December 2004 Newsletter
Dance Tip: Choosing An Instructor
What is the difference between a wedding dance specialist and a general ballroom dance teacher? Your goals.
One of the problems with selecting a standard dance studio or instructor is that they view wedding couples as "lost leads." This is because the wedding couple has a short term goal - - the wedding, which does not usually lead them to take very many lessons. Keep these facts in mind when you call or go into a studio:
1) "FREE" lessons: you get what you pay for! Most "free lessons" at dance studios are a means to get you through the door. Much of the lesson is spent convincing you of the benefits of dance as a lifetime hobby and reviewing lengthy and expensive packages for after your wedding. The free lesson’s emphasis is not actually on learning to dance but rather on selling you more lessons. It costs a dance studio thousands of dollars to create a dance instructor and promote their business. Therefore, studios do not give away QUALITY private lessons for free.
2) One dance style versus a variety: The Wedding Dance Specialists leaves the decision of how many dances to learn up to you-the client! Most wedding couples are on a tight schedule and limited budget, they want to focus their attention on feeling comfortable for their first dance in front of their guests. In contrast, general dance studios may discourage students from studying only one dance for various reasons (primarily the bottom line). Complicating a small program (3-5 lessons) with additional dances may result in needing to purchase more lessons and cause a sense of confusion and discomfort on your big day. Feeling comfortable with new dance material generally requires about 5 hours. Depending on your skill and comfort level,it’s O.K. to reevaluate your progress and comfort level after the third or fourth lesson to consider learning the very basics of a second dance but be wary of teachers too insistent on focusing on more than one dance from the onset.
3) Experience of the instructor: Since wedding couples generally purchase small packages (less than 25) many studios have their most inexperienced instructors teach the wedding couples. Our instructors have been specially trained for the unique needs of wedding couples and are all competition or performance level dancers. Dance lessons are as important as any other service you might hire for your wedding. You have every right to ask how long your instructor has been teaching. Would you want to hire a chauffeur who just moved to the area, got his license last week and has never driven the limo before?
4) Flexibility in package options: Be wary of studios who insist you cannot benefit from just one lesson or worse do not allow you to purchase only one lesson! Even one lesson with the right instructor can show remarkable results. Some students time or budget do not allow for more than one lesson. We understand this and are flexible. We guarantee that you can look and feel more elegant on the dance-floor with one lesson compared to just trying to “wing it.”. The Wedding Dance Specialists cater to the unique needs of wedding couples. We created this niche in the metro/DC area years ago because we saw a need was not being met. Since then we have been flattered by those attempting to imitate us. Your wedding dance preparation can be the most relaxing and romantic aspect of your wedding planning process IF you have the right instructor! We encourage you to do your research and compare!
5) The Teacher: The personality, demeanor, image, teaching style are all important factors to consider when selecting a dance teacher. Just because they are good dancers does not guarantee that they will be good teachers. The teacher must genuinely enjoy working with beginners and ideally have compassion and understanding of the unique pressures that wedding planning involves.
Wedding Planning Tip: Winter Weddings
Deborah Joy, Newlywed and Founder of The Wedding Dance Specialists suggests:
1. Winter weddings can expand your drink list to include hot cider, hot chocolate and egg nog.
2. If your site has holiday decorations up for the season, you can save some money on decorating if theirs is appropriate for your religion, culture and theme. Even something as simple as little white lights can transform the mood of a room into something magical!
3. Personalized holiday ornaments or decorations make excellent wedding favors because you know that your guests will find your favor useful at least once a year! You can locate them easily on the internet or hand make them inexpensively but give yourself plenty of time for hand-made projects! Another affordable option are holiday - theme cookies, gingerbread figures or chocolates wrapped in holiday colors.
Meredith Sellers, Professional Bridal Consultant for Elegant Engagements suggests:
Use snowflakes everywhere! Hang glittery snowflakes and votive candles from your wedding canopy, use silver, white or glitter snowflakes as place card or napkin holders or use them to accent your bouquet and centerpieces. Your cake decorator can even add fondant or sugar paste snowflakes to your cake. To stay with your snowflake theme, add a stamped snowflake to your programs, your menu cards and any other stationary. Provide your out of town guests with welcome bags full of mittens, homemade cookies and hot chocolate, tie the bag up with a snowflake gift tag. Purchase the snowflakes, gift bags, rubber stamps etc at any craft store, also check out the holiday decoration stores. Little touches you can do yourself and save money.
