The Wedding Dance Specialists The Wedding Dance Specialists

The #1 Most Recommended Wedding Dance Company in the Nation!
" We turned our dance lessons into a dinner and dancing date! It became a welcomed weekly escape from our hectic wedding planning." Cindy Rich, Newlywed and Senior Writer for Washingtonian Magazine "


Brides and Weddings Blog

Are you in "Dance Denial"?
FRI APRIL 4 2014

Are you in "dance denial"? That's what Deborah Joy Block, owner of The Wedding Dance Specialists, calls couples who don't think about their moment in the spotlight on their wedding day - until they realize that without some preparation, they'll be all dressed up with no place to go when all eyes are on them on the dance floor. Do you really want to do the "prom sway"? Deborah Joy has some compelling reasons for making dance lessons part of your wedding planning.

"The spotlight dances are the most sacred rituals of the reception," says Deborah Joy. "You express and experience your unity as a couple - and you'll impress your guests." These moments on the dance floor will also provide great photo and video opportunities. And - at least on the dance floor, say Deborah Joy, "The man is always the boss. You'll be her Prince Charming. And dance lessons will help you avoid                  
embarrassment - and her feet!"

Dance lessons make a great date night. And burning off some steam on the dance floor helps relieve the stress that inevitably comes with wedding planning. Dancing is a useful and fun skill, says Deborah Joy. And it gives you bonus points in the romance department as well.

Deborah Joy and her husband Brian Block founded The Wedding Dance Specialists in 2000 when they were preparing for their own first dance as newlyweds. She is considered a national expert on the wedding dance industry. She has combined an extensive compilation of First Dance Song Suggestions, complete with dance styles and audio links on her website. Her company offers "Wedding Dance Boot Camps" as well as private lessons. To learn more about The Wedding Dance Specialists, call 703.626.7016 or email

Let's Talk Live TV News Channel 8/ABC , March 10, 2014

Washington Jewish Week - September 26, 2013

Brides and Weddings of Northern Virginia Magazine

Shall We Dance?

You've made a big investment in many aspects of the wedding day that will only last one day. Learning to dance is a small investment that will create lifetime memories, an actual skill you can use at future special occasions. Dance lessons are the most fun and romantic time a couple can have during the wedding planning process!

Many couples are realizing the importance of expressing their unity while growing closer through this unique learning experience. They are seizing the opportunity to shine on the dance floor while personalizing their celebration through their own creative expression. For these insightful couples, the First Dance is often the highlight of the reception, and often the most vivid wedding memory guests take home with them since actions speak louder than words.

There are lots of aspects of the wedding that can be outsourced — the cake, the food, the décor, the event planning. But there are two vital components that only the bride and groom can execute in order for a wedding to be authentic — the vows and the First Dance.

The public and legally binding vows verbally profess the couple's intentions to be supportive and loyal to each other. The First Dance is a marital act that physically proves a couple's ability to be supportive of one another. By exercising teamwork and patience during private rehearsals and ultimately for public display, the couple moves as one on the dance floor and a promise is sealed and delivered.

By Deborah Joy Block
Deborah Joy Block is the owner of The Wedding Dance Specialists, a dance studio devoted to teaching engaged couples the art of that First Dance. To learn more the studio and dance lesson packages, visit


PWG: Perfect Wedding Guide 2012 - 12 Month Wedding Prize Giveaway

A panel of brides selected the following top area professionals as the prizes they'd most like to win:

12 Months! 12 Giveaways!All Seasons Floral Preservation
Ever After Visuals
Faye Daniel Designs
Fingers in Ink
InMotion Video
Jill Andrews Gowns
Larmar Video
Lux Photography
Maverick Productions
Positive Images by Rettberg
Superlative Events
THE Wedding Dance Specialists



Washingtonian Bridal Blog: Real Weddings 2012

reprinted in part from -

Washington Real Weddings: Chelsea Causey and Nick Sparaco
Written by: Kim Forrest
Photography by: Genevieve Leiper Photography

Reston couple Chelsea and Nick share a very important trait: a total sweet tooth. They bonded over their love of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, so when it came time for Nick to propose, he found a way to incorporate Chelsea’s favorite treat. While on a trip to the Outer Banks, the pair went to the beach at sunset. “After a few minutes, Nick reached into his bag and pulled out a pint of Ben & Jerry’s,” recalls Chelsea. “I thought nothing of it, because I eat ice cream almost every day. But once he knelt down, I noticed that this was not my usual banana split flavor. It was one I had never seen before—the container said: ‘Will You Marry Me?’” Inside the ice cream container was a ring. Nick and Chelsea planned a September 24, 2011, wedding, with the ceremony at the Aquia Episcopal Church and the reception at the bride’s family’s vineyard, the Potomac Point Winery in Stafford. The theme of the day was “wine, love, and ice cream.”

...The couple performed their first dance to “Crazy Love” by Michael Bublé. Afterward, guests danced to a variety of tunes. The night ended with a traditional Polish bridal dance. Another highlight of the day: grape stomping!

