2 Songs – 1 Dance!

August 11th, 2016 by admin

Over the years I’ve had a lot of requests for a wedding dance that starts out with one song and ends with another.

Sometimes the first song is faster and more upbeat and the second is slower with romantic undertones. Other times the first song is slow and dreamy and the second song really lets the couple break loose!

But…

How does it work?  Is it too hard?  Will it look ok?

How it works:

I teach simple “doable in the dress” steps for the two dances that utilize common technique points for turns and movement to keep things flowing seamlessly from the first to the second dance.

DJs are great at fading a first song down and bringing up the second or you can always do the tried and true “scratchy record sound” to transition with some acting stuff for laughs.

Difficulty:

Most of my couples have used half of the first song and half of the second song.  There is usually a good place to fade out during an instrumental area or repetitive refrain.  The whole dance should run about three to four minutes.

Three to four dance moves, particular to each type of song, still give each dance their own flavor but don’t feel overwhelming to master.

Transitioning can be fun with a cute move right before the new dance that showcases the lyrics or provides a picture pose.

Most of my couples still want that famous dip for the end – but it can done fast or slowly, depending on which song is first or second.

Looking Good:

If the couple really likes two songs, rather than just one, and wants the flavor of two types of dances seamed together for their first dance, this can be an ideal solution.  Two songs – one dance is a great way to showcase your individualism and do something a bit different.  Ultimately if my couples look happy dancing together –  it’s a win!

One two dance medley I had was super crazy: the bride and groom started out with a traditional foxtrot and then halfway through she grabbed a chair, sat her groom down, someone placed a fez on his head, she donned a cute coin skirt over her wedding dress and it all finished with a rousing belly dance display (pg rated, of course) for her adoring groom and crazy applauding guests!

Soon Fall will be in the air so text or phone me at 949.400.7347 with any questions about songs, dances and lessons.  Right now I have a two lesson Sunday Special available!

Jillian :-)

Put on your dancing shoes

July 14th, 2016 by admin

Over the almost 16 years I’ve been specializing in teaching wedding dances I have seen a lot of different shoes that brides and grooms were going to wear to dance in on their BIG DAY.

The Bride’s Shoes

What’s a given:

1) The bride wants to have her shoes look absolutely fantastic on her most important day.

2) A lot of times if the groom is tall enough the bride wants to wear some sort of high heeled shoe.

3) If the bride is a lot shorter than her groom she probably wants to wear very high heels.

What’s to consider:

1) Dancing in very high heels can be a challenge to move quickly and turn in if you haven’t danced a lot in them before.

2) If your groom is not an experienced dancer he might accidentally throw you off balance with his moves if you’re feeling unstable in your shoes.

How to compensate:

1) You can allow for your “new height” by bending your knees more and keeping your head back on your spine to balance yourself evenly on your high heels and lower your center of gravity.

2) You can have two pair of shoes, one to wow everyone with at the wedding and one for fun and comfort at the reception.

I’ve seen brides dance in everything from super high heels (one of my bride’s had a side business selling 6-10″ heeled shoes and of course wanted to showcase a pair of her acrylic Cinderella verrrry high steppers) to platforms, ballet flats and even bare feet.

Ultimately, it’s all about what you want and what you think you can deal with on your wedding day and if your heart is set on a certain shoe by all means go for it! But if you’re able to change shoes for your first dance to a more modest heel or flat – that could be more comfortable and easier to dance and party in.

Observations:

If you choose a platform be aware that it will probably give you a “rocking action” as you step and could make you feel a little stiff due to the fact it doesn’t give.

If you choose an open backed sandal, you could get a clunking sound as you dance as the shoe separates from your foot momentarily during the step.

Recommendations:

Having seen lots of choices for wedding dance shoes I recommend changing shoes for your reception so you can have the best of all shoe worlds!

About a 2″ heel and one that is a bit larger than the tiny stiletto type heel plus a shoe base that is not too slick (rough them up in the parking lot beforehand!) seems to be the easiest for most brides to dance in.

Flats are good too but your wedding dress might not be bustled to your flats but rather to your first pair of wedding shoes and you would need to allow for some extra material at your feet.

