Whether swaying back and forth or performing a well-coordinated waltz, your first dance as husband and wife will be a moment to remember
Ask a bride or groom what makes them nervous when they think about the big day and “lifetime commitment” may not be their first thought.
For some, it’s that moment when everyone’s eyes are on them as they sway back and forth to “their song” during their first dance as a married couple.
Why? Because, it also may be the awkward five minutes when a few hundred people realize the groom has no sense of rhythm and that there’s a reason the bride is wearing steel-toed boots.
When Michelle Laskey and her husband, Richard, were planning their wedding in 2003, Michelle said, she thought about raising the issue of taking dance lessons. She even made some phone calls and checked schedules.
But in the end she thought, “Oh, he will never go for it.”
Much to her surprise, it was Richard who brought it up over dinner one night.
“He wanted to do something different for our reception. He said, ‘Maybe we should take lessons,’ ” remembers Michelle. “I said, ‘I’m on it!’”
So six months before the “I dos,” the Perry Township couple started lessons with Jerry Satava, owner of the North Canton Ballroom, a Fred Astaire dance studio opened in 1947.
Michelle took dance lessons as a child and Richard had some marching experience from band in high school. They soon found they danced well together.
“I had to learn to give up a little control,” said Michelle with a laugh. “The man has the control on the dance floor. I had to concentrate on going backwards.”
In the end, the couple chose to dance a rumba to the song “Let’s Stay Together,” by Al Green, and seven years later their guests are still talking, Michelle said.
“They all thought it was the coolest thing. We heard a lot of oohs and ahhs,” she said. “It was very basic, but a little flashy.”
The Laskeys had so much fun preparing for their wedding dance that they still are taking lessons today. The new mom and dad have even won three amateur competitions.
Give it time
Satava says the Laskeys did everything right in that they came to him early. Dancing a structured dance with someone directly in front of you may look easy when you are watching “Dancing With the Stars,” but it is really a difficult skill to learn, Satava said.
“Some couples will come in a week before or a month before their wedding,” he said.
He said he will teach them, but that it is not the ideal situation. The most common dances he teaches for bridal dances are the fox trot, rumba and waltz. Those dances, generally, can be performed to the popular songs picked by modern couples. Those dances also are popular for father-daughter and mother-son dances.
“We can do anything traditional, modern, or choreographed, but the more in depth, the more time you need to be comfortable with it,” Satava said.
For Ken Joseph and Colleen Anderson, the plan was to wow their guests. Joseph also wanted to surprise his bride.
The couple, together 11 years, were married Nov. 11, 2011, and as a fun bonus to the already unique day, they choreographed the processional down the aisle to Chris Brown’s popular “Forever.”
The concept was first seen on YouTube a few years ago and the video went viral. Joseph said the idea was to just be entertaining.
“We’ve both been married before,” said Joseph. “This is the second wedding and a lot of these people saw you get married the first time.”
His surprise for the bride was another choreographed number for the Glenmoor Country Club reception, complete with backup dancers and acrobats.
The Josephs’ numbers were created by Bobby Blaze and Mary Vaccani at A Time to Dance in North Canton. Blaze said they have created everything from traditional numbers done to classic love songs to racy routines involving the entire bridal party.
Ken Joseph’s “gift” to his bride was a little hip-hop number to “Party Rock Anthem.”
The toughest part about it, said Vaccani, was scheduling rehearsals.
“It’s easy to choreograph and it’s easy to teach,” said the dancer, who hopes the concept catches on in Stark County and more couples come to her for dancers from her list of performers.
Blaze said the studio choreographs about two weddings per month and it charges $25 per hour.