Featured Dance Style: Viennese Waltz
The romance, elegance, charm and classic air of the Viennese waltz stirs up nostalgic fairytale images of Cinderella meeting her Prince Charming on the dance floor. Currently, the Viennese Waltz is a fast version of the Modern Waltz. It is danced at a tempo of about 180 beats per minute. Two great Austrian composers – Franz Lanner and Johann Strauss gave this dance a tremendous boost around 1830 and set the standard for the dance. The rapid pace and continuous circling will make the novice dizzy at first, but with practice it is a lot of fun. The nature of this dance requires both the leader and the follower to maintain a good frame. It is a "Smooth Dance" so it travels counter-clockwise around the room at high speed. Warning to new dancers. The outside edges and corners of the room are considered the Fast Lane and we pass on the outside! Until you learn to move together well you want to dance more to the center of the floor to allow the space for the more advanced dancers move freely.
"Annie's Song" John Denver
"Caribbean Blue" Enya (Shepherd Moons)
"My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music
"Kiss of the Rose" Seal
"I Can't Help Falling In Love" Elvis Presley
Strauss Waltzes (warning: they are usually long, and may have tempo changes)
"Have You Ever Loved A Woman?" Brian Adams
Galas, Performances and Competitions
There are so many opportunities and venues to enjoy your dancing skills! The D.C. metro area danceworld is your oyster! Whether you're in the mood to just soak in the atmosphere, meet up with friends, practice your new moves or escape wedding planning stess and enjoy a romantic date night, it's time to hit the town!
2004 Yuletide Ball Championships
Date: Saturday, January 1, 2005
Location: The Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, 2660 Woodley Road, NW Washington, DC
Event Details: ballroom dance competitions, performances, general dancing, awards & scholarships
Recommended Main Attraction Details: Session #5; Amateur Championships, Professional Championships, Professional Exhibition Show Dance
Attire: Business Casual or better is fine, wear comfortable shoes for dancing and standing. Seating is sometimes limited so try to arrive a little early.
Swizzle – 1930’s Big Band Supper Club, Doc Scantlin and his Imprial Palms Orchestra
Event Details: Enjoy a magical evening of dining, dancing and romancking…a glamorous supper club and show.
Date: December 16 &23, January 6, plus more dates in 2005
Reservations: 202. 397. SEAT, www.ticketmaster.com
More details: www.docscantlin.com
Location: Ronald Reagan Building, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004
An Evening in Vienna
Host: The Hospitality and Information Service of Washington
Event Details: Dance Viennese Waltz and Polkas to a live orchestra, Champaigne Reception with Austrian desserts.
Date: Sunday, December 12, 2004
Time: 6pm reception, 7pm dancing
Location: Meridian House, 1630 Crescent Place, NW, Washington
Attire: Black Tie or National Austrian Dress
RSVP: rbocekE@starpower.net, 703-528-0487
More details: www.viennesewaltz.org/meridian.html
Movie Review - "Strictly Ballroom"
This movie awakens the rebel in some of us and the dormant butterfly in others. Take a chance, pursue your dreams, create new possibilities where others don’t dare. Whether through jealousy, intimidation or lack of creativity there are those who will be subversive toward us and try to thwart our attempts at success. Sometimes, despite these risks, we have to dance to our own drummer regardless of the consequences. Strictly Ballroom is a feel-good movie about two daring souls who break new ground personally and professionally by not letting fear get the best of them.
Australian director Baz Luhrmann's, uses an array of tightly-choreographed dance sequences, vibrant costumes, and a sense of humor and wit that stays with the film through its entire energetic and exciting tale. The film’s emphasis on the theme “A life lived in fear is a life half lived.” Is a familiar one, but it feels as good as new.
Vendor Special Offers
Print this offer to recieve a FREE home appraisal (value $350) plus one complimentary private dance lesson when you use the real estate services of Brian Block to buy our sell your home!
Brian Block, RE/MAX Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Attorney
Now that you are about to merge your life with your fiance, you may be looking to sell or purchase real estate. Click the banner below to leisurely view Northern Virginia Area homes from the comfort of your home. Brian Block is a Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Attorney who is a newlywed, Co-Founder of The Wedding Dance Specialists and Assistant Instructor for Wedding Dance Practice Sessions. Present this coupon to recieve a FREE HOME APPRAISAL (value $350) plus 2 FREE private ballroom dance lessons when you use his services for purchasing your home.
Meredith Sellers, Elegant Engagements Professional Bridal Consultant
Elegant Engagements will coordinate any or all aspects of your wedding while
saving you time and energy; helping to avoid costly mistakes and eliminate the stress involved in planning your big day. You make all the decisions and we manage the planning and details. Call today to take advantage of a complimentary 'get to know you' consultation. $100 off any package of $600 or more** 703.819.5808 **
Elegant Engagements client testimonial - "Thank you again. You were great - and I am so glad we found you! You are very good at your job and I appreciate all of your efforts on our behalf. You made it all so easy for us."
Kelley and Matt, May 2003, The Arts Club of Washington