The "Premier National Experts" recommended by couples, event planners and the media!
All are welcome! we do not discriminate against anyone - even cranky pants who hate to dance! ;)
-- Ken Patterson and Brian Burson, September 14, 2013
"We had a great time and learned a great deal! We recommend The Wedding Dance Specialists to other same-sex couples andopposite-sex couples whether learning to dance for their wedding or just for the pure fun of dancing! We give them all top scores when it comes to professionalism, quality of instruction, availability and ofcourse enjoyment! Dance lessons were definitely worthwhile and we did so much better than if we had tried to "wing it." -- Ken Patterson and Brian Burson, Sept 14, 2013
Click the link below to see a clip of their first dance: 0:00 - :30
Anonymous said on Wedding Wire: Quality of Service: 5.0 Responsiveness: 5.0 Professionalism: 5.0 Value:5.0 Flexibility: 5.0
"My partner and I were married on October 18, 2014, in Washington, D.C. My partner felt strongly that we should have a “first dance,” although I will admit that I was much more reluctant because we have been together for 16 years and I am not a very good dancer (so hard for a gay man to admit!). From the first meeting with Deborah Joy, however, I realized how wrong I had been. Deborah was simply amazing both as a dance instructor and a person. She developed a choreography for our first dance song (Leona Lewis, First Time I Ever Saw Your Face) within one hearing of the song. She then met with us over a series of lessons to ensure that we understood the steps and could perform them well. We realized that we had achieved success (with quite a bit of effort) when Deborah teared up as we did our dance. Any doubt was removed when a number of people at our wedding also teared up while watching us do our dance with a number of them coming up to hug us afterwards and to tell us that we had performed the best “first dance” they had ever seen. Most importantly, the simple act of practicing our dance and working with Deborah was an enormously bonding experience for us – we had not anticipated that after 16 years together, that is, that we would feel even more in love and attached to each other because of Deborah’s magic. And magic it was!! We cannot endorse and recommend Deborah enough. She is incredibly talented and VERY fun to work with. She will give you a hard time when you need a hard time and she will give you abundant loving support when you need that too. Don’t do what I had originally planned – a boring, safe first dance where the partners sway around aimlessly. Take a deep breath and let Deborah help you choreograph something that will be deeply meaningful, not only to you as a couple, but to all who watch your dance. We cannot thank Deborah enough."
Deborah was great to work with and very professional. She had no
problem working with a gay couple, not even two women with two left
feet! We felt so much better about our first dance after working with
her for one 2-hour session, and even looked forward to it (instead of
- Quality of Service: 5.0
- Responsiveness: 5.0
- Professionalism: 5.0
- Value: 5.0
- Flexibility: 5.0
"Thanks for helping to make our first dance a big success!" -- Dave R. and Ray P. - April 25, 2015
Frank Snodgrass and Aaron Machado
Ivan Cheung and Duane Fleming, 2014
With tremendous luck we found our fairy godmother of wedding dance. We wanted to use our first dance as our first act as a legally married couple in front of our loved ones. I love to dance but my husband was only very good at the "one-hand-on-a-beer-bottle-while-both-feet-stay-attached-to-the-floor-with-slight-sway-side-to-side" kind of dance. But when we met Deborah, we knew we found our perfect teacher. She was fun, a little out-there (in the best possible way), and she made both of us super comfortable. She tailored our lessons (we did 4) to meet our needs and my husband just simply loved going to her lessons. The actual dance was perfect but the experience of us going to the lessons was awesome. Going to Deborah was almost like our little escape from all the last minute planning and running around trying to get everything done. Needless to say, our guests were floored by how our first dance turned out. My husband was beaming with pride and joy and that made me want to cry again. Seriously, we went to Deborah with the music and general dance style in mind, she made it happen. Love her.
Same Sex Dance Lessons
Whether you are preparing for your wedding, a special event or just want to brush up your moves we can help!
- The perfect compliment to private lessons.
- Invite your friends, family or bridal party to join you. Participants do not have to be planning a wedding to benefit tremendously as we strategically designed the curriculum to be universally appealing.
- No refunds for missed boot camp but a make up bootcamp or credit toward private lessons can be arranged.
- Workshop attendees who are Facebook fans may qualify for a discount on future private lessons!
- No partner switching. Dance with your partner the whole time.
- Gift certificates available!
- Footsteps & Twirls Workshops sold jointly.
- Register soon for the best rates and as space is limited to 10 couples
- Perfect for learning to dance at nightclubs, special events or weddings so spread the word to all of your friends!
- For engaged couples, we offer crinolines for dress rehearsal and encourage you to inviteplus Honors Dances in the spotlight so Invite your parents and bridal party and tell all your engaged friends about it!
- two instructors, wood floors, sunlit, 15 X 60 private room, with two large floor to ceiling mirrors
What is the process?
