History of the First Dance

Man and woman dancing their first dance

The first wedding dance is a beautiful celebration that can symbolise the relationship of a couple and a great way to break the ice at the reception. In learning the first dance couples find an opportunity to bond deeper with their partners because it requires teamwork more than other activities. The couples must learn leading and following and steps that might challenge them but in this process they have a good time and the end product symbolises their relationship. 

When they come to our dance studio, couples usually are interested in the history of the first dance. In doing so they learn from us that the first dance is quite a new tradition in the wedding celebration. Even though the exact inception or exactly first first dance is unknown, the origins of this tradition come from after WWI. Prior to this the wedding reception was done in European and American  weddings mostly at the brides house. With limited space, the bride and groom would dine with their guests and socialise without much accent on dancing even though music was played by bands. 

After the war, publications like newspapers started suggesting the newlyweds have their first dance alone as it would be more intimate. This idea caught up easily among newlyweds and it slowly spread throughout Europe and US. At first this was not treated as a performance or seen as mandatory.

As society evolved, post WWII dance halls started to gain popularity especially in England so dancing was seen more as a social skill, an opportunity to show off maybe or just to have fun. The popularity of Ballroom dancing grew all around Europe and US, even more through TV and as celebrities or very rich people started to adopt the first dance for their weddings, regular people slowly followed.

Nowadays, almost every couple have a sort of wedding dance, wether it being a slow romantic first dance, or a more complicated, choreographed dance in which the couple show off their dancing skills and have a blast in doing so. We would recommend thinking of your first dance as a fun way to spend time with your partner, doing an activity together.

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