BDC Student Spotlight: Gwen & Mikey - Getting Closer Through Dance

“Moving together and expressing ourselves physically through dancing provides a unique thrill, and every time we learn a new step or perfect an old one, we experience a new part of that thrill.”

Mikey and Gwen came to the studio with a plan: learn to dance for the wedding and be efficient about it. With busy schedules as a budding actuary and an ambitious attorney (and second full-time jobs as wedding planners), no one could blame them. But within a few moments of dancing together, numbers, laws, cases, cakes, guests counts and venues disappeared; dancing together gave them a break from the daily grind. Even now, after their wedding, they’ve continued to take lessons and attend our studio’s monthly dance parties. What we love most about working with Mikey and Gwen is their hunger to learn, which is fully supported by their quick wits and physical finesse.

How did you meet? We met in college, where we lived in the same 300-person dorm. Neither of us specifically remembers meeting the other, but it likely happened in the dining hall as our friendship circles started to overlap.  We began dating much, much later, after we knew each other quite well.

What do you enjoy doing together on your day off? We both have big, loving families and love spending time with them. Additionally, we love going to museums, bumming around bookstores, and tasting cuisines we’ve never tried before. We recently purchased a home, so organizing and furnishing it has taken much of our time, as well.

What are some of your favorite moments at your wedding? Gwen: Walking down the aisle; hearing Mikey’s vows to me for the first time; breathing a sigh of relief after our first dance was over; looking around to try to take in the whole room during the ceremony and during dinner; dancing, dancing, and dancing!
Mikey: Handing Gwen my handkerchief to wipe her eyes multiple times during the ceremony, hearing our readers’ interpretations of the readings we chose, seeing people from all different places and times in our lives assembled together, dancing the night away until we were exhausted with joy.

What was your first dance lesson like? Was it different from what you expected? Mikey:  It was great! Matthew taught us some basic steps, but emphasized that more than anything else we would be learning partnership skills so that our choreographed dance came naturally. We were excited to learn more.
Gwen:  I went in feeling a bit stressed and time-crunched about completing all the wedding plans and still keeping up with my demanding job.  I remember asking Matthew what he thought would be the smallest number of lessons in which he could teach us a first-dance routine.  By the time we left, I understood the philosophy of the studio and the importance and joy of learning lead/follow skills and actual dance steps, not just a routine.  We were hooked, and now, more than two years after our wedding, we still look forward to our private lessons with Matthew.

What styles of dance have you been learning? What is your favorite? Primarily rumba, because that was what our first dance was. We have also dabbled in swing and foxtrot, and have discovered that we really enjoy waltzing together.

What was the best thing about learning to dance together? Moving together and expressing ourselves physically through dancing provides a unique thrill, and every time we learn a new step or perfect an old one, we experience a new part of that thrill. There is nothing like it, and it has definitely brought us even closer together.

What was your first song? “In My Life” by the Beatles

How did your first dance go? Our – otherwise amazing – band played our song in a different key and played the bridge and closing bars differently from the Beatles’ recording, despite assurances that their version would be identical. Thankfully, Matthew didn’t just teach us a choreographed set of steps (though he did teach us that) but the ability to dance together, so we were able to improvise through the discrepancies. Our families were actually very surprised to hear that we’d had to improvise anything at all because we handled it so naturally.

What advice would you give other couples who are learning to dance together? Practice what you’ve learned: it’s the best way to make progress from lesson to lesson. Most importantly: Enjoy yourselves. Dancing is fun!