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The Best Thing To Hold Onto In Life Is Each Other Wedding How To / Instructional
Hi I'm Jillian and I teach the bride and groom their first dance. I've been a dancer since age 7 and have two degrees from UC Irvine and have competed in professional ballroom dancing in American Smooth.
I thought I’d share with you a little shop talk about the frame of the dancing couple since I get a lot of questions about that during my lessons.
When your guests watch your first dance do you think they’re looking at your feet?
Probably not. ;-)
The bride’s feet are most likely hidden by her dress and the groom’s feet may possibly be as well.
Your guests’ gazes are on your radiant faces and your dancing frame, that is your arms connected to each other hand to hand on one side and the groom’s right hand upon the back of the bride on the other.
The frame can make or break a dancing couple.
A “noodle” frame can make the dancing couple look soft and squishy and make the lead and follow very difficult to give and take.
A “rigid” frame can make the bride and groom look stiff and awkward and may even actually hurt the bride as they dance, especially if her dashing groom is a strong armed one!
So what’s the best frame for dancing?
The leader should always frame up or down to the height of the follower.
I like to start my couples off by having the bride put her arms out to her sides, horizontally from her waist so the groom can see what looks good with her shoulders.
Especially if the groom is six feet three and the bride is four feet five, I want to make sure that their dancing frame is angled to her height not his. After all she would look rather silly dancing her arms way up to him for their first dance!
Having established her correct frame height, then we move on to the bride’s three connection points and I focus on impressing upon them the necessity for an “energy transference” toward each other at all times. No one person should pull away or just plain “not be available” to the other in the frame.
Once we have the frame we move side to side and forward and back in it.
We walk in it.
We sway in it.
We get used to it.
People don’t really dance like this anymore so it can take a little getting used to the frame once you’re in it.
My grooms sometimes say it is hard to keep holding up their arms. This might mean the bride is being “heavy” and using her groom’s arms as an “easy chair”.
My brides sometimes say that they feel like they’re “in the harness” of the frame and can’t move easily within it. This might mean that the groom is holding her too stiffly and not letting the lead be communicated easily through his arms and his connection points.
During our first lesson we work hard to alleviate any stress in the dancing couple’s frame and make it a positive part of the dancing. Since the frame connection is the pretty part and, I think, the romantic part :-), it is vitally important that it work for us in the first dance.
Be it a foxtrot frame, a rumba frame or a swing frame – the couple’s dancing frame is an integral part of the mechanics and beauty of their wedding dance.
And as Audrey Hepburn said, “The best thing to hold onto in life is each other” – we may as well do it right for the dance!
Newport Beach, California
Written by Ballroom Dance With Jillian of Newport Beach, CA
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