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Semiformal Dancing

Written by Mr. WellCultured, Friday, June 12th, 2009 in Q&As

I’m planning on attending a few weddings, this Summer. I don’t want to be a wallflower, as it hurts the atmosphere and reflects poorly on me, but I also don’t want to get on the dance floor and act foolishly. How about posting some tips (yes, I saw the movie Hitch, but it’s just a movie & I feel like I need more info – especially regarding slow dancing).

I’ll confess right now: I’ve done ballroom dance for a while, and you can be safely confident that basically only 10% of any wedding actually knows how to dance, let alone how to dance well.

As a general rule, the most you’ll ever experience at a wedding will be the standard American (English) Waltz, the American Foxtrot, and PERHAPS (in a very rare situation) some form of latin dancing (Rumba, Cha-Cha, Salsa, etc). Generally, keeping with the theme of most weddings, the most you’ll ever actually do with most people is the standard “prom dance”- holding someone in an awkward position and shifting your weight back and forth awkwardly trying to look fancy. Honestly, the most you’ll need to worry about is not stepping on toes, bearing the amount of times your feet will be stepped on, and looking like you know how to dance when you do very little.

If you are worried, there’s nothing wrong with finding a ballroom dance studio and learning the basics. Ideally, find an instructor who is part of USA Dance or a competitive body of some sort, as they will generally know the intricacies of dancing much better than a hired-off-the-street Dance major. While you may not get to use all of what you learn (you’d be surprised how many soon-to-be-betrothed couples go to a ballroom dance studio to learn how to dance only to forget it later), learning how to have a good frame, move smoothly across the floor, and generally straighten out your two left feet is always a plus. There are plenty of resources online that explain how to dance, but unfortunately nothing will ever really match a good session with a talented instructor and a female partner.

Despite all of the above, you’ll be happy (sad?) to find out that more and more weddings now end up doing dancing that’s some sort of mixture of club dancing and raving or something. It’s as bad as it sounds. If that is indeed the case, I have no idea where you could learn how to dance- I’d just suffer through it.

In any case, good luck!

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