How Does the First Dance Learning Process Work?

Learning a first dance for the Chicago wedding

Everyone can learn to dance for their wedding. That goes without question. We’re all born to move, learn and explore and learning your first dance is just an extension of this natural impulse to move and connect.

Every couple who comes to Ballroom Dance Chicago for first dance lessons has been successful in learning how to dance with each other (of course to varying degrees of success). It doesn’t matter what your goals are or the amount of energy and time you dedicate to learning to dance, you will walk out of the dance studio having a clearer idea of how to move together.

At Ballroom Dance Chicago, we pride ourselves on our students never looking stiff or sloppy; during the learning process, with every step and concept, we work at your pace to ensure that your dancing looks natural and that you, as a couple, look connected, whether you take five or five hundred lessons.

Here is an ordered list of how the learning process for your first dance usually goes:

1. We get to know each other. That’s right, the first time you come into the dance studio, we sit, have a drink and talk to get to know each other. Our goal is to help you feel comfortable and welcome in the space and excited about learning to dance with your fiancé. We understand that diving into something completely new can be a bit intimidating. That’s why we do everything we can to give you confidence and make dancing approachable from the get-go.

2. We get on the same page. When we meet with a couple for the first time, we want to find out exactly what they hope to accomplish with first dance lessons. Some couples envision a fully choreographed first dance, while some just want to “not fall down” and others want to feel confident dancing in any situation, even beyond the first dance. Because we do not have a strict syllabus that dictates what we teach at Ballroom Dance Chicago, we are able to completely customize every hour we spend with you to ensure that we are moving towards your goals, whatever they may be. We are experts at crafting one-of-a-kind lessons for each of our first dance clients. We’re the best in Chicago at teaching wedding couples for many reason, but, mainly, because we make sure to ask the right questions, listen intently, and gather the information we need to make your vision for your first dance a reality. If you don’t have a vision yet, don’t worry! We help a lot of couples who feel uninspired by music and/or dance to formulate a dance and choose music that represents their personality as a couple.

3. We get started. After we get an idea of who you are and where you’re headed, we get started with some basic leading and following exercises that get you and your fiancé moving as one. We do these exercises for a variety of reasons: 1) to get to know you and your learning style; 2) to find out more about how you work together as a couple; 3) to gain insight into your understanding of moving with a partner, and 4) to make you feel confident and excited about dancing with your fiancé.

4. You start dancing. Once you’re feeling more comfortable moving together and we have an understanding of your goals, we are ready to dive in! Depending on your timeframe and goals, we will help you create a plan for the frequency of lessons leading up the wedding day. We recommend to all of our students that they come in as often as possible and that they practice outside of lessons. Like any new skill, the more you work at it, the better your end result. We also ask that our first dance students join us for complimentary wedding showcases where they get the chance to perform their dance in front of other couples preparing for their weddings. This is a great opportunity to get the performance jitters out before the big day. We offer a supportive environment and there is no shortage of cheers, applause, and excitement for everyone who participates. Plus, it’s BYOB!

5. You perform your first dance at your wedding. When you perform your first dance at your wedding, there are a ton of unknown variables. We do our best to prepare you for those unknowns by offering wedding showcases, complimentary beer/wine at your lessons, practice skirts to mimic your wedding dress, and opportunities to break in your wedding shoes; however, there are always things that are out of our control, like your best friend who can’t stop cheering loudly over the music or your dance floor being smaller than you expected. Regardless of what happens on the big day, our goal is to prepare you as much as possible. Then it’s time to just let it go! You’ve put tons of effort into this very special moment at your wedding, and when you walk out on the dance floor, you simply have to trust yourself and your partner and let the first dance unfold.

The nitty gritty:

Typically, couples start learning their first dance between one year and three months before their wedding and take lessons once or twice a week, while peppering the time between dance lessons with practice sessions at home.

Lessons are one hour long and are scheduled according to the studio’s availability and at the student’s convenience. You can change times, days, frequency and etc. from week-to-week or you can choose ahead-of-time the days/times you want reserve. We just require you to cancel or change the schedule at least 48 hours in advance in order to not be charged for the hour.

Please contact us if you have any questions or to schedule your initial lesson.