Deborah Joy Block, owner of The Wedding Dance Specialists, is not only a national wedding dance expert and certified wedding planner, she's also an etiquette instructor - an all around Fairy Godmother. Deborah gave me some great tips that not only preserve peace on the dance floor, they make for a more enjoyable time in practicing for your all-important first dance.
Excited about rehearsing the new “First Dance” choreography that you learned at your dance studio but have no room in your tiny living room? Well, you could use your driveway, building party room or your gym aerobics room for free or you can spend about $10 per hour to practice in one of the many professional studios around town.
Some landlords question the need for guidelines because they assume the rules should be "common sense." But common sense does not always prevail since a studio may have some “dance divas”. The tips below help ensure a pleasant environment and allow you to feel comfortable practicing in the studio. Successful practice will help you shine in the wedding day spotlight.
## If space allows, dancers should set up speakers and use mirrors at opposite corners of the studio; once all four corners are full then fill in the middle sections. Rent space during non-peak hours (anytime before 6pm) if you are practicing tap or flamenco, drumming, or other loud percussive dances. Anything after 6pm requires you rent a private room. Group practice requires more space and it's noisier, so notify the studio to make special accommodations. Find out if there are additional charges.
## Use earphones - especially if you you need to play music loudly or nonstop and when directly next to ongoing lessons. Be mindful of volume levels and speaker location/angle or take turns if nobody is able to hear their music. If your speakers are poor quality bring A/V wires to take advantage of what the studio offers. If the bass is adjustable set it to medium. Turn your music off when not dancing to minimize the overall noise in the room. Don’t leave music playing unattended.
## If you are beside a privacy/noise dampening curtain, assume that your neighbors expect you to use it or else switch places so they can take advantage of this amenity. Check with the office about if/when the curtain can be used. Ask permission before adjusting the teaching environment –curtains, lights, fans, borrowing speakers, using overhead speakers, adjusting temperature, closing or opening blinds or windows, and switching music.
## Due to the close and direct contact nature of the dancing, use sanitizer or wash hands frequently to prevent spreading germs around the studio. Don’t leave your belongings around the studio to “save” a space indefinitely. Let your neighbors know when you plan to return.
## Approach management with any complaints so they can attempt to resolve the situation before resorting to posting an online complaint. Use common sense and good etiquette and you'll create a fun practice environment.
Deborah Joy Block is a professional dancer who has taught thousands of couples their First Dance. She is the founder of The Wedding Dance Specialists and an international pioneer for the wedding dance industry. She is a certified etiquette instructor and wedding planner. Deborah also directs the Back to Basics Manners Social Graces Program, teaching etiquette and social dance in DC metro public and private schools. To learn more about Deborah, The Wedding Dance Specialists, her event planning services and etiquette classes, call (703) 626-7016.