You can also purchase a pair of dance shoes online if you’re sure you won’t be walking outside in dirt or through water.  (They have suede bottoms to help you glide on the dance floor.)

The Groom’s Shoes

What’s a given:

1) The groom wants to please his bride!

2) Most of the time the groom will just default to rental tuxedo shoes or nice dress shoes that he already has or will purchase for the wedding.

3) If the bride wants to wear something unusual like Converse tennis shoes or bare feet he will match his bride.

What to consider:

1) The bride’s wishes!

2) Any special needs that the groom has physically.

How to compensate:

1) Dress shoes can be slick on the dance floor so if the groom owns them he can scuff them up a bit in the parking lot so he has more traction on the floor as he leads the steps.

2) If he’s dancing in tennis shoes for the big day – Converse, Vans etc. – he will need to be aware his shoes may stick to the dance floor and he will need to step carefully.

I’ve seen lots of fun and fancy groom footwear and it’s all good as long as the bride is happy with the choice and the groom can walk and dance in his shoes!

Lots of grooms care about their footwear these days and it’s not unusual for a groom to tell me in intricate detail about his wedding shoes.  I encourage my grooms and my brides to dance around in their living rooms in their wedding shoes before the wedding day.

Observations:

1) Most of my grooms that have opted for their own shoes rather than a rental pair seem to be more comfortable.

2) Grooms and brides wearing matching tennis type shoes usually wear them to dance lessons to get used to dancing together in them.

Recommendations:

I recommend the groom dance in something that is comfortable, the right size for his feet and meets his bride’s expectations.

If he has a particular idea for his shoes it’s probably a good idea to let his bride know right away so she can yay or nay the shoe idea!

Leading the first dance can be challenging so the groom probably doesn’t want to be thinking too much about his shoes. 😉

Just like the bride, the groom can also purchase a pair of dance shoes online if he’s sure he won’t be walking outside in dirt or through water.  (They have suede bottoms to help you glide on the dance floor.)

All in all the shoes the bride and groom wear for the wedding dance are pretty important!  If you’re unsure about a particular shoe and how it would be to dance in it please text or email me and I can share my experience about it.

Dance lessons can really help you work with the shoes you’ll be wearing on your wedding day.

My brides wear flats to our dance lessons and often bring their wedding shoes so they can dance around on the carpet at the studio to show me what the shoes will and won’t do!

My grooms usually wear leather soled shoes to learn in and sometimes bring their wedding shoes to show me and we discuss any possible challenges they might present.

Happy shoe hunting! Text or email me if you have any additional questions and to schedule some first dance lessons to get you and your shoes ready to dance!

xoxo Jillian

Message or Text: 949.400.7347

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Wedding Shoes!

Wedding Shoes!

To Choreograph Or Not…

June 16th, 2016 by admin

To choreograph or not to choreograph your wedding dance…

???

That is the question!

I get asked about this constantly by my wedding couples and there are positives and negatives to both approaches.  Let’s take a look.

 

The Choreographed First Dance

Positives:

1) It’s great to know your dance order, especially for the follower!

2) You will get in ALL those cool steps and picture poses you learned.

Negatives:

1) What if you mess up and now you’re out of order and now… you’re in trouble!

2) It can look a little “canned”.

 

The Non-Choreographed First Dance

Positives:

1) You know how to dance as opposed to just knowing one routine!

2) It’s all based on “lead and follow” so the leader always looks good.

Negatives:

1) “Deer in the headlights” potential!

2) Need to be well-versed in the “never let them see you sweat” rule.

 

You can see that there are many considerations and it depends on what you both decide would work best for you and your wedding.

For example, if you’re having over 300 people, like one of my recent couples, you may want to opt for the choreographed routine because, well, that’s a lot of people watching you!

If you’re having an intimate reception in an outdoor setting, you might prefer the non-choreographed dance to keep things casual and just flowing.

Maybe you both are into control!! and leaving the dance up to lead and follow and a group of steps sounds out of your comfort zone.

Or perhaps you both are easy going and a choreographed dance would be waaaay out of character for people to watch who know you both well.

Whatever your decision, or if you want to wait to make a decision during your lessons, I will help you put together the wedding dance of your dreams to your lovely song!

