Picking a Song
For the lucky couples, it's easy, they have a song they both loved and that is meaningful to them. They might have met at a concert, dance together for the first time on that song, kissed for the first time while it was playing in the background.....
For others, it's more difficult. Their musical tastes might not match. Or maybe they do match, they both love Punk Rock but that's not really suitable for their first wedding dance...
As a teacher/choreographer I tend not to get involved in the decision and even when asked I am very resistant in giving an opinion.
It's just too personal, to important.
The only time I will give an opinion is if I am presented with 2 songs and asked which one is best for them to dance on.
I am primarily a Salsa dance teacher so I only teach 2/4 and 4/4 time signatures.
We also have ballroom teachers in our team but they also tend to get requested choreographies on 2/4 and 4/4.
The traditional Waltz wedding dance is not as much in demand anymore. Less than 10% of our clients would request Waltz lessons.
Mid-tempo is the easiest for the students, By mid-tempo I mean roughly 80 to 100 BPM.
Couples coming to me often think the slower the tempo the easier the song will be to dance to.
For that reason, if they show up with a very slow song I always ask if that was their first choice. It's not rare to find out that it's not their first choice but they believed that their preferred song was too fast.
Not everyone has a musical ear and we don't have time to develop it.
I use a metronome set to their song's BPM to teach and ask them to download an app on their phone so that they can do the same at home when practising.
Obviously, we progress to the actual as soon as possible but any mistake and we will get back to the metronome to try to build a muscle memory.
I will ask the couple to start each practice with a count first, then the metronome and finally the music. When a new dancer is absorbed trying to remember steps and moves the music is often forgotten about.
How Long Should It Be?
I try to keep the choreography to 2 min 30 s or thereabouts.
It's the optimum time on the dance floor. Long enough to make an impact but not so long that it becomes overwhelming to learn and memorize.
As I tell my students, it's always best to keep your audience wanting more.
Here we have 2 options:
- Cut the song to length. To do that we use audacity. It's free software and does a good job. If the song is played by a band during the performance we send the edited version to the band and tell them that's what we want.
- Get the wedding party to enter the dance floor at the appropriate time and finish the dance with the Bride and Groom