First Dance Lessons in Orange County Success with Paras and Reza
I met Paras and Reza for their introductory wedding dance lesson and consultation at our Costa Mesa wedding dance studio. The Orange County wedding couple was excited to prepare dancing for their upcoming May 16th wedding at St. Regis in South Orange County. Taking first dance lessons was something that they had always wanted to do. Now that their Dana Point wedding was approaching, they had an even greater reason to sharpen up their dance skills and to get moving and grooving. Reza was a fan of TV dance shows like, “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing With the Stars,” so while he had never taken any ballroom or social dancing lessons, he had a really strong idea of what the different dances were, what they look like, and what he wanted to try. Paras and Reza marked down on their introductory form that they were beginner dancers and wanted to learn a wedding dance, salsa, ballroom, waltz, and cha-cha. They had four months before their wedding and they would ultimately create 3 different dances to perform for it.
Initially, Paras and Reza hadn’t decided exactly what songs they wanted to use. For their actual first dance they knew they wanted something smooth and classic. They also knew that they wanted an upbeat choreography to follow. Even though they didn’t have their wedding song choices totally nailed down, we were still able to get started on their first dance lessons. We began building on the wedding dance concepts they had in mind. I taught a classic ballroom dance base that would ultimately become good for their song. I also taught them some fun turns and moves that we would mold into their dance. Once we got started trying wedding dance moves out on the floor, Paras and Reza were better able to get a sense of what songs they would want and chose their top picks!
For the first of their three dances, Paras and Reza wanted to do a romantic dance to a fantastic first dance song choice: “Sway” by Dean Martin. We decided that a rumba would be the perfect fit for them to dance dreamily to the flowing rhythm of the song. We coordinated the beginning position of their first dance to start where they would be by the end of their grand entrance into the reception. During their first dance lessons, we used the accents of the beginning of their first dance to plan a dramatic story of dance moves. Reza lunged towards Paras on the first accent and Paras responded with a hip accent. Reza offered his hand on the third accent, and then pulled her into frame on the fourth accent. They were ready to jump into the song right as the melody started. From there Reza and Paras felt most comfortable executing a loosely planned dance. We planned an order of moves and wedding dance patterns that Reza would lead in the moment. This gave them the flexibility of dancing in the movement while also giving them security because they both knew which move would be next. They also planned the perfect moment for an exciting lift!
In addition to their first dance, Paras and Reza were excited to plan a surprise dance that would be mixed into the end of “Sway” by their wedding DJ. They decided on doing Justin Timberlake’s “Let the Groove Get In” followed by Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” Just as their guests would think their first dance was over, their rumba would surprisingly turn into a cha-cha as the music transformed into JT’s upbeat dance song. Paras and Reza had actually seen Justin Timberlake in concert before so were big fans. It made perfect sense for them to use “Let the Groove In” to pick up the energy of their first dance even more. They started dancing together performing a fun cha-cha chase and then would jump into choreography side-by-side. The dance was filled with poses, shoulder shimmies, slides, and fun call and response dance moves between the wedding couple.
Finally, Paras and Reza’s wedding dance mash-up would turn into Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” The couple would execute quintessential Michael Jackson moves like snaps, walking with attitude, moon walking and more! At the end, the couple would invite all of their guests to join them. The wedding couple would lead the famous Electric Slide choreography to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” so that everyone could join in on the fun.
Once we had executed planning and practicing Paras and Reza’s mash-up wedding dance, we spent some time planning their wedding reception entrance. Paras and Reza are Persian and wanted to enter to a Persian song and do a Persian wedding entrance. I helped them plan an entrance that they could walk with a Persian dance flair around their dance floor by all of their guests and ultimately ending up in the center of their dance floor ready to start their first dance.
On May 16th, Paras and Reza had their wedding in Orange County and celebrated their big day with 400 of their friends and family members. They executed their romantic and fun wedding mash-up exactly as they had envisioned it and their guests were impressed to say the very least! Working with Paras and Reza was super fun and I wish them the warmest wishes in their journey as a married couple and huge congratulations on all of their wedding dance success!
Article by dance teacher, Ziva