Contact me a couple of months before your big day to schedule some private dance lessons… farther out if you’ve got something wild and crazy up your sleeve!

Best with all the planning!

xxoo Jillian

Message and Text:

949.400.7347

Happy 4th of July!

Your Song

April 7th, 2016 by admin

It’s April and it looks like April showers will bring May flowers.  What better time to think about your first dance coming up this Summer than when it’s El Nino and we’re indoors anyway?

* Are you stumped for a first dance song? *

Many of my students bring several songs they are considering to our first rehearsal to see what works dancing and feelings wise for both of them.

I can put steps and choreography together for just about anything.

Once I had a first dance song that was a recording of the bride’s gorgeous voice singing their song for them to dance to on their fabulous day.

* Length of song is a consideration. *

Some songs run around 4 to 5 minutes which many of my couples find too long for their guests to be watching them.

Remember you’re in charge of how long you want to dance and a knowing look to the DJ and your ending dip can signal a fade out of your music.

Another time I had a couple who wanted a tango with some acting moves at the top of the dance.  The groom sat in a chair reading a newspaper upside down as their song began and the bride was tasked with trying to get his attention! 😉

* Look at a printed version of all the lyrics and verses for your special song.*

It’s not fun to get any weird surprises the day of as you suddenly hear the artist crooning about lost loves, fights or anything else that doesn’t quite go for the day of your dreams with the partner of your heart.

Sometimes a favorite song will have a somber verse embedded toward the end of it and you have to decide if it’s a game changer.

One of my father daughter couples really liked a certain song that didn’t quite match their circumstances so dad actually had his recording mixed with a muted instrumental during a small part of it so no one would be the wiser and they could still use the song.

Whatever song says you is the perfect song.  You will look back on this amazing event for years and years so I believe it’s important that you both really like the song and want to learn to dance to it.

*Below are some songs that I have worked with recently.*

“Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?” Bryan Adams

“Take Me To Church” Hozier

“Writing’s On The Wall” Sam Smith

“I Don’t Dance” Lee Brice

“Thinking Out Loud” Ed Sheeran

“One Last Night” Vaults

“Shut Up And Dance” Walk The Moon

Happy Song Hunting!

Hugs, Jillian

949.400.7347 Text and Phone

OurWeddingDance.com – Songs

Here I am in my new "Lilly"!

Here I am in my new “Lilly”!

Debutante Dance

March 2nd, 2016 by admin

If it’s Spring it must be Debutante Ball time!

Debutante Balls are exciting rites of passage for high school senior ladies and their families:

The beauty of the gowns, flowers and decor of the evening +

an exciting video show of the debutante’s amazing accomplishments and future plans +

all the friends and family in attendance =

one magical memory that will last a lifetime!

During the Debutante Ball there is a wonderful Father Daughter group dance where the debs and their dads dance to a sweet song that gets all the moms, grandmas, aunties and friends teary-eyed.

Since the early 2000s, I have had the pleasure of choreographing many, many Father Daughter dances and instructing hundreds of dads and daughters in dance steps and techniques.

The Father Daughter Dance does not have to be a difficult dance to be beautiful and effective! From two to four rehearsals need to be at the dance studio where there is good lighting, mirrors and a large wooden dance floor.

During rehearsals, dads get used to leading and daughters to following the group dance steps to their special song ensuring everyone feels confident dancing in close proximity on the dance floor.

Debutantes can wear their petticoats if they will be wearing them with their gowns on the big day and it is best if dads wear leather soled shoes to simulate their formal footwear and also so they won’t “stick” to the floor.

Over the years I’ve learned the best Debutante Presents Father Daughter dances are the dances that were choreographed since dads and daughters then know their beginning, middle and end and what they need to do to keep the dancing going smoothly and not run into anyone.

Songs for the Father Daughter Dance are usually between three and four minutes long. Some song choices I have had are: “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw, “The First Waltz” from the movie The Young Victoria, “Daughters” by John Mayer and “Moon River” by Andy Williams.

Take a look at fun Father Daughter dance songs for the bride and her dad to get more ideas about songs.

Email me your song ideas if you would like to know more about the dancing that would go with the song you’re thinking of using.

