away from your audience. So much more memorable than the shuffle-in-place.

Tip #5: Match the music.

If you picked a song that changes in energy like I suggested previously, try to match that energy with the dance steps you pick. Save your biggest, most beautiful moves for the chorus - and dance your heart out when you get there.

Tip #6: Tell a story.

Warning: Not recommended for beginner dancers. It’s a nice touch to weave a boy-meets-girl story with your dancing. Maybe you’re playing hard to get while your leader tries to seduce you, or maybe you’re both ‘shy dancers’ who gradually get overcome by the happiness of finding each other. You can read more about how to tell a story here.

Tip #7: Keep a 2-minute limit.

No matter how amazing your dance routine is, remember that even pro dance performances rarely exceed the two-minute mark. Like dancing patterns you know you can do well, it’s better to set some limits on your choreography so you have more time to make it look the way you want it to.

Tip #8: Remember your entrances/exits.

An often overlooked truth is that your performance begins the moment you step on the dance floor, and doesn’t end until you step off of it. Taking the time to make a polished entrance and exit is an easy way to stand out from a typical wedding dance.

Tip #9: Smile!

Finally, it’s easy to get so focused on getting everything perfect that you forget to let your face show the joy you feel. Smile! Even if it feels a bit forced at first, make it a part of your practice. Your audience - and your partner - will love you all the more for it.

Missed the previous articles in this series? Here’s links to them below:
Nine Reasons to Have a Wedding Dance
Types of Wedding Dances
5 Rules for Choosing Your Wedding Song


About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.



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