Genevieve Leiper Photography
Videographer: Thomas Bowen Films
Ceremony Venue: Aquia Episcopal Church
Reception Venue: Potomac Point Winery
Gown: Alvina Valenta, purchased at Katherine’s Bridal Boutique in Alexandria
Hair: Frizzles Salon & Spa in Springfield
Makeup: Carl Ray
Bridesmaid Dresses: Cynthia Rowley, purchased at the Bridal Closet in Vienna
Invitation Designer: Fingers in Ink
Floral Designer: Holly Heider Chapple Flowers
Cake: Sweet Creations Cakes
Caterer: Le Grand Cru Catering (in-house at Potomac Point Winery)
Wedding Music: Chris Laich
Dance Lessons: The Wedding Dance Specialists

Local Trends Expert Tips: Perfect Wedding Guide

If you plan to have dancing as a big part of your event, you need to make the facility can accommodate your plan…not the other way around. People come before things. Make sure there is a smooth surface available whether linoleum, marble or wood. If you have to rent a floor for an extra $500 then definitely bring one in. It is not worth your guests injuring themselves, embarrassing themselves or damaging their shoes trying to dance on inappropriate and dangerous surfaces like uneven brick or stone, grass, tiles, or concrete. Remember, you are going to have people of all ages who are frail or vulnerable (elderly and children plus plenty of unsteady drinkers) dancing for hours.

What’s the personality style of DC brides?
D.C. can be a pretty serious and fast paced town with a lot of brainiacs who spend a lot of time in their heads but not as much time letting down their hair down and celebrating. A stressful wedding planning process can exacerbate that tension. Here are some tips for loosening up your body and your mind (the hardest part is walking through the door, have faith in your ability to learn something new, spend one lesson on fast dancing just for fun, allow yourself enough time for lessons so it’s not a panic situation, let the teacher be the teacher, flirt with each other, practice Latin and Bellydance muscle isolations to feel sexier, find the humor in mistakes, have a drink and a massage before you arrive at the studio! ;)

How to move gracefully between cultures, if the wedding is mixed culture
Let’s face it…dancing is floorplay! So navigating the desire to be affectionate during your intimate First Dance versus your family’s conservative cultural standards can be tricky. Here’s how to find the loopholes….(kiss the forehead, kiss the hand, make intense eye contact and wink flirtatiously, use dips and lunges, lifts, move your hips, roll your shoulders, stroke the hair or face, drape the head, expressive arm styling). These techniques should have Grandma blushing and applauding all at the same time!

How to adapt the 'latest dance trend' to DC sensibilities (whatever that may be)
Since YK Wedding Entrance Dance went viral , some may want to spice up the bridal party entrance but tone down the presentation to make it more elegant. Try using partner dancing moves down the aisle for each couple to symbolize unity and have the flower girls throwing confetti or blowing bubbles instead of tossing rose petals.

--Deborah Joy Block is the founder of the D.C. based company, The Wedding Dance Specialist, the first wedding dance company in the nation.

Celebrity DJ Company "Scratch Weddings" Interviews The Wedding Dance Specialists

Yeah We Think We Can Dance - by Dave Armon of Scratch Weddings (Image courtesy of FOX) Thursday, June 13, 2011

When it comes to the first dance that couples share with one another on their wedding night, the Waltz immediately comes to mind for bridal purists. But two popular TV shows have stoked interest in far more challenging dance floor moves.
ABC’s Dancing With the Stars and FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance?, have led to far more lofty aspirations among couples planning to demonstrate their fancy footwork. The result: a booming business for professional dance instructors who specialize in weddings.

Deborah Joy Block, an industry pioneer whose team trains close to 1,000 engaged couples annually, credits the dancing reality shows for convincing couples that an investment of time and energy can make a wedding reception more memorable. Although The Wedding Dance Specialists’ claim to fame is working a miracle in ONE lesson by providing a basic but complete routine, she cautions against procrastinating.

“Realistically, a lot of couples tend to delay taking lesson until a month or two before the wedding day. And they don’t leave themselves enough time or budget to allow for an elaborate routine and a lot of lessons,” said Block, who operates multiple The Wedding Dance Specialists studios in the Washington, D.C., area.

The musical preferences among couples learning dance from The Wedding Dance Specialists match up closely with Scratch Weddings clients. A recent review of first dance song selections reveals 70% opt for slow songs – mainly Top 40 slow love ballads. Examples range from At Last by Etta James to Sade’s By Your Side, to You Are The Best Thing by Ray Lamontagne.

For the 30% of couples who want their music – and their feet – to move a bit faster, we’ve seen plenty of merengue, salsa and swing, along with memorable rock tracks like Modern English’s Melt With You, and The Zombies’ This Will Be Our Year.

For those who just want to survive their moment in the spotlight regardless of the song’s tempo, the experts offer these words of reassurance.

“If you have a really good instructor who understands the unique needs of engaged couples, you should be able to look natural, elegant and relaxed in a very short period of time anGrammy Winner Jam Master Jay founded Scratch DJ Academyd still impress everybody even without an elaborate routine,” Block said, adding, “If a studio tells you need 10 lessons when your goal is just to avoid the ‘high school prom sway’– that’s excessive.”

One real-life example of how a working with a professional can make a novice into a respectable dancer involves Los Angeles Times business reporter Dawn Chmielewski, who prepared in just two weeks for a one-time guest appearance on Dancing With The Stars in 2009. She wrote a page one column about the experience
Granted Chmielewski’s partner was professional dancer Jonathan Roberts, not a groom with two left feet. To compensate for that, we’d recommend an extra week of lessons.