Most of the time a song choice is actually a foxtrot with 4/4 timing not a waltz with 1,2,3 timing. I can adapt waltz figures for this timing to still retain the look of a waltz but give the dance a contemporary feel.

Happy Spring and Happy Debutante Balls y’all!

Hugs, Jillian

The St. James Bow!

The St. James Bow!

 

What’s the most important part of a wedding first dance?

February 16th, 2016 by admin

sanddollar

It could be the walk on…

You’re catching everyone’s eye with the very beginning and whether you strut onto the floor or just walk casually hand in hand – all eyes are on you.

 

sanddollarMaybe the first twirl…

Who doesn’t love to see the bride’s dress go out in a perfect twirl that makes her look like Cinderella at her very own ball.

 

sanddollarMoving across the dance floor as one…

The special song rises and surges and suddenly they’re moving as one and every girl in the room nudges her +1 with a knowing look.

 

sanddollarA trick – like a lean, lift or carry…

There is nothing like a collective Ohhh or Ahhh from the guests to get the hearts racing.

 

sanddollarFinally, it could be the dip…

Slowly and purposefully the groom dips his beautiful bride and brings her lips to his for a romantic kiss.

 

sanddollarI say it could be any or all of those fantastic moments yet…

At the end of the day the most important part of a wedding first dance is YOU!

 

If your guests want to see entrances, exits, dips and tricks – let’s face it there are plenty of TV shows available!

But to see the two people you have so much history with, dance together exchanging knowing looks and eyes full of memories in the making is priceless and beyond compare.

It’s good to know how to dance together so you can get beyond all of the lead and follow, dance technique and footwork to just “BE” with each other on the dance floor on your BIG DAY.

 

sanddollar

Let me help you learn to work together as a couple with steps and choreography that are romantic and fun but not too much to do in your gorgeous wedding clothes.

Hugs to all of you at this exciting time, Jillian

 

sanddollar949.400.7347 – Message or Text

Sunday Special: TWO 55 minute lessons for $138/couple

New Beginnings

January 19th, 2016 by admin

It’s 2016… and a Happy New Year to you!

New beginnings all around and for me it’s all about the New Avant Garde Ballroom.

Three new floating dance floors, new carpet, new mirrors, new chairs and a great location just minutes from Tustin’s The District!

I was at the Old Avant Garde Ballroom for 17 years so there are a lot of memories back there of hundreds and hundreds of wonderful couples and great first dances, anniversary dances, father daughter dances, mother son dances and wedding party and quinceanera group dances.

But the land developer decided the whole block is to be torn down to make way for high rise condos so it was pull up roots time for everyone.

New Avant Garde Ballroom is located at:

1502 East Warner Santa Ana 92705

Here We Are!

Here We Are!

Here I am below on January 17th 2016, my first day teaching at the new location.

Ballroom 1

Ballroom 1

And here’s a fun one with me and Andre, the owner of the old and new Avant Garde Ballrooms.  We go way back having met in the 90s at a Fred Astaire studio in Irvine.  We’re posing in front of the new front desk at the New Avant Garde Ballroom’s entrance.

Jillian and Andre

Jillian and Andre

So when you’re ready to take some wedding dance lessons or father daughter or mother son lessons you’ll be in for a treat with the new ballrooms and beautiful floating dance floors.  Send me your song ideas and I can brainstorm with you about fun and romantic moves that you can learn easily and quickly for a memorable first dance.  Happy 2016!  Hugs, Jillian

Happy Holidays!

December 14th, 2015 by admin

Happy Holidays!!!

Hope your 2015 was full of fun and memories.

I’ve had lots of beautiful brides and grooms, dads and daughters and moms and sons – and their wonderful dances this year.

***

Just in a great testimonial from a Fall bride and groom:

Dear Jillian,

Thank you so much for coaching us through and preparing us for our 1st dance at our wedding. Our dance was absolutely beautiful! We couldn’t have done it without you!

Happy Holidays, Katherine and Adam

Married 11.6.15

Song, “Promise” by Ben Howard

***

It’s always so much fun to hear back from my couples and see some pictures from their amazing day.

