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what should I start with?
Posted by capecodcoyote
1/24/2011  6:12:00 PM
My fiancee and I are getting married in September, and would like to take some online dance lessons. We do not want a choreographed first dance, but want to not step on each others toes during our first dance, as we do now! Our song is "Catch the Wind" by Donovan.
What is our best plan of action? Where should we start?
Any tips are greatly appreciated!
You have already started.
Posted by jofjonesboro
1/25/2011  3:08:00 PM
You've chosen the music, a sort of groovy Viennese Waltz.

Fortunately, the VW is conceptually very simple. In execution, it can be fairly difficult.

Forget about learning this or any other dance online. In the time that you have you can save up the money for at least a couple of private lessons. Find a good independent studio, tell them exactly what you want, and take your music with you.

You should be able to get a couple of lessons for about 100 to 130 dollars (US). Please believe me, you'll have a lot more fun if you do this correctly.

Best wishes and good luck to both of you.

jj

Edited to add:

Look at my post at 3:03 PM on 01/25 below. There's a slower version of "Catch the Wond" (1968) which will make your dance much less stressful. You could still do a (very relaxed) VW if you wish but this version would accommodate a Waltz, a more traditional wedding dance.
Re: You have already started.
Posted by Telemark
1/25/2011  12:52:00 AM
Just a cautionary tale: I had a wedding couple come to me last year. They had set their hearts on Viennese Waltz, but had only two weeks to go before their big day, and could only make time for two lessons.

Neither had danced before, and the groom, finding the rotation of the dance baffling, lost his temper half way through the second lesson, and he stormed off! She was acutely embarrassed, of course, but these things happen.

Give yourself plenty of time (several months, ideally) and work with an experienced instructor. You can space out a handful of lessons (and therefore contain the cost) as long as you have a specific practise goal, after each lesson, and you then make time to practise, practise, practise....

A simple combination of Reverse (Left) and Natural (Right) Turns, separated by Change Steps, is all that you will need, but an instructor will also show you simple ways to start and end your dance that are a little more elegant than, well, just starting and stopping.

Good luck, whatever you decide.
Good lord!
Posted by jofjonesboro
1/25/2011  6:06:00 AM
Give yourself plenty of time (several months, ideally) and work with an experienced instructor. You can space out a handful of lessons (and therefore contain the cost) as long as you have a specific practise goal, after each lesson, and you then make time to practise, practise, practise....

It's a wedding dance, not a showcase on DWTS.

It's pretty clear that the OP is trying to keep this as simple as possible. A couple of private lessons and a little practice will be enough. They do have other things to spend their time and money on, you know.

jj
Re: Good lord!
Posted by Telemark
1/25/2011  7:47:00 AM
It's pretty clear that the OP is trying to keep this as simple as possible.


Simpler that Natural & Reverse Turns?

A handful of lessons should be fine, but it does take some people a while to find their dance feet, and allowing plenty of time for preparation means that they can look forward to this important family event with confidence.
The important event is the wedding
Posted by jofjonesboro
1/25/2011  6:33:00 AM
and their confidence is in their love for each other.

The wedding dance is just a couple minutes of fun. The OP simply doesn't want to fall down on the dance floor.

jj
Re: Good lord!
Posted by silver
1/25/2011  6:40:00 AM
Good retort. :) When I watch beginners struggling with waltz, it seems that the waltz's timing along with the coordination of the closing of the feet on 3 that frequently become the source of frustration. This requires a fair amount of concentration at first before it becomes even remotely natural for most people. You're right Telemark, they need to allow for plenty of time if new to all of this. And since it isn't DWTS, it might even look sincere and heart-felt.
Re: Good lord!
Posted by Telemark
1/25/2011  7:53:00 AM
I must try that approach at my next 'first meeting' with a wedding couple:

"Do you want to learn to dance, or will you just be happy not to fall over, confident in your love for one another".

I can see that being a real winner ...
Re: Good lord!
Posted by dheun
1/25/2011  8:38:00 AM
Now, now, kids. Be nice. You're both actually correct.
The original poster can't possibly know what he/she is getting into, so their desire for something simple could be viewed in different ways.
I agree with you both in saying that the Viennese Waltz is quite difficult, other than the simple turns that Telemark suggests. But I also know that those new to dance could find those steps fairly tough, not to mention the possibility of getting dizzy.
No way a man who has never danced before is going to get the timing down and feel of the cross step in two lessons, so it's likely to be natural turns around and around, etc.
There is no doubt we all agree on one thing: Go to a studio and see about a couple of private lessons. Trying to do it online may keep you from falling on the floor or stepping on toes, but it likely won't teach you the dance, or how it should feel.
Either way, as jofj suggests, it is a wedding -- and those are fun, no matter what the wedding couple does for a dance!
Re: Good lord!
Posted by Telemark
1/25/2011  9:14:00 AM
If not falling over is the overriding aim, then I would avoid dancing just Natural Turns. Dizziness is going to be a real problem.
Re: Good lord!
Posted by Ladydance
1/25/2011  12:49:00 PM
There is never enough room on a reception room dance floor for the VW. No beginner is going to be able to master it, especially with the pressure of doing it in front of an audience. And, chances are the bride will be wearing a long dress, further complicating things. I would suggest they find another song or two and take them to an instructor to pick the best. Usually a simple social rumba is best and doable. On line lessons are not an option. Find an instructor, most studios offer a wedding package.
Good point about the floor.
Posted by jofjonesboro
1/25/2011  3:03:00 PM
If they stick to just natural turns, they should be able to do smoething resembling a VW in a circle.

You're correct that no beginner would be able to master the VW in a short time. It's clear to me that they aren't really interested in mastery. They just want to dance something to their favorite song without looking too clumsy.

Of course, after reading these responses, they may just skip the dance and get drunk.

jj

Edited to add:
I was poking around on YouTube and noticed that there is a slower version of this song, also performed by Donovan (Catch the wind - mellow version).

Even though it's still basically a VW, this slower version would make it much easier on them. They could even use a Waltz if they wished.

Problem solved.
Re: what should I start with?
Posted by belleofyourball
1/25/2011  8:56:00 PM
I don't know. He sounds like he has very low expectations and doesn't really want to do more than just slow dance. The VW is a little bit fussy even in its simplicity. It also is a hard dance for someone who hasn't danced. Foot position, weight on the floor, rotation and movement are too hard for a brand spanking new beginner.

If this guy doesn't want to do more than not step on each other the VW is the wrong dance. He's more likely to step on her in this dance than any in the world. (and vice versa) I do say jof is right that it is the right dance for the song. I think its the wrong dance for someone who wants to take the path of least resistance.

Do a regular waltz to the music, you should look up the box step, the natural and reverse turns and maybe get fancy with a promenade and then dance together until you start feeling okay. Make sure you start enjoying dancing together.

Now, if you really wanted to look like this was something that mattered more than as a sentimental moment you would put some real time to this. You would take lessons, practice and forget about anything online.

However you do this...have fun. Your dancing should be about enjoying yourself.
Re: what should I start with?
Posted by nloftofan1
1/25/2011  10:31:00 PM
You have gotten some good advice, but as far as I can see no one has addressed the reason you can't learn to dance strictly from online lessons. Online lessons (or instructional DVDs) can be very useful because you can watch something over and over, as many times as necessary, and see it done correctly. But even so you may not perform the motions correctly. An instructor will see any mistakes you make long before you would, and help you correct them. That may seem very negative. Look at it this way. The instructor will start off telling you what to do (and demonstrating), then will watch to see what YOU do. A miracle might happen, but if not the instructor will get you past whatever problems you may have much faster than you can do it yourself.
Re: what should I start with?
Posted by quickstep7
1/26/2011  2:17:00 AM
Without meaning to sound silly, you cannot learn to dance from online lessons alone. Surely it makes more sense to attempt a Waltz and Viennese Waltz and decide which you prefer? In theory all dances can be difficult if you have never danced before!
Re: what should I start with?
Posted by terence2
1/26/2011  4:22:00 AM
Its all about the Degree of difficulty.

having taught hundreds of Wedding "dances", it depends on 3 factors; the dance chosen , the music selected, AND the couples abilities .

Also, make sure you keep the song to 2 mins or less ( thats interminable for a new couple ! ).

Also to consider,the Dress ( Ya not gonna make it in a wedding dress doing VW ).
Re: what should I start with?
Posted by quickstep7
1/26/2011  8:27:00 AM
terence2, I completely agree with you.
Re: what should I start with?
Posted by anymouse
1/26/2011  10:20:00 AM
"My fiancee and I are getting married in September, and would like to take some online dance lessons. We do not want a choreographed first dance, but want to not step on each others toes during our first dance, as we do now! Our song is "Catch the Wind" by Donovan.
What is our best plan of action? Where should we start?
Any tips are greatly appreciated!"

The turning basics that most of us consider the foundation of viennese waltz are as others point out a bit difficult to learn and hard to do on a small floor.

But no rule says that you absolutely have to build your dance around them. You could use more stationary sidestep and sway type figures, as might be seen in a cotillion type setting vs. a ballroom competition. Instead of taking 3 steps per measure, a lot of these will have you taking only one step and holding, or in some cases two uneven ones. Without time to build the skill of smoothing out the body movement across the 3 steps of the turning figures, this is going to be a lot more elegant and less frantic looking.

There are some ballroom dances such as rumba, swing, rhythm foxtrot, and to a degree slow waltz where the key ideas can be distilled down in a few lessons and made accessible; but viennese waltz isn't one of them, so if you have your heart set on this music, then you probably want a more pragmatic approach than the traveling ballroom concept of it.
Re: what should I start with?
Posted by quickstep7
1/27/2011  9:00:00 AM
I do agree with anymouse. In terms of learning a dance in a couple of lessons I would not pick the Viennese Waltz. In practice it is simple, but there are so many places where it can go wrong. Possibly think of a slower tune, or find a slower version of the tune you want and you can then learn a Waltz rather quickly. This will give you a smooth dance, which can be matched to ability and very little chance for problems!

Have a good wedding and make the right dance choice! :)
Re: what should I start with?
Posted by pakarinen
1/27/2011  6:55:00 PM
If VW is deemed too difficult, with all the digital processing software out there, couldn't the DJ knock the song tempo down to a waltz?

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