It's easy to put best foot forward
Being the centre of attention at your own wedding is a given and, as most couples want to shine on their big day, many are turning to professional dance instructors to ensure they put their best foot forward for the 'first dance'.
'In Hong Kong, there is a demand for couples to learn a wedding dance,' says Herman Lam, of Herman Lam Dance Studio (www.hermanlamdance.com). 'Before, the wedding dance was mostly done by Westerners, but Chinese couples are doing it now. I think it's becoming a trend because dancing is a lot of fun and it's entertaining for guests.
'It doesn't necessarily have to be a spectacular show, but it shows your friends and family you're a loving couple.'
While some couples are naturals who glide across the floor, others start with four left feet.
'Some people have difficulties. They have different abilities and backgrounds, so as a teacher you need to adjust [the wedding dance] to their ability,' says Lam, who has taught ballroom, modern, ballet and Latin dance for more than a decade. 'Sometimes a couple are too ambitious, so I need to tone it down. I wouldn't choreograph a dance that's too difficult for them.'
As a minimum, Lam recommends couples start learning three to four months ahead of tying the knot. 'If you learn it and it's still very fresh in your mind, it'll be very mechanical. You want to learn and practise it so it's like a reflex, and your body and muscles naturally react to the music and your partner,' he explains.
When picking music, Lam suggests keeping the pace in mind. 'If you have music that's fast, you have to put in a lot of movements for the same amount of time [of a slower song],' he says.
According to Connie Hong, owner and instructor at Amico (www.amico.com.hk), ballroom is the most popular style at weddings.
'For ballroom or Latin dance, the man is very important. It's the leading position and they need to feel how to lead the woman. If a woman is too in control it makes the man look bad,' explains Hong, who has been teaching ballroom and Latin for more than 20 years.
She adds couples can learn a dance in about five to 10 lessons, with lessons costing about HK$650 an hour.
'Some can dance really well, but others are nervous and stiff. By the end, though, they feel very comfortable, and at the wedding their guests can't believe their whole routine.
'One of my clients thought 'I can't do it', but after they committed [to learning] they started to feel more confident with each lesson,' Hong says.