Added by TWDS:

Celebrity DJ company and training academy Scratch Weddings was founded by Grammy Winner Jam Master Jay of Run DMC, trains thousands of DJs nationally and internationally, won numerous wedding industry awards, executed events for top national corporate brands, Their DJ training software Scratch DJ Academy MIX software is sold at Best Buy. The original post of this article can be found on the Scratch Weddings Blog at

Here are a few Scratch Weddings DJ's DC bios. They include high-res photos, video interviews and demos, and mixes:

DJ As-One

DJ Bounce

DJ Premonition

Junebug Weddings Blog













Baltimore Sun
- June 2, 2011 By Jennifer Broadwater (reprinted in part)
Ballroom Fever
Newlyweds make the most of their dance floor debut

... Ryan and Cristin McMichael, of Ellicott City, performed a rumba to Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” at their May 1, 2010, reception at Turf Valley Resort.

“Neither of us are very good dancers, and we wanted our first dance as a married couple to be something memorable,” says Ryan. “It was a great feeling. We can watch it over and over since it is on video.”

Special dance elements can add not only a romantic touch, but also can set a fun-loving tone to break the ice on the dance floor.

At Marianne and Michael Hussle’s reception, the plan is to involve a dozen members of Michael’s family in — what else? — the hustle.

Bri and Matt decided to take lessons to add an “element of surprise” to their wedding. Since their friends and family would expect something zany from this pair, they chose to do something decidedly traditional.
And after their time in the spotlight, Bri and Matt will lighten the mood by inviting the wedding party to join them on the dance floor for a simple line dance to Zac Brown Band’s “Chicken Fried.”

Redman calls dance lessons “a real trust exercise” for couples.

“We teach them how to hear the music and how to lead,” she says. “When all that’s going on, you’re going to be nervous. You have to just step out of yourselves and forget about everyone else.”


• Whether you prefer 3-inch stilettos, ballet slippers or Chuck Taylors, wear your wedding day shoes to all lessons.
• Grooms should consider practicing in a suit jacket, while the bride should consider the n and length of her veil.
• Practice at home. This helps develop muscle memory.
• Schedule several lessons. The more lessons, the more intricate your dance can be.
• Dance TV shows can be misleading. Few people can master an elaborately choregraphed dance in a short period of time.


The Wedding Dance Specialists

Perfect Wedding Guide - Washington DC Winter/Spring 2011 Issue

Ask the Experts - Your Guide to Planning Your Dream Washington DC Wedding

Want to know the lates styles and trends for planning your perfect wedding? Then look no further than to the experts right in your back yard. Here, eight Washington, DC wedding prose share with us the secrets to the success of your event!

Topic: First Dance
Expert: Deborah Joy Block
The Wedding Dance Specialists

Question: Washington can have very conservative mores. How can couples enjoy more private intimacy when they're expected to conform?
Answer: Navigating the desire to be affectionate during your intimate firt dance versus your families' conservative cultrual standards can be challenging. There are ways to express your affection dipomatically and creatively. Why not kiss the forehead or the hand, make intense eye contact, roll your head, shoulders or hips sensually and wink flirtatiously? Warning...these "loopholes" may get you a standing ovation for making Grandma blush and smile all at the same time!

Thousands of professionally produced how-to videos spanning 169 categories. The Wedding Dance Specialists were the exclusive contributors to the Wedding Dance Category representing the industry nationwide.

The Knot 2011 Spring/Summer Issue "Real Weddings" Feature

The Bride Alexandra (Alex) Spear
The Groom Matthew (Matt) Peurach
Wedding Date May 15







The Knot "Best of Weddings Award"

The Wedding Dance Specialists, LLC was awarded the Brides Choice Award and Editors Choice Award for The Knot Best of Weddings 2011 The award provides a “by brides, for brides” guide to the top wedding professionals across the country, and is a must-have when it comes to selecting the best-of-the-best wedding resources.The Knot Inc. is the nation's leading wedding resource, reaching well over a million engaged couples each year through the #1 wedding website. The Company also owns, the most visited wedding gift registry website.

The Knot Wedding Network is composed of the top two wedding websites, and, today announces real brides' picks for Best of Weddings ( ) The Knot Unveils 2012 Best of Weddings Winners -- Survey of More Than 1.8 Million Bridal Members Reveals Top-Rated Wedding Vendors in 81 US Cities --

"For the past six years, and have been the definitive resource for our brides, providing them with unparalleled vendor recommendations directly from the tried-and-true experiences of other brides," said Carley Roney, cofounder and editor in chief of "Coming from the largest online community of brides, the quality and quantity of these community-validated reviews of more than 159,000 vendors across the country are incomparable and are truly the ultimate way to receive detailed information on the absolute best wedding professionals in your area."

The Knot Wedding Network captured detailed feedback from more than 1.8 million bridal members through Reviews in 29 different categories of wedding businesses, from DJs to planners, videographers to limo companies and more. Approximately 6,800 local vendors received this prestigious award, representing the top 4 percent of local vendors on The Knot Wedding Network.







The Knot Blog - published April 2011 "Personalizing your First Dance"

More and more couples are customizing their first dance with help from professional dance instructors and choreographers. Deborah Joy and Brian Block realized the need for a wedding-focused dance company in the DC area, so in 2000 they started The Wedding Dance Specialists. More than a decade later, they have several locations in Virginia and Maryland, with another expected to open soon in Washington, DC.

