The Fiance and I started taking dance lessons a few months ago because we didn't want to just sway awkwardly back and forth . . . we wanted to look like we knew what we were doing without looking too stiff. We headed to Arthur Murray in Edina teamed with our song, my wedding shoes, and no knowledge of the fox trot, the box step, or any other technical term. I'll admit, The Fiance was hesitant. We've seen enough couples who have taken dance lessons for their first dance spend the entire time counting and concerned with the next move . . . and thus not look like they are enjoying themselves for their first dance and Mr. and Mrs. We didn't want that. We just wanted to learn some of the basics and not make complete fools of ourselves. We were teamed with an instructor upon our arrival—a female who got our vision right from the get go and—and we started with a basic move that would best match our song: the foxy. Essential it's slow, slow, side, side: two slow steps back for me, forward for him, and then a slow rock from side to side. It looks natural and romantic enough to be a slow dance that we just may have come up with on our own, yet, we're still moving across the floor and not staying put in the middle just swaying.
After we got the basics and our form under control, she started to implement a few turns. The Fiance didn't want choreography, but we wanted a little splash . . . I mean how boring is it to watch a couple (albeit a happily in love couple) dance for two and a half minutes? So we started with turns. After two weeks of lessons, we were able to do the foxy all over the dance floor (with obstacles in our way, so The Fiance could successfully steer me away from anything I may run into . . . walking backwards in four-inch heels is definitely not easy). By week three we had our turns in place and began working on an ending. Like I said, my heels are rather high, and my dress has some body to it, so we couldn't do anything too-over-the-top (and it would go against the whole no choreography component), but we did want something that clearly indicated that it was the end. Our instructor, Nandina, gave us a few easy maneuvers and, of course, a big dip. By week four our dance was essentially complete, but we felt it needed an extra little uumpf to really get the crowd engaged. And that's when Nandina introduced us to "the rag doll." I won't give it away for those of you who will actually see it in action . . . all I can say is that this is my favorite part of the dance that we implement mid-song . . . and I had to practice in my actual dress to make sure that everything stays in place (think something out of Dirty Dancing, but with no lift). We spent the remainder of our time with Nandina perfecting the moves and aiming to look as natural as possible. One little tip I have: if you have a long or full skirt, try to find or borrow a petticoat for a few lessons. Yes, I've looked ridiculous at more than one lesson sporting a petticoat and my heels, but it's helped prevent The Fiance from stepping on my feet. Both The Fiance and I have both had a few lessons with our parents as well, so overall we've perfected the art of dancing and talking and looking like we know what we're doing all while aiming to look natural (it's a lot to think about.) We also got a free dance class with our wedding party, just for fun; I'll let you know how that plays out at the wedding. If you're considering lessons, I'd strongly recommend it. The Fiance and I are both very excited for our first dance, not only because it's the first time we'll dance as man and wife, but we also are really hopeful that our guests actually enjoy our little number. It's not complicated by any means, but hopefully we provide a little more entertainment than just the grade-school sway. Here's hoping he doesn't step on my toes (or my dress)!