• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Music

Dance Lessons - How come so few couples seem to be taking them?

We're planning our wedding, and one of the things we really liked the idea of, was being able to dance at our wedding.  Nothing like "dancing with the stars" but we want to look like we know what we are doing.

We searched the Knot Blogs for two things: 1) Dance instructor recommendations, and 2) Wedding couples in the Baltimore area, who are taking dance lessons, who might like to get together for "dance dates" to practice.  We came up totally empty on both.

Now, fortunately, several of our married friends all used the same company  so we figured out where to go.  And let me tell you, we absolutely love it and we can't say enough good things about the instructors.  They are really affordable, and they work with our crazy schedule, even when we need really odd hours.

We like dancing for several reasons:  We want to look good and feel confident at our wedding, we like spending time just with each other, getting away from work AND wedding planning.

But this has really gotten us thinking... What happened to the "standard" idea of taking dance lessons for your wedding?  Enough of our friends did it for their weddings, that we had to schedule our time with them around their lessons.  And, you really could tell the difference between them and the ones who didn't take them.  But, now, just a couple years since we attended our last friend's wedding, no one seems to talk about it much.

So, we were wondering...

Re: Dance Lessons - How come so few couples seem to be taking them?

  • trix1223trix1223 member
    5000 Comments 25 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I don't think it was ever a "standard" idea to take dancing lessons.  I've been married for a long time, and I didn't know anyone who thought it was necessary to take lessons to do something they'd been doing for a long time.

    I think it was another idea of the wedding industry~making couples feel like this would somehow make their wedding more special, unique, interesting, creative, clever.  The wedding industry does that very well, because they have an interest in feeding into the frenzy.

    It became trendy for a short while  to take lessons until people came to their senses and realized that their guests don't care whether the bride and groom attempt to perform a competition-worthy ballroom dance (which rarely comes off well) or just does a simple, but heartfelt and intimate dance together (which is after all what the first dance is all about).

    I think people in a downward spiraling economy realized that there are far more important things to spend their hard earned money on than a two minute dance.

    Does this sound pretty negative?  Yup.  But I have a problem with couples being duped into thinking that unless they have "thus and so" their wedding won't be special.  And it will be special, because it's their wedding.
    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_first-dance_dance-lessons-cant-say-enough-good-things-come-couples-seem-taking?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:29Discussion:f2e885d4-ba21-420a-87e1-555a245f6ad1Post:170dbdae-ad68-48f8-b4b0-e1894412d5ba">Re: Dance Lessons - How come so few couples seem to be taking them?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I don't think it was ever a "standard" idea to take dancing lessons.  I've been married for a long time, and I didn't know anyone who thought it was necessary to take lessons to do something they'd been doing for a long time. I think it was another idea of the wedding industry~making couples feel like this would somehow make their wedding more special, unique, interesting, creative, clever.  The wedding industry does that very well, because they have an interest in feeding into the frenzy. It became trendy for a short while  to take lessons until people came to their senses and realized that their guests don't care whether the bride and groom attempt to perform a competition-worthy ballroom dance (which rarely comes off well) or just does a simple, but heartfelt and intimate dance together (which is after all what the first dance is all about). I think people in a downward spiraling economy realized that there are far more important things to spend their hard earned money on than a two minute dance. Does this sound pretty negative?  Yup.  But I have a problem with couples being duped into thinking that unless they have "thus and so" their wedding won't be special.  And it will be special, because it's their wedding.
    Posted by trix1223[/QUOTE]

    I appreciate your reply, though it is, by your own admission, pretty negative.  I don't have the benefit of your years of married experience, but I have been to a LOT of weddings (15 in just the past few years).  We  have consistantly found that, a simple, nicely structured first dance (NOT "competition-worthy ballroom"), goes much better with all the other pomp and circumstance of the event, than just hugging and rocking.  It also looks like they put a lot more care and attention into the moment, in keeping with the formality of the event, and it comes off more sincerley.  Conversely, for those that hugged and rocked, or tried to make something up, their dances often came off as an afterthought, to each other as well as the room, like they were just satisfying a requirement.

    I also understand your jaded perspective, it's easy to see big industry as the enemy in a depressed economy.  But, there are always ways to do things on a modest budget.  For Ballroom, there are plenty of small studios, independent instructors, and instructors who teach through community organizations that offer very good, very affordable lessons. 

    I think, for us it's simple.  Weddings are more formal occasions, and more formal occasions are better suited for more formal dancing.  I'm sure others don't agree, which probably has something to do with the current trend towards not taking lessons.  We were just surprised to see how much it has fallen off the radar. 

