Wedding Professional Wednesdsay: Olivia Gale (The Zebra Room)

One of the more beautiful moments at a wedding reception is the first dance between the bride and groom. With all of the hustle and bustle of the day, it is one of the many firsts that a couple will share as husband and wife. Oftentimes, couples get nervous and excited as they begin to consider the many options available to them. As a couple selects the song for their first dance, they often think of many options regarding the music: Should their selection be traditional? Contemporary? Their favorite song as a couple? Or should their selection be something completely out the box?

One of the leading dance choreographers in the area is Olivia Gale with The Zebra Room. Olivia has helped many central Florida couples choreograph their special dances for their wedding day. We are happy to feature Olivia as today's Wedding Professional Wednesday vendor. I hope the Q&A will help you learn a bit more about wedding day choreography and how to make it unique yet memorable. Gale took an afternoon to tell us about herself and her services!

What are a few suggestions you would make to couples plan/choreograph their first dance? I suggest a couple find a song or songs that express who they are as a couple and expresses who they are individually. It is a very special way to connect and share that magic moment with their family and friends.this is a moment that will never be forgotten and believe me there are times in their first dance that will move their audience to tears and to joyful laughter.

The first thing I do when a couple comes to me is use their music to teach them the basics they'll be using within that framework. Before I even begin working on the foot pattern, which is usually based on a basic box given that most music they'll be using is 4/4 time, is to establish their foundation of solid frame. Without a solid frame the man can't lead and the lady can't follow. To repeat a phrase from "Dirty Dancing", "This is your dance space and this is my dance space", no spaghetti arms allowed. I continue to reinforce that foundation throughout e

ach lesson. I then teach them "the box", the box rotating and an underarm turn. If the couple is able to learn more in that hour I teach them more dance elements they'll be using when I begin to put together the choreography. I tell them it's all about the rhythm and not about being stuck in a box. There are many combination's of moment that only require walking. That opens up a whole new dimension of possibilities. During the first lessons I'm asking questions, getting to know the couple and finding out what they are trying to accomplish during their first dance.

I tell my couples that a first dance should be approximately 3:00 minute

s in length. I joke, you want to have your audience wanting more not looking at their watch hoping the end is near. I pack a lot into that 3 minutes and want to elicit the full gamut of emotions from all concerned, from laughter to pulling on the heart strings eliciting poignant tears. It is my goal to help them realize they can do so much more than they can imagine, to show them off to their best advantage and show them how much fun it all can be.

Popular dance styles or options for the first dance? Anything goes these days. I can even edit two songs together with two different dance styles; one a bit more serious and then moving into something completely off the wall and fun. Most songs are 4/4 time and can begin with the basic box and move out of that into combination's of movement that as I say "break out of the box" and look impressive but can be fairly simple to accomplish. I've had couples choose everything from the Tango, Rumba and Cha Cha to something more jazzy and even hip hop type style to finish off. Being a choreographer and accomplished in many dance styles I have a lot to draw from to give the couple anything they need to reach their goal.

How far in advance should they contact your studio? What would you suggest the minimum number of classes be? I usually suggest 3 to four months in advance to give the couple plenty of time for practice and take into consideration time that is needed for all the other preparations associated with getting ready for that special day.

What are a few trends and innovations you've seen in first dances for the reception? Wedding first dances have become a very exciting trend for the couple and their families and friends to share; it's become a really special part of the wedding reception. I'm excited to see that couples find it's a very special part of their wedding preparations to learn to dance with each other and additionally exciting for me to see that it can become a very special way to connect as a couple. It is an activity they can enjoy beyond the wedding. It has the potential to become a very special part of what they share as a couple their entire life. It is a healing touch and loving touch! Dancing is something to share together with the added plus of being a way to have fun and stay fit.

If you weren't a working in this industry, what field would you be in instead? Why? I'm a dancer, choreographer, actor and entertainer. It’s all connected. I love working with wedding couples. It is a very special and creative way for me to share what I love with so many amazing people. We all laugh and sometimes cry together; it is such a joyful experience.

Here is a video of a couples first dance that Olivia choreographed:

What would we be surprised to learn about you? Many would be surprised to learn that that I'm both a poet/writer and artist. I like to draw people rather than landscapes or still lifes. I'm also published writer in national dance magazines like Dancer in Miami and Dance Teacher and Dance Spirit out of NY.

Many couples are now considering the services of a professional dance instructor to ensure that their first steps are as flawless and smooth as their wedding day has progressed. Many of our Joie de Vie couples have opted to have choreography for their first dance. We had a couple take salsa lessons to pay homage to the bride's parents favorite past time, while another couple took lessons so that the groom's uneasiness about dancing in front of his guests would be lessened. It will be fun, a special time for the two of you and an opportunity to truly entertain your invited guests.

Until next time,

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Aww, the first couple's dance! Something to totally look forward to, except if you don't know how to dance! A professional choreographer like Olivia will definitely make life a whole lot easier :)

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