When you are ready to make a reservation:
1: Pick a package - private, semi private, mini group, group, Wedding Dance Bootcamp
or a combination of any. If you are not ready to schedule lessons right away but
want priority when making reservations or would like to lock in a particular
sale then we recommend prepayment. You have one year from the date of purchase
to use the lessons.
2: Check Schedule
Availability page. Start earlier rather than later, finish 2-3 weeks before
the special event or wedding and try to fit in a boot camp to reinforce your private
lessons. Add email@example.com to your address book and contacts whitelist - especially if you have a free email account like gmail.
3: Purchase and secure your reservations NOW online by click the button to
"Schedule Appointments" on the payment receipt page to set up your account and
book your reservations. OR if you are having problems and need personal assistance with scheduling or
payment arrangments email your appointment preferences using the Scheduling
4: Once you
have paid and scheduled your lessons online or with our assistance then we send
you a separate email confirmation letter for each appointments which includes
details such as: studio address, list of items to bring, dance tips, resources,
policies, etc... Check your SPAM folder if you do not get them within one hour.
5. You will have a lesson with the premiere national experts of wedding dance and go home with videotaped footage of your routine plus access to all of our resources!
6. You will dazzle your guests and exceed your own expectations, have amazing memories and photos/video to cherish
and learn a life skill you can use forever!
Dance Boot Camp Curriculum Part A (Footsteps)
Sample a variety of universal foot steps that are compatible with most music styles and tempos.
Develop your individual composure as a dancer.
Learn the fundamentals and secrets of partner dancing.
Techniques for travelling around the floor.
Overview of choreography concepts that make every dance complete with entrance, middle, finale and exit that are necessary for any dance whether casual or formal.
The perfect way to get comfortable dancing around others!
Learn versatile moves that can be used for your spotlight dance(s) and the rest of the reception.
This workshop is sure to put a twinkle in your eye, butterflies in your stomach and a skip in your step. Learn easy moves that look impressive! Learn to be a versatile dance partner with universal movements that are perfect for slow ballads or fast tempos including Ballroom, Latin, Swing, Reggae, Reggaeton, Bachata, Salsa, Hand Dancing, Latin, world beat, techno, Top 40 Party Mix, Hip Hop and rap. You will dance out positively glowing!
Sold Jointly withTwirls and held on the same day
Dance Boot Camp Curriculum Part B (Twirls)
A dance is not complete without twirls and your guests can't get enough of seeing it either! Learn how to safely transition and travel and skillfully twirl, spin, drape, cuddle and unwrap have fabulous photos, video and mesmerize and inspire your audience!!
Spice up your First Dance plus see how you can use all of your moves during the reception! Learn how to talk with your hips instead of your lips! This workshop will make you feel intoxicated and high on life!
Sold Jointly withTwirls and held on the same day
Dinner Date Night
Virginia Boot Camp
City: Alexandria, VA 22314
Day: one Saturday a month
Date: Feb -Oct 2019
Investment: $180 per couple
$90 per person / 3 hour boot camp
*See diinner date invitation to the right.
Boot Camp + Private(s) Combo Package: $10 discount on privates when purchased jointly. See packages below. Schedule privates within 1 year. Boot Camps hosted Feb - October.
Boot Camp Registration Deadline : Friday before the boot camp at 5pm
15 couple maximum : 2 instructors
Directions for Payment and Registration:
To pay online with credit card:
1) PAY: Click the BUY NOW button below. (WARNING: Do NOT click the BACK button during the process of payment and registration or you will have to resubmit data. Once payment is completed, your reciept will appear on the page. Print your receipt and bring it to the boot camp.
2) REGISTER: To the right of the receipt will be a link which says, "Complete Bootcamp Registration" which directs you to the registration form. Fill it out completely.
3)Once payment and registration is complete we will send you an email with all of the confirmation details the Thursday before the boot camp.
To pay over the phone with credit card:
1. Email us a completed CONTACT FORM specifying your request.
2. Call 703.626.7016 to provide credit card information.
There are no refunds for missed boot camps unless we cancel it. You can transfer the credit to another bootcamp or convert the credit into a private lesson and keep the bootcamp combo discount on all of the private lessons.
Event Planner Review:
"As a professional wedding planner, I have seen countless "First Dances." After my boyfriend and I participated in the Footsteps & Twirls Wedding Dance Workshops to survey the quality of service and the experience, I am fully confident in referring The Wedding Dance Specialists. Our instructor was able to help us come together as one! We didn't think that would be possible in just one workshop!. Needless to say we are DVRing "Dancing with the Stars" now,practicing our moves weekly and have finally bridged the gap that existed for us for so many years when it came dancing. I can't believe it but the TWDS workshop already changed our lives!"