    My fiance' said, creating this glamorous event, and getting all dressed up, and then hugging and rocking, is like putting on a Karate uniform with a black belt, and going to a tournement, without knowing Karate.  I didn't get the analogy at first, but now I do.
  • trix1223trix1223 member
    5000 Comments 25 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I don't think I'm jaded at all.  I think I'm realistic, and I think more and more couples are becoming realistic about what truly matters at a wedding reception.

    I debated posting my reply to this question, since almost every one of your 6 total posts has specifically mentioned a particular dance studio by name.  It sounds a bit like you're advertising.

    Anyway, if you want an choreographed or as you put it, "structured" dance for your wedding, go for it.  I'm not telling you not to. 

    You asked the question about why more people aren't doing it, and I gave my opinion. 
    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
  • edited December 2011
    I didn't think I had that many posts.  But, brides mention things they are happy (or unhappy with) all the time, and I really like my instructors and I love dancing.  If I hated them,I would post about that too, and probably have written a lot more detail.

    The dancing we are doing is like what my grandparents, and older aunts and uncles do/did.  It's relaxed, natural, understated, but elegant.  It's not choreagraphed.  It's about partnership. 

    But, you are right, I asked you for your opinion(s), and you are entitled to it.  I guess, I got an idea of what I wanted in my wedding, and didn't understand why anyone else wouldn't want the same thing, or that seemingly nobody would.

  • kls114kls114 member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Personally I wouldn't take lessons or work with a dance instructor--mainly because I have taken some form of dance since the age of , love love to dance & love music--like big time! But people are entitled to do whatever it is they like at their weddings & spend their money on what they would like to spend it on. I do not think there is any specific reason to why couples are not taking them or are--it is a personal preference & I have heard & seen waves of people taking them.

    It's great that you are happy with your dance instructor!  Please be aware though that when you post multiple times on the same topic like you have, with no other posting history,your basically advertising a vendor, it can appear that you ARE the vendor which is against community rules.  If you truly are interested in why people aren't taking dancing lessons, you can ask that question without advertising the vendor you're using.  After your wedding, please feel free to post complete vendor reviews on ALL of your vendors.

    TIA!
    ~Miss.~
    ~Mrs.~
    **Password: kls114**
    Photobucket
    Anniversary
  • edited December 2011
    Thanks! I appreciate your input.  It makes pefect sense not to take lessons if dance has been a part of your life from early on. 

    Maybe part of it, is, we're not approaching it with the idea of quiting when we are done with our wedding, the wedding is just the impetus for us to take the lessons.

    I re-read TRIX1223's earlier reply, and, I would agree, if it's just for the wedding, dance lessons can be considered quite an expense for just a few minutes, or hours of time.  Then again, so can the dress, the tux, the band or DJ, and any other aspect of the wedding.  I suppose it's all a matter of what's important to you.  
     Also, thanks for the gentle tip.  I've removed my instructor's info from the post. Smile
    And I'll post about other vendors as I get to do more with them. 
  • kls114kls114 member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Excellent! Thanks! Cool
    ~Miss.~
    ~Mrs.~
    **Password: kls114**
    Photobucket
    Anniversary
  • edited December 2011
    Just to add in another perspective.  I won dance lessons and FI and I went and had a wonderful time.  The problem was after the free lessons were over, they were trying to sell us their packages, which we knew was coming, but we didn't realize how EXPENSIVE they were.  Really unbelievable.  I'm talking thousands.  So......there is no way we can afford that.

    That said, we had the best time.  All of the people we worked with were incredibly helpful, very nice and genuinely good people.  We do plan to continue taking sparatic group lessons until our wedding, which are are more affordable, and hopefully down the road when we are more settled we'll be able to really take dance lessons and make this our hobby.  Unfortunately it isn't in the cards for us right now, but we were both pleasantly surprised by how much we loved dancing and we both feel a lot more comfortable doing our first dance in front of everyone. 

