The slow music myth

The Slow Music Myth

There is a relatively common belief with non-dancers that slow music is easier for dancing, which is not necessarily correct. Certainly slow music means that the steps are slower, but it is not true that they are also easier.

Choosing a song for your wedding dance should be guided by your preference in music as well as its suitability for dancing. Students often come for their first lesson with a very very slow song and tell me they chose it because it was the slowest song they could find that they liked and they wanted it slow because they did not want a difficult song to dance to.

This is an unfortunate misconception as what is not commonly realised outside of the dancing fraternity is that whilst slow music can indeed mean slower steps, it is all the technical extras that make it look good and not boring. The missing factor is that accomplished / professional dancers make slow dancing look good because they know how to express dance through full body and arm expression and extended movement which takes considerable skill to make it look good as well as interesting.

Without those skills slow steps to slow music do just look quite boring and it’s very rare that untrained and inexperienced dancers can make a dance look interesting at such a slow tempo.

This of course brings us back to the whole objective for a wedding dance, which is to look like a couple, look like you know what you are doing and at the same time look smooth, comfortable and natural for your first dance.

Coupled with the advanced skills needed to make dancing to very slow music look good, there is also an acting element involved. Professional dancers add facial expression, mood and character to their dancing which all helps add to the ‘vision’ being created by the performance. In this instance, as we are talking about a Bridal Dance to very slow music, the mood of the dance is romantic or passionate and facial expression and interplay between the partners plays an important part in making the dance look interesting and in presenting the dance appropriately.

In my experience, which is considerably vast, very few wedding couples or beginner dancers, especially those just wanting to learn one dance for the occasion of their wedding day, have the skills nor the desire, to act naturally and convincingly and of course, who would want to have to worry about acting when it’s your wedding dance anyway!

A popular slow song for the Bridal Waltz is ‘At Last ’by Etta James or Beyonce and this is a great example of a slow song that is reasonably easy for beginners dancing but still has enough speed and rhythm to be able to create a simple dance that’s easy to learn in a handful of lessons with a good teacher.

It’s a good song to use as a benchmark as any slower than this song is where it gets harder to dance and is inadvisable for beginners.

The issue of the lyrics of the song can be the deciding factor for many couples and I think it goes without saying that that one would want to have appropriate words in the song that you choose for your first dance as husband and wife, however in choosing a song for its lyrics one should not overlook it’s suitability for dancing, after all, the reason the song is being chosen is for – a dance.

Having said that however, it could be a bit of an ask to advise you to consider the suitability of a song for dancing when you don’t know about dancing and don’t know how to choose for that reason!

But that is also part of what having dance lessons is all about and professional dance teachers can advise you as part of the process. The best way, so that you don’t use up too much of your lesson time, is to choose 2 to 4 different songs that you would be happy to have for your wedding dance and make your final decision at your first lesson with the input of the teacher.

Use At Last as a guide to the slowest speed of music and that will keep you in the ‘’safe’’ zone if you want to keep it as easy as possible.

But having said all that of course, a good professional teacher can dance and teach a dance to virtually any music, so if your heart is set on a very very slow song that you must have for your bridal dance for sentimental or other reasons relevant to your relationship and the wedding, then do not let me deter you! Just keep yourself on the safe side by allowing a few extra lessons so that you can not just dance something to your song but so that you can also make it look good!

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