They offer a variety of services like a wedding dance timeline, song selection assistance, crinoline dress rehearsal and an evaluation video and dance instruction for the parents and bridal party. "We recognize that the couples are under a lot of pressure to look elegant and feel confident in the spotlight in a very short period of time," says Joy. "A video to save money is no substitute. Therefore, in addition to our Wedding Dance Group Workshops we introduced the nation's first one private lesson guarantee, plus provide longer lessons than the industry standard."

A challenge for most brides is convincing the groom, but in Joy's experience, the guys eventually loosen up and start to have fun. "Most people fear the unknown. Once the grooms are empowered as leaders on the dance floor, they generally flourish. They come to realize that many aspects of the wedding day investment will only last one day, but learning to dance is an actual skill for creating a lifetime of memories."

The Wedding Dance Specialists teach lessons in traditional ballroom and Latin dance styles including Waltz, Fox Trot, Tango, Rumba, Salsa, Cha Cha, Swing and Polka, plus their own Slow Dance hybrid know as the Foxy.

Posted by Knot Carrie
Filed under: Music+Entertainmen

Posted Friday, April 22, 2011 9:17 AM







Washingtonian Online Bridal Blog

Wedding Wire Bride's Choice Award- 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012







The WeddingWire Bride's Choice Awards ™ recognizes the top local wedding professionals from the WeddingWire Network that demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness, and professionalism. Unlike other awards in which winners are selected by the organization, the Bride's Choice Awards are determined by recent reviews and extensive surveys from over 750,000 newlyweds. This year's winners represent the top five percent of WeddingWire's vendor community, which consists of over 100,000 local wedding professionals nationwide.

We are happy to announce that The Wedding Dance Specialists is one of the very best Wedding Dance Instruction companies within the entire WeddingWire Network, which includes leading wedding planning sites WeddingWire, Project Wedding,, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Weddingbee. We would like to thank our past clients for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. Thanks to their positive feedback we were able to receive the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards™ for 2012!

Get Married TV's Bridal Blog

April 6, 2010 blog entry by Amy Chung


A He Said/She Said Series and a blow by blow account of all of their wedding dance lessons with The Wedding Dance Specialists.

Here is an exerpt of their last lesson account. For the full story check out their blog!

Our final dance lesson proved difficult at first… but mostly b/c i was so tired and had spent the day earlier at the Weddzilla Flash Mob and the day before preparing for it… But within minutes, Deborah’s contagiously fun personality infused a new sense of energy and I was ready to rock and roll… LOL

One of the most helpful things that FH and I did for our last and final Wedding Dance lesson was practicing the week before. In all honesty, the time we spent alone discussing our ideas about the dance lesson, figuring out the best way to communicate silently on the dance floor and when and where certain things are or are not effective – really got us on the same page for our last lesson. The extra time we put in gave us a familiarity that partners need when dancing to feel and sense each other’s movements without actually touching aside from the proper positioning of hands/arms/etc…

So this last lesson was our finalization… incorporating our final last touches and trying to smooth out any glitches. We ran through it and I even wore the crinoline to help us get the feeling of dancing with a big poof ball in the way… and YES we did get pics of this… check it out!

This is how we are to bow to our audience…



The Knot Spring/Summer 2010 DC Issue

Northern Virginia Magazine Online - March 2010

Proposal of the Month:
March 2010
The Couple:
Amanda Millward and Andrew Lander
Engagement Date:
September 8, 2007
Wedding Date:
August 30, 2008

The Proposal (According to Amanda): “Andrew and I were about to celebrate our 2.5-year anniversary in September 2007. He had just gotten home from his part-time job, and we were sitting on the couch pretending to watch a movie. I was wrapped in his arms and I was telling him about the book “Shopaholic and Baby” by Sophie Kinsella I had just finished. He asked me if I wanted a baby and I had said ‘Well, I want to get married first.’ Andrew was silent after I made this remark. I asked him what was wrong, and he told me that he wanted to propose to me for the longest time, but he didn’t because he said he couldn’t do it properly. I asked him what that meant, and he told me he wanted to buy me an engagement ring, but he couldn’t afford one. I looked at him and said that I didn’t need an engagement ring. All he had to do was ask me. Andrew pondered over this and then yelled out ‘Do you mean to tell me that if I asked you right now, on this couch, without an engagement ring or doing anything fancy that you would say yes?’ I told him to ask me. He became very sincere and said in a soft voice, ‘Amanda, will you marry me?’ Of course I had to tease him. I said ‘Oh, gee, this is quite sudden. I don’t know.’ Then I turned to him and said ‘yes.’

Vendor Recommendations:
Dance Lessons: The Wedding Dance Specialists
Make up: Robin Sailer of Vienna, VA, a Mary Kay Director

MIX 107.3 FM $50,000 Wedding Giveaway!

MIX 107.3 is giving away a complete wedding valued at over $50,000! Couples can enter below by submitting a photo and briefly telling us why they should win the MIX 107.3 Wedding in a Week contest. Enter by January 21, 2010 and be creative! On January 22nd, we’ll announce the top 5 couples, as chosen by our panel of judges. Our listeners will then be able to vote on line for their favorite couple. The winning couple will be announced on January 29th and their wedding will take place one week later!