    FWIW, a choreographed dance is not what we wanted, nor was that recommended by our instructors, so we learned steps that we can put together at any point throughout the dance and everything flows together wonderfully, it's nice knowing that there is no way you can screw up ;)
    image
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_first-dance_dance-lessons-cant-say-enough-good-things-come-couples-seem-taking?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:29Discussion:f2e885d4-ba21-420a-87e1-555a245f6ad1Post:75d4e187-44e6-4751-9820-db9ebecd44eb">Re: Dance Lessons - How come so few couples seem to be taking them?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Just to add in another perspective.  I won dance lessons and FI and I went and had a wonderful time.  The problem was after the free lessons were over, they were trying to sell us their packages, which we knew was coming, but we didn't realize how EXPENSIVE they were.  Really unbelievable.  I'm talking thousands.  So......there is no way we can afford that. That said, we had the best time.  All of the people we worked with were incredibly helpful, very nice and genuinely good people.  We do plan to continue taking sparatic group lessons until our wedding, which are are more affordable, and hopefully down the road when we are more settled we'll be able to really take dance lessons and make this our hobby.  Unfortunately it isn't in the cards for us right now, but we were both pleasantly surprised by how much we loved dancing and we both feel a lot more comfortable doing our first dance in front of everyone.  FWIW, a choreographed dance is not what we wanted, nor was that recommended by our instructors, so we learned steps that we can put together at any point throughout the dance and everything flows together wonderfully, it's nice knowing that there is no way you can screw up ;)
    Posted by kmt_cas[/QUOTE]

    We totally understand.  If our experience is any indication, you can also find some really good instructors that  teach out of their homes, or through local community centers, for a fraction of the price of larger studios.  For instance, an entire year of weekly, private lessons with our instructors adds up to less than $2000, and that's in 10 lesson blocks.  But private lessons were the best fit for us.  There are plenty of weekly group classes out there too, at small studios, YMCA's, JCC's, through community colleges, Parks and Rec etc.,  Perhaps you could shop around and see what you find?
      
  • edited December 2011
    FI and I are planning on taking dance lessons as well. I wanted to take them before we were engaged just for something that both of us could do together, and he liked that idea. I agree that they are very expensive, but it's something that you get to do at your wedding, your friend's weddings, your children's weddings, etc. I am certainly looking forward to doing a nice waltz for our first dance. I'm also a pretty poor dancer, so any instruction I can get helps.
    You will always need something to fix.
    [url=http://www.thebump.com/?utm_source=ticker&utm_medium=UBB&utm_campaign=tickers][img]http://global.thebump.com/tickers/tt15aec8.aspx[/img][/url]
  • edited December 2011
    My FI wouldn't even dance in front of a 2 year old when we first got engaged...seriously, we were babysitting and the kid was dancing and he just stood there. Our dance club is around the corner from where we live, so its really convenient, and it has worked wonders for his confidence. I'm not sure if we are going to choreograph something, or just do the general dances we've learned so far, but at least the confidence and general know-how is there.

    I'm considering getting some instructional DVDs after our lessons are over so we can continue to learn, its the cheaper and easier way, once you have the basic steps in place. I think they also make a dancing for dummies book...but that could be hard not actually seeing how the dance is supposed to look.

    I think it is sweet when the couple has something prepared for their first dance, it speaks about how the couple is willing to invest time and effort into their relationship rather than investing money materials that are gone with the day. Dancing grows relationships and a couples ability to work together...and its a good way to spend time together...I think more people should do it. I'm trying to get all my Aunt's and Uncles to go, it will help their romance...haha.
  • edited December 2011
    When you're working with a budget and trying to figure out how to factor in a DJ and how to do DIY invites and centerpieces and your future husband's parents are divorced and HATE each other and want to do different things for the rehearsal dinner and your bridesmaids are arguing over the dress price and suddenly you find that your first option for a reception blows you're entire budget, the last thing you think about is signing up to learn how to ballroom dance.

    Frankly, I don't know in what universe getting dance lessons like that has ever been a "standard."  None of the couples I know who got married recently did it, my parents didn't do it, and my future husband's mother and father, as well as father and step-mother didn't do it. 

    If that's something you want to do to make your day all the more special, great, I'm sure you guys will be awesome.  But at least at my reception, no one is going to walk away saying, "jeeze those guys really sucked at their first dance!"  I really don't think they would care.

  • edited December 2011
    You're not jaded, you are totally normal.  I have never personally known anyone who actually took dance lessons before their wedding.  I'd imagine that most people don't give a hoot.
  • edited December 2011
    I know not one single friend, relative or otherwise who has ever taken a dance lesson for their wedding.  FI and I feel comfortable enough to slow dance and have an intimate moment without feeling like it has to be a production. 
    Crosswalk
  • edited December 2011
    Hmm interesting topic.  I come from a competitive background in ice dancing but unfortunately I can't do what I do on ice on the floor.  I tried but it's just not the same.  I would really like to do something nice for my first dance rather than the swaying thing.  But I don't have it in my budget.  I do know of a good friend of my mom's that is a dancer and she said she'd help us for free so I am def going to use it to my advantage.  I think it comes across more elegant and sweet if the couple is actually moving around the dancefloor.  It def keeps the attention of the guests too which for me isn't that big of a deal but if I'm going to invest the time into it, it would be nice for others to watch. I don't think I'll have time to choreograph something though, and I still don't know which song we are going to sing.  I did take some ballroom classes in college and had a blast!  I agree that its something really fun to do with the FI to get away from everything else and just be together.  I didn't think about the dvd's but I think i'll look into them.  It def can't hurt in anyway.
  • Ken&CassKen&Cass member
    500 Comments
    edited December 2011

