Meet The First-Dance Guru
When you take to the dance floor for your first dance as newlyweds, it should be the best dance of your life. In your head, you are Johnny and Baby, wowing the crowd with your effortless moves… but in reality you are more likely to produce an awkward shuffle and trip over your train!
If your first dance debut is giving you nightmares – fear not! We catch up with the region’s most experienced first-dance guru Kristina Jones from Wedding Dance Chester to find out how to turn your less than perfect sway into a magical dance to remember…
So Kristina, what is your background – what got you into dance?
“I started Irish dancing when I was 7 but after seeing my mum in a reunion dance show I was hooked on the idea of dancing on the stage. Trying everything from musical theatre, ballet, street, dance, tango to contemporary…my feet haven’t stopped! I danced my way through school, GCSE and A-Levels and then finally went on to study dance at University.
“However, I’ve always loved the teaching side of dance. Sharing the knowledge and seeing students improve is a real privilege.”
Why Wedding Dance? What is your main motivation for helping couples?
“I was approached to help a friend of a friend prepare for their big-day. After I had taught my first couple I was hooked. Sharing such simple movements made such a big impact. It’s like watching magic happen! Seeing a couple’s confidence grow and helping them enjoy their moment in the spotlight is such an honour – I just love it!”
How does the service work? What do you do with couples and what does a typical wedding dance look like?
“We really appreciate that most of our couples have busy lives, so we try and plan lessons around their schedules and can travel to suitable locations for them. We also teach week days and weekends so can be super-flexible.
“In the first session we teach some basic footwork all of which can work with most styles of wedding dresses (otherwise what’s the point!”
“Once they get over their initial nerves we then go on to teach a variety of turns, leans and if they are brave enough even a lift or two!
“Future lessons are all about finessing the routine and building confidence. There is no set number of hours or lessons. Some couples just want some simple moves and a bit of direction which could be done in one session, whereas other couples want a full-blown routine with killer moves which may take a few more lessons.
“There is no ‘typical’ wedding dance – they are as individual as the couples we teach!
“We have done everything from romantic waltz inspired routines to a full blown 7 minute+ 90’s dance mashup!”
What types of couples do you work with? Are they all super-confident?
“Absolutely not! Most couples are totally petrified, but we make it our top priority to put them at ease. Embarrassment is a big factor too, especially if one half of the couple is quite shy – but we literally blow that out of the water in the first ten minutes!
“It’s important to say that there is a big generational gap in terms of couples dancing together. Old fashioned dances and balls are a thing of the past and many couples have never really danced together – unless you count a bit of bump and grind in a nightclub!
“I think dancing is a life skill that we should all have. The confidence to be able to get onto the dance floor and do something that resembles a real dance. Confidence is everything.
“Obviously, some couples love the dance floor and they are probably the ones who request more intricate or crazy routines, but at the end of the day it’s your wedding, your dance and your moment so it needs to show a bit of you and your personality!”
What are your 3 top tips to give your dance floor the wow factor?
“Own the dance floor – staying in the centre on one spot will just make it more nerve racking, so if you’re going for a spin, make it a spin that takes up some space. Simple moves can often be the most effective, so don’t overthink it too much.
“If you aren’t sure what song to pick, go with something guests will know as there is nothing worse than a couple awkwardly swaying to a song nobody knows!
“Absolutely do not wave at guests to join you – it puts them on the spot and makes it look like you both feel awkward. If you know that you don’t want to stay on your own, get the DJ to ask guests to join you or utilise the bridesmaids and groomsmen and give them a cue to join you.”
What did you dance to at your wedding?
“I’m embarrassed to say our first dance was less than spectacular!
“Like so many couples I speak to at fairs – we didn’t have a clue what song to pick, didn’t want a “routine” but also didn’t want to just sway. I tried to teach my hubby some moves and he spun me (quite quick) and then let go of my hands – so I face-planted the wall! Safe to say we “winged it” and I got him to spin me a few more times and friends joined half way. The song we chose (2 days before on the way to drop things at the venue!) was Mcfly ‘Love Is Easy’ (got to love a bit of cheesy pop!!)