The wedding party and select guests will stay at The Aloft Hotel and National Harbor and on the morning of February 5th, they’ll be married in The Sunset Room at National Harbor! A fabulous brunch reception for 100 will be catered by Avalon Catering. The lucky couple will receive amazing wedding bands from Charleston Alexander Diamond Importers. Their "First Dance" will be compliments of The Wedding Dance Specialists and they will spend their honeymoon at The Homestead, Virginia’s premiere mountain resort.


Gifts For Mom by Lesli Foster Friday, May 8, 2009

There's still time to get ready for Mom's special day. If you're wrestling with that just-right gift, we've got some ideas. For help, we turned to Shelby Tuck-Horton with Exquisite Expressions and Events. Give the Mom who has everything, something evergreen.

Plant a tree in Mom's name with help from the Arbor Day Foundation. You'll reduce your carbon footprint and spend just $10 for a gift that will last a lifetime. All Mom's could use a little pampering. But, the gift of an at home spa treatment could offer just he right touch. The Wright Touch Traveling Spa comes to you for $79 and up.

If your Mom likes to get her groove on, or could use a little help, pick up some dancing shoes and lessons. The Wedding Dance Specialists will help her bust a move at home or on the dance floor.

What Mom doesn't like to capture memories of her family. A digital camera will keep her ready for whatever happens. Check out Penn Camera for options that start at $130.

Every Mom could use a night off from dinner duty. But the chefs with Tailored Taste will take her order and do the shopping to boot! Prices start at $300 plus the cost of groceries.

And, if Mom loves to curl up with a good e-book, the Kindle 2 will give her plenty to choose from.

With these options, now you can think beyond the bouquet!

Article can be found online at:

Why Learn to Dance?
By Deborah Joy, Founder of The Wedding Dance Specialists – serving MD, DC & VA
You’ve made a big investment in many aspects of the wedding day that will only last one day. Learning to dance is a small investment in your relationship creating lifetime memories -- an actual skill useful at future special occasions. Dance lessons are the most fun and romantic time a couple can have during the wedding planning process!
Many couples are realizing the importance of expressing their unity and growing closer through this unique learning experience. They are seizing the opportunity to shine on the dance floor while personalizing their celebration through their own creative expression. For these insightful couples, the First Dance is often the highlight of the reception, and the most vivid wedding memory guests take home with them since actions speak louder than words.
There are lots of aspects of the wedding that can be outsourced - - the bakery, the caterer, the florist, the event planner. There are two vital components that only the couple themselves can execute in order for a wedding to be valid and authentic - - their vows and their First Dance. The public and legally binding vows verbally profess the couple’s intentions to be supportive and loyal to each other.  The First Dance is the first marital act that physically proves a couple’s ability to be supportive of one another.  By exercising teamwork and patience during private rehearsals and ultimately for public display, the couple “moves as one” on the dance floor and a promise is sealed and delivered.

Featured on Martha Stewart Weddings Online

Big dreams vs. economy - Visitors to bridal expo react to tough times in different ways
By Arin Gencer | Sun Reporter
reprinted in part

Tennille Stokes started planning more than a year ahead of her wedding so that she wouldn't have to draw from her savings. She's nixed a limo, planned the ceremony and reception in one location and reduced her guest list from 250 to 100 - and even contemplated a smaller ceremony with only a dozen people at one point.Some of the brides, like Stokes, remained firmly rooted in economic reality... They were already looking to life after the wedding - looming house payments and other necessities that would be placing demands on their bank accounts...

...But for others, tough times have done little to dim their radiant plans."Weddings are a vibrant industry whenever," said Marc McIntosh, the show's producer, who organized the event at the hotel. Weddings being planned now often have been budgeted for a year or two, unaffected by recent economic developments, he added. Still, McIntosh said, there might be some cost-cutting in light of the economy's current state: opting for a $20 entree instead of one for $22, or spending 90 percent of what one would normally have budgeted. He recalled one reception venue saying more people were booking on Fridays and Sundays, instead of the popular Saturday.

"(Some aspects of) wedding planning are economy-proof - brides are going to spend the money (for sentimental items or priceless memories)," said Deborah Joy Block, who runs Wedding Dance Specialists with her husband, Brian. "They want to remember their wedding as a great day."

..."We have to live after May 2," said Wilson, referring to her wedding date. So she and her entourage were scoping out ways to do certain things, such as favors, themselves - at a lower price.Yet as the Wilson sisters and friends Tonya Blue and Keshawn Golson studied the elaborate, multicolored rose arrangements from florist Ann's Garden, they seemed to agree that this would have to be an exception. "We'll have to splurge for this one," Crystal Wilson said...

...Nicki Gonzalez, a vocalist with Elan Artists, which provides live music, said she has noticed people are not "indulging in the extravagance" as much."Music ends up being one of those things where, if they can downsize to a DJ, they will," Gonzalez said. Downsizing has been a factor in the kitchen, too, with more orders of cakes for shorter guest lists, or bakers offering to make a smaller version of a multi-tiered showpiece, along with a less expensive sheet cake on the side, to accommodate larger weddings.

...Some people are simply planning much further in advance, so costs don't overwhelm them, said Christopher J. Sikora, general manager of Sweet, an Ellicott City-based bakery and cafe."Most of these brides planned their weddings even before they met the groom," said Sikora, as one prospective customer after another snatched samples of almond, chocolate-chip and vanilla cake at his booth. "They're not going to be willing to compromise on a lot." The price tag did not seem to be an immediate concern for Tara Lacidonia, 21, who is planning an April wedding. "My dad said there's no budget," she said - although, her mother added, that might change once he starts seeing the bills. Still, Lacidonia said, if she sees something she likes, she'll go for it. After all, it is her wedding day.

The Hill - " Girls' night out of the ordinary" by Andrea L. Alford, 02/06/08

Planning a bachelorette party can be a stressful event. Trying to please and entertain a group of people is always a difficult task, but don’t fret. Here are some fun and alternative ideas for the bride-to-be and her guests for the second most important day of her life.

Kelly Magyarics Wine Consulting caters to women looking to do something both fun and unique before their pending nuptials. Kelly Magyarics, a wine educator and writer, offers a variety of interactive reception-style wine tastings aimed at satisfying everyone from the casual wine drinker to the amateur expert...

...Chariots for Hire: “Your Party on Wheels” provides functionality to the bachelorette party experience. No longer do you have to worry about getting to and from party events because Chariots for Hire will pick you up, where ever, from start to finish...

The Wedding Dance Specialists. If the bride-to-be wants to dance, the Wedding Dance Specialists are the answer. The mini-group and customized in-studio dance lessons offered by the specialists are tailored around the music of your choice and or the theme of the bachelorette party. If you bring the people, they will provide the dance floor, music equipment and a dance teacher.

“We customize toward what their goals are, so we set the schedule to what is convenient for them,” said Deborah Joy, Manager of The Wedding Dance Specialists. “We create the length of the lesson according to how long they want the lesson to be and how much material they want to learn.” In addition, Joy says that the bridal party, at specific locations, can have a small reception to open gifts prior to or after the lesson.

The Wedding Dance Specialists have 13 locations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, with a 14th location opening soon in the Capitol Hill area. Website: 703-626-7016

Virginia Lifestyles Magazine - "The Romance of Dance" by Kelly Starck, January 2007

WPGC 95.5FM Radio - Donnie Simpson's $125,000 Wedding Giveaway! - December 2006


It’s Donnie’s Morning Wish! During the holiday months,
The Donnie Simpson Morning Show on WPGC 95.5 FM spread
holiday cheer by granting wishes to its listeners. On Friday, December 8, 2006 the show gave away the biggest gift in the history of the show, a wedding giveaway valued over $125,000!
Read the letter sent from Duane Harper to Donnie Simpson's Morning Wish.

Gotta dance, just gotta
By Abigail Tucker Sun Reporter
copied in part from August 6, 2006 in the Arts/Life Section

The left-footed crowd needs help for weddings, so businesses now exist to teach short-term dancing By Abigail Tucker Sun Reporter Originally published August 6, 2006 The trouble is the dip. Not the raspberry yogurt dip to complement the assorted melon slices; the wedding caterers have that under control. It's the dancing dip, where 25-year-old Michelle Rabovsky is slated to recline, resplendent, in her new husband's arms, as 100 guests wildly applaud.

And yet, at a fox trot lesson three weeks before the big day, the dip remains a low point for the couple, neither of whom has really danced before. The groom, Jonathan Keck, 24, is supposed to signal its approach by gently squeezing below her shoulder blade, or murmuring in her ear. Instead, he barks, "Diiiiiiiip!" as though calling in an airstrike. This alarms Michelle so much that she barely bends backward, her spine as stiff as a shower rod.

"The good news" - a calm, reasonable, Ukrainian-accented voice interrupts - "is that it's not a long song."

This is Valery, the couple's dance instructor. She works for the Wedding Dance Specialists, one of a new breed of businesses specializing in the growing market for prenuptial ballroom lessons, often for total beginners who just want to squeak through the first dance without shattering each other's toe bones. This is peak season for the classes, when the most organized couples rehearse for autumn ceremonies, and procrastinators cram for the glut of summer ones. All want to spare their grandmothers the sight of the nightclub-style grinding and bear-hug swaying that passes for dancing these days. A few, inspired by the recent run of television dance contests, even want to put on a show.

The Wedding Dance Specialists - which is based in Virginia but steadily expanding up the coast, renting space in dance studios - just opened a Baltimore location; there are others in Jessup and Columbia, and the one in Towson opened last year. That's where Valery, 26, is working this Wednesday night in July, teaching the rhumba, the cha-cha-cha, and all the rest.

This is Michelle and Jonathan's second and final private lesson, and they're wearing casual clothes with their wedding shoes: his lace-ups are patent leather, her heels are oyster-shell white. Both pairs are being broken in as they fox trot to the tune of their song, Natalie Cole's "Unforgettable." Gently, Valery guides them. "Jonathan, it has to at least look like you're leading," she says. "You're taking her into the dip. You're taking her out." She draws imaginary boxes on the floor. She shows them how to clasp hands."It's a lot to remember, I know."

"Unforgettable" plays again and again; the Columbia couple - he's a police officer, she does pricing for J.C. Penney - gaze into each other's eyes, and for a moment, the dance clicks. But a few too many traveling steps later and they are stuck in a corner, entangled with a fake tree, giggling helplessly.

Other parts of the cavernous, mirror-walled studio are being used by instructors from different companies, and women in their 50s and 60s take lessons to perfect their technique. They stomp through the tango, hair slashing through the air, moving fast enough to leave skid marks.Such women are the last generation for whom formal dance was a cultural must; rest assured, most did not need to take lessons before their weddings. And yet they are the mothers of today's brides, who are part of the most dance-deprived generation yet.A phone call to USA Dance, a national association of ballroom dancers, points to two causes: feminism and rock 'n' roll. "In the 1940s, there was swing music," says Ken Richards, a spokesman for the group, recalling the days when elegant couples minidragged and cuddle-dropped. But rock 'n' roll drove a wedge between partners (the twist is not danced cheek to cheek), and with the 1960s came "the whole freedom thing, and the feminist movement, and the music reflected that," he said. "So we tore ourselves away from pairs and danced freestyle."

Today's mothers of the bride came of age during this period; many learned the waltz and the jitterbug but abandoned them for Woodstock-style mass gyrations, and later the delights of disco. Then came the free-wheeling dances of the 1980s, the grunge era, and also - hit it, Billy Ray Cyrus! - the line dancing craze. It seemed as if ballroom had bowed out for good. Yet through it all, "the wedding was the one place where it hung on," Richards said. "That first dance, with Mr. and Mrs. Whatever, is just integral." Faced with this tradition, couples winged it as well as they could. But no longer. The American wedding is more extravagant than ever, and brides recoil at the slightest imperfection, let alone an amateurish dance in the spotlight. Also, a spate of televised contests - America's Got Talent, Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance - has whetted bridal appetites for more polished performances, and couples are happy to pay $80 or so for a private lesson.

"The need was there, and it was not being met by traditional studios," said Deborah Joy, who started the Wedding Dance Specialists five years ago. "These are short-term clients with short-term goals, and we accept that reality." Couples with four left feet are stampeding for the service. They don't want to just sway from side to side. They want to look refined.

First steps
Refined is a lot to ask for. Some of the young couples - like Tom McCarthy, 25, and Mackenzie Bard, 24, together for nearly half a decade - have never slow danced together in their lives, or danced much at all, with anyone.

"Well," Tom says, "I guess I danced at my senior prom."

Mackenzie: "I didn't."

Valery purses her lips.

It's another lesson later Wednesday night. The Owings Mills couple haven't taken the advice of the Wedding Dance Specialists Web site, which - along with practical tips, like not scattering rice on the dance floor - suggests easy-to-dance-to classics: Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Etta James. Instead they've picked Dido's "Thank You," which has a quickened beat. Valery listens to a snippet. "Rhumba," she says warily. Good thing the wedding isn't until November and the couple have a six-lesson package. She starts teaching the slanting steps to Tom, a Wachovia bank teller. He imitates them, hands in his pockets. This looks less like dancing than divot-stomping. His betrothed, a YMCA swim instructor, suppresses a snort.

The lessons are almost always the bride's idea, and grooms are occasionally traumatized. An hour earlier, across the room, another exotic-accented Wedding Dance Specialist instructor, Theodore Zhukov, is teaching a pair from Bel Air the foxy, which is an abbreviated fox trot. The moves to Van Morrison's "Moondance" come naturally to Melissa Burruss, a 24-year-old graphic designer who wears a pretty dress and a sunny smile. Groom Sean Meadows, who does marketing for the Washington Redskins and has a football player's swagger himself, is having more trouble. The 26-year-old watches as the handsome, 6-foot-something Belarusian teacher demonstrates a move, spinning Melissa. Then suddenly Theodore is standing in front of Sean, an expectant look on his face.

"Can you let me?" Theodore asks.

"Um, OK," Sean says.

Theodore glides into his arms, and they twirl off, as Sean shoots panicked looks over his linebacker's shoulders.

No more dance lessons, he swears afterward. That is, if he has anything to say in the matter.

Marriage practice
In Deborah Joy's mind, dance lessons should be mandatory for soon-to-be weds, not only because a competent performance impresses guests, but because dancing is good practice for married life. And although her company specializes in pre-wedding lessons, she hopes that postnuptial students continue learning ballroom.

Dance "is a psychological and emotional and spiritual connection" for young couples, she said. "They're not groping and freaking and grinding. The man treats the woman as a princess. The man is behaving as a prince." Valery claims that a couple's essence becomes apparent on the dance floor, even if they're total beginners. "A lot of time the woman wants to lead and take control, which says a lot about the future," she says. "You have to do it together, as one." Who fights about timing? Who can laugh about mistakes? "It's almost like you can see who is going to make it."

That bodes well for Melissa and Sean, who, by the time they bid adieu to Theodore, have a firm grasp of the foxy. And ultimately, Michelle and Jonathan manage a perfectly respectable fox trot, although they elect to return for a refresher before the big day. They're partially inspired by the sight of another couple in the room - Pam Flemke, 38, and John Wilson, 45, of Parkville - who started with "no skills whatsoever" and by this evening are expertly turning through a waltz, well into their 19th lesson. Tom and Mackenzie agree afterward that their rhumba needs some work. But by the day after their first lesson the basics have come in handy. Mackenzie learned recently that her mother, who serves in the Air Force, might be overseas at the time of their wedding. She was feeling depressed that morning, and Tom knew it. So he took her in his arms in the kitchen for an impromptu run-through of "Thank You," which was bungled but from the heart. "And you know what?" Mackenzie said. "I felt a little better."