    We are going for our first dance lesson on Friday. When I originally called to book it every person I talked to (and I talked to three before I was ready to pay for it) asked when the wedding was and was surprised that we were 'starting so early'. They said they get the majority of their brides freaking out about a month before the wedding trying to cram in dance lessons. Even though we are 6 months out from our date I felt that him and I with our lack of coordination could use the extra time to figure out what it is that we really want to do. The people at the dance studio were also surprised when they asked if I had a particular song and mind and I told them that we were going to decide that once we decided what kind of dance we feel most comfortable with. Apparently most people come in and insist they coordinate a dance to their specific song.

    Anyways I'm not doing dance lessons because the 'wedding industry made it seem like a good idea' or because anyone else is doing it. I have always loved to dance and my fiancé has been hesitant about going swing dancing with me. I am kind of using our lessons for this as a stepping stone for him to realize how much fun it can be and get him to take me out swing dancing sometime. Kind of like an icebreaker, since it's private I think he's more okay with it.

    I booked our dance lessons for $69, and we get three private lessons and two public dance classes. It is normally a $160 thing, but they had a special. Really I think the price is not very significant due to the amount of quality time it will get us together.

    P.S. I thought your comment about dressing up to hug and rock was hilarious!

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • edited December 2011
    It's funny... when I started this topic, I didn't realize it would inspire so many strong opinions against the concept of dance lessons for your wedding.  I just wondered, since most of my friends did it, why no one else seemed to be, now that it's my turn to get married.

    It seems there are two main camps: The one that likes the idea of having something structured and formal (note: I did not say "choreographed", or refer to some "big production number").  And the other (which seems to be the more vocal one), who didn't or wouldn't do it, doesn't understand why anyone ELSE would do it, has never heard of it being a regular, standard thing or even known anyone who did it, and, in some cases, sees it as something that was dreamed up by the wedding industry and has no bearing on the significance of your first dance or your love for each other. 

    I would like to answer the open question of who does, did, or ever would do this and why.  I am a bit of a history buff, and I like to learn all about the things I do.  In a nutshell, from the 1340's when the first Waltz materialized in Europe, until the 1960's when the hippies invented "shaking it to the music", no one, and I do mean no one, set foot on a dance floor anywhere, without having learned some basic social dancing.  Whether it was from a parent, in school, through a tutor, through a professional studio, it didn't matter.  It also didn't matter if you were "any good", or knew a lot.  But, if you didn't know SOMETHING, you didn't dance.  There was no "hugging and rocking", there was Waltz, Foxtrot, Rumba, Swing (or whatever), or you sat it out.  It was as alien to people during those 600+ years to get up and dance when you didn't know how, as it would be today, to go to a Salsa club full of skilled dancers and "just shake it". 

    Today, coming out parties, debutante balls, military balls, and formal political balls,  to name a few, still adhere to the concept of structured social dancing as part of social etiquette.  Interestingly, there is a LOT of dancing done at Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and it's very common for people to take Swing dance lessons in particular, to prepare for those events.  I read somewhere that there are over 6 million social Ballroom practitioners in this country.  That's not including folks who just grew up dancing.  So, with 600+ years of Ballroom as the norm, and only 50 years of it fading into the background, it's more fair to say that NOT knowing how to dance for a formal event is the much newer concept. 

    My parents both learned to dance growing up, and danced together often.   Both sets of my grandparents knew how as well, as did my fiance's.  And, when I watch them dance at family gatherings, there is a natural look to them that I hope we can emulate when we dance for our wedding, and hopefully, beyond.
  • edited December 2011
    I think it's kind of myopic on your part to think that this is something everyone did or does.  No one I grew up with went to a debuntante ball, and I'm not from a trailer park, I grew up in an upper-middle class suburb of a major city here.  Your history lesson is pretty funny too, but I'll let that pass.

