Start the Party with Your First Dance

By Ashley Kipps and Jumarcelon Castro, Owners of Arthur Murray Richmond Dance Center

Since the turn of the 21st-century, weddings have evolved from the traditional church setting to getting married in a barn! We’ve traded our camcorders for smartphones, and we’ve (thankfully) swapped puffy shoulder dresses for extravagant and sleek gowns. So why should your first dance still be “traditional?”

You spend so much time finding the perfect venue, the perfect wedding gown, and the perfect cake, but have you considered your first dance? It is just as important as all the above, and sometimes it can make or break the party.

We have all been to those weddings where the newlyweds DID NOT prepare for their first dance. You don’t want to be that couple! Your guests want to see excitement, thrill, and you and your new spouse going out there and letting loose. This gets everyone excited and eager to PARTY!

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This is where taking lessons will come in handy. Whether you want to recreate a scene from your favorite movies, like Cinderella or Dirty Dancing, or fix two left feet, having professional instruction ensures that your first dance dreams become a reality. Plus, lessons will not only help create a memorable first dance but will also teach lifelong skills that can be shared throughout your marriage together.

Imagine every anniversary being able to go out and dance together to your favorite songs. Or being able to dance on a cruise, at a concert, at a friend’s wedding, or in the middle of cooking dinner on a Tuesday night. Lessons will help you and your partner do this confidently versus memorizing a routine eventually forgotten.

Now the question is should you choreograph a routine or learn how to social dance together?

By giving the first dance some attention, you and your new spouse will be the life of the party during the reception. Have some peace of mind and leave your two left feet at the door! Together with a studio’s help, you’ll be able to dance the night away and impress some of your guests along the way.

Is a choreographed first dance for me?
If you are looking to replicate a scene from a film or wanting to have your dance hit every single high note of a song, then this is the route! Make sure the instructor has plenty of time to plan and prepare the perfect dance. Six to twelve months before the wedding is needed. If you do not give yourself at least six months you will be dealing with unnecessary pressure and tension working on something that was supposed to be a fun part of the planning process! If there is plenty of time to practice, then this will be EPIC and one that everyone will talk about for years and years to come!

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What about social dance lessons?
With social dance lessons, you don’t have to learn a complex routine. Rather, you’ll be investing time and energy into learning how to dance together. How bad can spending a few hours a week together, in each other’s arms, outside of work, not thinking about anything else really be? Pick some songs that mean a lot and let the professionals help you dance to each one. You can simply learn how to lead and follow, add a few simple turns and end with a nice dip.

Taking social lessons will give a skill that can be taken through the rest of your marriage. Learn how to do fun dances like Swing for big band music or the smooth Fox Trot for other styles that will be played at the wedding.

Ashley Kipps and Jumarcelon Castro are both professional dancers and owners of the Arthur Murray Richmond Dance Center. Combined they have over 20 years of experience in working with couples and singles to make their dance dreams a reality! For more information visit or call (804) 200-5146.