- - Cristina Curcio, Owner of Cristina Maria Special Events
Event Planner Review:
"If the thought of dancing with your new wife or husband in front of all your family and friends for your first dance as a couple at your wedding reception terrifies you (like it does me!), we wanted to make sure you knew about a fabulous opportunity. The Wedding Dance Specialists is a local company based here in the DC metropolitan area that has taught thousands of couples how to dance like a pro for their wedding reception. I had the opportunity to observe one of their classes and loved watching the professionals in action, giving helpful tips like how to travel and spin safely and elegantly around the dance floor while wearing a ball gown. And what couple doesn't need a date night before the big day? Happy Planning!"
- - Julie Daniel, A Splash of Elegance
Reasons to Supplement with Private Lessons
The Dance Boot Camp is very comprehensive and intense. It recieves rave reviews from couples, event planners and the media. It is EXTREMELY helpful but we do not recommend it as a complete substitute for private lessons if you are preparing for a First Dance at your wedding. Due to the intense nature of a "spotlight dance" private attention, polish and customization is required. Therefore, we strongly recommend a minimum of one private lesson for the following reasons:
*If you are not planning on taking private lessons please get an accurate idea of your audience's perspective by videotaping your rehearsal and watching it to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses before making your final decision..
Contact us for rates and schedule of availability
Frequently Asked Questions - You can find many more FAQs on the main FAQ page of this website.
"How much experience do you have working with same sex couples?"
We have been supporting the same sex wedding industry since it began in DC over 16 years ago with tradeshows, group lessons and private lessons. We have worked with many same sex couples when the majority of dance studios in the DC metro area who for many decades typically did not actively seek out or in some cases did not permit same sex dancing in their studios. We have trailblazed the trend for welcoming EVERYONE to the dance studio culture.
" How do we get past the gender identity perception issues? Aren't there clearly identified "man vs woman" roles?"
Your concerns are valid and we have heard them before. The choreography can be designed around your comfort level and taste. Partner dancing is not really about man vs woman but more about leader vs follower. General ambivalence about dancing is normal for men unless they've grown up with it as part of their culturre gardless of sexual orientation. Everyone deserves the chance to dance and romance and the fabulous aspect of same sex dancing is that it allows for a lot more creativity when it comes to interpretation of the roles! Your dance will inspire and educate others about the beauty of dance being more about dynamic energy between two spirits not culturally defined gender roles. Partner dancing has a very strong historical background of same sex dancing regardless of actual sexual orientation. Once you have dipped your toes in the water you will more inclined to make a splash! You have invited guests who love you and want to celebrate your happiness. Your wedding should be free of judgment – especially your own. The moves, choreography, roles will be determined based on your comfort level and goals. Pick a song that you both love and will enjoy hearing forever a your anniversary song as that will help you get in the groove…Dancing is universal and a primal expression of joy and our interconnectedness to humanity. Human beings are social creatures thus dancing is a natural extension. Belowis a fabulous example of a couple who decided to take turns with the traditional roles of lead and follow but unless you are taking a lot of lessons and have the extra time, many prefer not to switch once they get comfortable learning their parts.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eomGV4buJzM at 1:00 they switch roles and at 1:58 they switch back
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJf9B6JPNRw - look and listen to the pure joy of the audience reaction
"Do we really need dance lessons? Our First Dance is a simple slow love song , we plan to cut it short, we naturally have good rhythm anyway and have taken a few lessons in the past. "
Definitely. Nobody should be all dressed up with no place to go on their own ballroom dance floor in the spotlight - especially when thousands of dollars have been invested in capturing the moment with photos and video. Swaying or standing in one spot is NOT dancing. If you turn the music off it is just standing and rocking whereas with a more visually dynamic dance you can turn the music off and it will still be intriguing and interesting to watch and photograph. Slow dances are equally challenging as fast dances if you want to make them look interesting. Even if you have some ballroom/latin or swing dance background that does not mean you have everything you need to make your public debut. Your public image is on the line and it requires some personal attention and fine tuning from a professional to put your best foot forward. there is so much more to dancing in the spotlight than just a few moves. Our specialty is that we do not require rigid "ballroom dance" category limitations, we encourage couples to explore what will be uniquely comfortable for their personality and can even create a hybrid that is easy, fun and provides terrific photo ops. Regardless of the length of your song, it still requires preparation as it is still a performance not a social dance. You dont have to decide the actual length of your song until the day before your wedding but realistically 99% of our couples feel empowered enough to complete the majority or whole thing on the wedding day. Even if you have a dance background that is not the same as formal training.