    It's also pretty short-sighted of you to assume that just because a lot of us don't feel it necessary to spend the money on something like ballroom dancing lessons that we are all going to "hug and rock" at our weddings.  I'm sure my fiance and I won't.  And so what if people do want to just "hug and rock" as their first dance?  It's their wedding, not yours.  And a lot of us are working within budgets (have you read the news lately?  we are in a recession, and it's hit 20-somethings fresh out of college the hardest) and don't feel that it's right to spend more than the cost of a new car on a wedding.

    Your post frankly came off as snobby and rude, and I responded accordingly.  I get tired of vendors, people, and everyone else telling women what they must have at their wedding, because it is a gamit.  My parents married in the early '70s and they spent less than 2k on their wedding.  Somehow, since then, there has been a bizarro 300% markup on weddings, and things added to the mix that simply weren't necessary, thought of, or wanted 30 years ago.  And for the record, they weren't poor either (although my mother did not have a "debuntante ball").

    If it's important for you to spend the money on dance lessons fine.  Just realize there's a lot of people who aren't involved in the part of society with debuntante balls and classy clam bakes who would rather save the money and spend it on more practical things later.  A lot of people don't want to break the bank on their weddings. 

    Again, if someone came to my wedding expecting some grand ballroom dance from me and my fiance, then it was a mistake to invite them in the first place.



  • edited December 2011
    You don't necessarily need to take dance lessons at a private studio or take lessons specifically "geared to engaged couples" if you want to learn how to dance.  For example there are lots of clups and local community colleges that offer dance lessons for as little as $26 per unit for the entire semester.  That sure beats $1K any day of the week.

    I am going to echo what the other brides have said.  I don't know where it is explicitly dictated by ettiquette that couples who are getting married must take dancing lessons--fact is it doesn't.  We didn't take lessons because my FI was like "um, we already know how to dance. And I am NOT wasting the precious little time I have on the weekend on THAT;  I don't care how cheap it is."

    Working 45+ hours a week and driving 50 miles one way is not exactly condusive to people wanting to put on their dancing shoes after work. 

    I think the reason most couples don't get dancing lessons these days is because on their list of priorities with getting everything that needs to be done for getting married dancing lessons hit pretty much rock bottom. This is especially the case when considering the mark up that most dance studios charge couples just because they are getting married. 

    Here's the financial angle: Even if you have one million dollars to spend on your wedding and a boat load of cash to burn afterwards, if you are only going to dance formally only one day of your life, dance lessons are a waste of money.

    If you are planning to dance as a hobby or for fun together and you both enjoy dancing socially after the wedding then that's a completely different situation because you're not just spending that money on one day but on something you plan to do for the rest of your life.

    That said it is a free country and people can spend their money on whatever they want, including an organ grinder with a pet monkey at their wedding.  But I don't know too many couples who are getting that organ grinder and are suggesting that other couples should do the same just because they did it.


  • edited December 2011
    Agreed, people should prioritize what's important to them on their wedding day, and not what any website, or any person says should be important.  It's THEIR wedding, they should do it THEIR way.  If dancing is important, then by all means, go for the dancing classes.

    For the record, in a country of 300 million, 6 million dancers is actually not a high percentage of people, it only accounts for 2% of Americans.  In 2008 it was estimated that 20% of Americans smoke.  Not to mention 66% of Americans are overweight/obese.  Not to mention, an estimated 3% of Americans have spent time in prison.  So, according to your logic, it's much more "normal" to smoke, be overweight, and go to prison than it is to pursue ballroom dancing.

    And who really wants to be normal anyway?  That's kind of boring.

  • bellezza33bellezza33 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I agree that taking dance lessons in preparation for your wedding is definitely not a standard.  I know my parents never even thought about it for their wedding, nor did anyone else from their generation. 

    That being said, I think the ability to dance a simple waltz or other ballroom style is more and more lost these days.  I grew up dancing w/ my father and grandfather at various functions, so I know how to do something simple.  My fiance, on the other hand, is very musically talented, but can not make that talent connect to his feet.  Whenever we've tried to dance together, it has been a bit of a mess.  I really didn't want that to happen for our first dance, and he agreed, so we've been taking some lessons.  We were lucky that we could afford this expense, and the studio we are using is only moderately priced.  We've been to weddings where the couple has taken lessons, and others where the couple has not.  It all depends on your dancing abilities, your comfort level w/ all eyes on you, and your budget (although I know of places where you can take group lessons for as little as $10/person.)   I will say also that we have really enjoyed our lessons, and are thinking about taking more post-wedding just for fun.  It's a great experience and something we can do together. 
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards