History of the First Dance

June 15, 2015 by

History of the First DanceWedding Dance History

The “first dance” of a bride & groom as a married couple is a popular tradition in European and American cultures. This comes from a custom in old-fashioned balls. The guest of honor, who was usually the person with the highest social status, or a member of the royal family did the first dance. This was a way of inviting all the other guests to dance. Their dance was the opening of the ball. As these were generally long country dances,  the guests of honor would be the first people to go down the set, not the only two people dancing for the entirety of the first piece of music.

Exactly like an old-fashioned ball, the idea is that the married couple, as the guest of honor, open the dancing. The style of dance is a personal choice. Some couples opt for a pre-rehearsed choreographed dance, whereas some sources feel that performing a choreographed duet for spectators is inappropriate. Because they are intended to open the dance for all guests, first dances are inappropriate and therefore omitted when there is no other dancing planned for the guests. Sometimes, to further the traditional gender roles of father-daughter relationships in weddings (similar to ‘giving away’) the bride may share a dance with her father.

In the past, the first dance was usually a waltz and ballroom was a widespread skill. However, in the current times, ballroom dance is not a skill that is common within society. Therefore, modern couples either ‘slow dance’ or learn a dance, whether it be a ballroom dance style or a choreographed dance routine. The past decade has seen a rise in popularity of engaged couples actively seeking dance instruction, which Bella Ballroom is happy to provide!

Article by Teah.