"Real Weddings by The Knot" TV show on Oprah Winfrey's Oxygen Channel, aired repeatedly since 2004
The Wedding Dance Specialists and our students were featured on the nation's FIRST wedding reality TV show!

WTNT 570AM "Life, Love & Marriage " - Radio show (January 2005)
Listen to an Interview with Founders of The Wedding Dance Specialists

HOT 99.5 FM Radio

Win a FREE wedding worth $24,000! (Includes FREE wedding dance lessons with The Wedding Dance Specialists!)

Washingtonian Magazine , January 2003
The author of this article chose us as her wedding dance coordinators and was so inspired she wrote a full page article about our services!

Start on the Right Foot: Worried About That First Dance? Here Are Good Steps to Take.
by Cindy Rich

For many brides and grooms, a first dance isn't really a dance. They stand in place and sway, whisper, and kiss.

I'd always found it romantic. But when I got engaged, my fiancé saw it differently: Those couples, he said, didn't know how to dance.

Neither did we. So we took our four left feet and our first-dance song, a Billy Joel ballad to Alexandria . Our instructor, Deborah Joy, introduced us to the “Foxy,” a slower version of the foxtrot. Its “walk, walk, sway, sway” pattern seemed doable. We'd have five private sessions to choreograph our 2 ½ minute wedding song.

“The diaphragm is the center of dance,” Deborah said. If we used good posture and looked into each other's eyes, and “invisible current” would flow between us and keep us in sync. She was right: Whenever I looked at my feet, we stumbled.

Deborah suggested that we make it a date, so we turned lessons into dinner and dancing. It became a welcome weekly escape from seating charts and floral arrangements.

We learned enough steps to feel like dancers. We practiced at home. We took our last lesson a week before the wedding so we wouldn't forget anything.

Then came the wedding…We laughed and enjoyed the moment...We're glad we took lessons, even if we do our fanciest footwork in the living room.

I Do For Brides Magazine, September 2004

Click here to see the Founder of TWDS, Deborah Joy featured in I Do for brides!.

WJFK 105.9FM The Wedding Show: (Radio) – February 2004

  Click on the icon at the left to listen to an Interview with The Wedding Dance Specialists Founder, Deborah Joy on The Wedding Show

Reprinted in part from
The Washington Post – Wednesday, January 29, 2003 , page C16

United States Department of State: State Magazine – September 24, 2003

Performed in Washingtonian's Artists Hall of Fame Award winning program called: State of the Arts
Dancer Deborah Joy and her entourage perform Tango, Ballroom and Latin dances in the Exhibit Hall.

Featured again in the January 2004 Issue of State Magazine - reprinted in part

The Foreign Affairs Recreation Association and the State of the Arts Cultural Series recently hosted a colorful variety of entertainment for State Department employees. The series included, Latin dances, classical and ragtime piano, French art songs and a cellist.

The sereis began with ample serviings of tango and salsa by Deborah Joy and (her enterouge of professional dancers.)

James Madison University, Montepelier Magazine, Spring 2003
Dancing Queen Says 'Face The Music' , By Janelle DiOrio

FOR MOST PEOPLE, dancing is a way to let loose and have some fun. For Deborah Joy ('96), dancing is both a career and passion.

After graduating with a major in mass communications and a minor in business, Deborah Joy was an apprentice at a dance studio for three years. In February 2000, she founded a wedding dance company to share her passion. The studio is located in Alexandria and was at the time, the first and only wedding dance specialist business in the DC metro area. Washingtonian magazine recommended Deborah Joy 's company in its annual wedding issue. Deborah Joy also teaches social dancing to people from 4 to 94 and offers a youth etiquette program.

"People tend to take social dance lessons after college when they have more time and money and want to meet new people," says Deborah Joy . "A huge percentage of my students are in their 20s and 30s looking for hobbies or a way to meet someone special in a wholesome environment."

Deborah Joy teaches many dances, including the Viennese waltz, fox trot, mambo/ salsa, tango, disco/hustle, rumba, cha-cha, polka and merengue. "Once you learn how to dance, you find all sorts of ways to incorporate it into your life on a regular basis," she says.

The prospect of owning her own business "was daunting," Deborah Joy admits. "But, I learned that discipline, determination and delivering red carpet treatment to clients are the secrets to success."

As president, marketing and advertising director, accountant, dance instructor and choreographer, Deborah Joy considers owning a business "the best on-the-job experience anyone can have."

Deborah Joy teaches at the Alexandria studio and performs with a professional dance partner for special events and parties including D.C.'s 2002 Tango Festival, the 2002 Argentine Embassy's Argentina Festival and the McLean and Alexandria Chamber of Commerce galas.

Dancing is great for developing self-esteem and social skills, says Deborah Joy . "It's a guaranteed way to become the most popular person on the dance floor. To the skeptics and critics, the fearful and shy, I say, sooner or later everyone has to face the music and dance."

Learn more about Deborah Joy online at

Click below to see additional photo publicity in the following newspapers:

Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce Monte Carlo Night 1

Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce Monte Carlo Night 2

Telemundo Television, Argentine Embassy 1

Argentine Embassy 2

Argentine Embassy 3, La Nacion Newspaper

Alexandria  Gazette 1 - Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Gala

"Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Gala" - Alexandria Gazette 2

The McLean Times- "Dancing Through Time"

"McLean Chamber of Commerce Gala" - The  McLean Times

Old Town Crier - "Dancing, A Natural High"