If you know someone who is about to get married, think about getting them a gift certificate for their dance lessons.

I’ve had so many couples tell me dance lessons turned out to be one of the most fun activities they did together before the big day.

The grooms said a little practice and some tips and tricks did wonders for their first dance jitters.

Here’s a link to my Gift Certificates page and have a great holiday!

Hugs and good dancing vibes,

Jillian

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Winter Wedding Dances

October 26th, 2015 by admin

Wow!  I can’t believe that Halloween is almost here!  Where did the Summer go?  Oh, that’s right it’s still hot during the day, if cooling a bit at night.  But Fall is creeping in around the corner.

What better time to get some dance lessons in with your honey before that big Winter Wedding?

Stumped for a wedding dance song?

Here are a few of the songs my couples have been using for that romantic moment on the dance floor:

“Young At Heart” by Frank Sinatra

“Could I Have This Dance” by Anne Murray

“Good Morning Beautiful” by Steve Holy

“In My Life” by The Beatles

“Have I Told You Lately” by Rod Stewart

Whether you want to do my two lesson Sunday Special or just want a “one lesson wonder”, it really helps to have any time together practicing before you’re out there on the wedding day for real!

I teach the gentleman how to lead and ladies how to follow and we go over and over the steps utilizing tips and tricks to get you feeling comfortable and looking fun on the dance floor.

Tick that wedding dance off of your to-do list today by messaging me at 949.400.7347.  I can check for dates and times and before you know it you’ll be dancing your wedding dance. I can’t wait to meet you and work on your special song!

Happy almost Halloween, Jillian

We had 800 Trick or Treaters last year!!!

We had 800 Trick or Treaters last year!!!

 

Mom Son Dances Hot As The Weather

August 3rd, 2015 by admin

What a great idea to have a mother son dance at your wedding! After all who says that brides and their dads should get all the dancing fun? I have taught moms and sons beautiful waltzes, frolicsome foxtrots or a sassy swing to really get them out there celebrating this special time in their lives.

One mom and son, pictured right – who just completed their lessons, learned a five song medley of popular and oldies but goodies song Mother Son Dancesnippets to really kick up the volume at her wedding reception in Italy! What a wonderful commitment to each other, and to her new life, their dancing must have been to their excited wedding guests.

Another mom son dance combo I had last month used the song “Loves Me Like A Rock” for their special dance and did a bouncy and fun swing to it with the son leading his mom in skirt twirling turns, changing places and walking steps with kicks.

If you have a humorous relationship you can even throw in some fun hip hop moves like shopping cart and churning butter. If you want a serious start but a wild ending use two songs and splice them together.

Whatever song or songs say “you”, I can make a dance routine you can do as a couple or side by side or both so don’t be afraid to let your personalities come through your dancing.

Most of my mother son dance couples doing one song take my two lesson package and learn lead and follow, some twirls, movement around the floor and a fun beginning and ending. Their songs range from 2-3 minutes.

If my mother song dance couples are doing a song snippet medley they will usually take four lessons so they can learn all the techniques above plus the little dance pieces, work with any props and seam the dance snippets together in one big dance. Usually these dances are about 4-5 minutes long.

One more thought… don’t forget this combination: I had a mom and daughter decide to do a mother of the bride and bride daughter dance. Mom led a fun foxtrot with her beautiful “now all grown up little girl” laughing and twirling each other around the dance floor.

As an added bonus, the skills you learn leading, or following, will stand you in good stead when you get out to dance on the dance floor with the other special people in your life!

MOTHER SON SONGS

Testimonial: Everything was near perfect… I wouldn’t even bother considering anyone else. Jillian teaches to your personal ability, she is gracious, kind, always on time, affordable, and a mere joy to work with… Sheila (Mom)

Remember you can go on YouTube and type in Mom Son dance and see what comes up to give you some inspiration!  Here’s a link to a YouTube that one of my couples used as the springboard for their imaginative mom son dance last month.

Stay cool during this hot end of Summer and contact me soon if you would like to reserve some dance lessons for the upcoming Special Day.

Hugs, Jillian

Text: 949.400.7347

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Wedding Dance Lessons in Newport Beach

Wedding Dance Lessons in Newport Beach

 

 

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