Your First Dance is to your reception what the vows are to your ceremony - sacred rituals that only you and your spouse can complete. One demonstrates your unity in a verbal way and the other seals the deal through action. Whether you want to just survive the spotlight and so something very simple and natural and have some nice photos or whether you want an amazing production still requires some preparation. The only alternative is the "high school prom sway" which is awkward for you and your guests to watch. If you still don't think lessons are necessary, try playing your special song for the entire length, video tape yourselves dancing together using any moves you have in your arsenal currently then watch the ENTIRE video from your audience's perspective. Think you can just cut the song down to a shorter length? A typical song is 3:45 so try cutting it down to 2 minutes and try the exercise again. If you watch both videos and still find them enjoyable and think your guests will too.
"Where can I see examples of same sex partner dancing in the mainstream?"
Same sex dancing is prevalent in the mainstream ballroom arena. In fact, it is part of the Blackpool, England Competitions which is the most elite ballroom competition in the world and it has been featured on tv shows like Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, etc….
There are also countless examples of same sex and opposite sex wedding dances but many of them do not look natural and relaxed and certainly not sensual. This is the fault of the choreographer not the couple. Most routines look quite contrived, required a lot of memorization, involve a lot of solo dancing instead of partner dancing or are just corny and showy. Whether you are looking for something mellow and romantic, silly and fun or elaborate and elegant we have the most experience delivering the most sentimental dance of your lives! The complexity of a routine is based on how much time and energy you are willing to invest.
"Are there historical examples of same sex dancing?"
Yes. Did you know that argentine tango has a very strong historical background with male/male dance partners? Check out this exquisite choreography. Unfortunately the footage has poor lighting in one of them but the silhouettes add to its mystique!
EXQUISITE TANGO - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6-6kN79oIA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eomGV4buJzM at 1:00 they switch roles and at 1:58 they switch back
Same sex ballroom, country, latin dancing has been going on forever and there are competions all around the world that host it. There are various styles from elegant to athletic. Below is some fabulous choreography and partnerships.
Here is a detailed historical overview of same sex dancing. For modesty reasons many religions have encouraged same sex dancing instead of mixed gender dancing.- http://lcfd.org/GF%20Historical%20Manual.pdf
"We are nervous about being in the spotlight during our First Dance."
This is a reasonable concern as everyone typically feels nervous dancing and many same sex couples feel vulnerable displaying their affections in the spotlight. Whether your dance is sensual or silly, you will be the final judge on what ultimately gets presented. However, once you are empowered and see yourselves objectively on video before your public debut, nerves and insecurities shouldn't be an issue anymore. That is why you get prepared ahead of time, so you can sparkle in the spotlight with confidence and sophistication rather than being all dressed up with no place to go thus resorting to the "prom sway" instead.
The only thing that makes any spotlight performance easier and more comfortable is picking the best dance studio and investing time into practicing. We are the national experts of wedding dance so you are in good hands. There are a lot of fun and easy moves and depending on the dynamics of your relationship and your comfort level will determine the direction your instructor takes the class, the moves and the roles.
How many lessons do we need?
This is of course a universal question for everyone but the answer is unique to everyone's situation. The short answer is Ithe ideal situation is to take more lessons rather than fewer since the first dance is your grand debut to kick off the whole reception and represents your public image as a couple. Sentimentally, it The First Dance is to the reception what the vows are to the ceremony. As a sweeping generalization 2--5 is beginner, 6-10 is intermediate and 11-15+ is advanced but the amount of hours you practice outside of class, your team work, level of focus and clarity of vision at the beginning and throughout the process also drastically affects the outcome. Since we ARE the Fairy God Mothers of Wedding Dance we do guarantee a complete routine in one visit (2 hours back to back) for those coming to us a week before their wedding in a panic but this still requires outside home practice to feel comfortable. This situation is not ideal nor recommended if avoidable.
About the Instructors
Deborah Joy Block has been teaching the public for any occassion how to dance for 17 years while working for other studios and then running Dance Dynamix and Back to Basics Youth Program. In 2000 Deborah and Brian Block founded the first wedding dance company in the nation called "The Wedding Dance Specialists" while engaged and preparing their own “First Dance.” Year after year, The Wedding Dance Specialists remains the most recommended wedding dance company according to engaged couples, wedding vendors and the media. Appearing repeatedly on Oprah Winfrey’s Oxygen Network, The Wedding Dance Specialists and their students starred on an episode of “Real Weddings by the Knot”, the nation’s first wedding reality show. In addition to attracting celebrity clientele, The Wedding Dance Specialists inspired an entire niche industry that has expanded worldwide! You can trust the premier national experts to help you sparkle in the spotlight!
"The Wedding Dance Specialists took us from having no dance skills to being able to dance at our wedding. We highly recommend them. Our First Dance was a huge hit! Robert did the lift wonderfully and the dip was great too! We also did a lot of fun, fast dancing during the reception. Everyone was so surprised because we are usually pretty reserved and rarely dance; thus it was that much sweeter! Thanks for your help we appreciate it!"
— Olympic Gold Medalist, Kerri Strug and Robert Fischer