Gallery: Save the first dance

IT is one of those memorable moments of any wedding - the first dance.

James Marston

IT is one of those memorable moments of any wedding - the first dance.

But it can be an ordeal for those not so used to dancing - and for the fellas it's often a terrifying prospect

JAMES MARSTON meets a woman determined to do her bit to help a couple make their first dance the highlight of the big day.

LAURA Dickons has been dancing all her life - she loves it.

She trained at the Doreen Bird College of performing arts, she has danced professionally and now she has her own dance school her in Suffolk - dance is a lifelong passion.

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But that isn't the case for everyone.

The first dance for a newly married couple can be a daunting prospect - often the groom's worst nightmare - and many couples dread taking to the floor watched throughout by family and friends.

Laura can help.

She said: “As far as I know I am the only wedding dance teacher in Suffolk. I thought it would be a good idea and a way to help couples have fun at their first dance.

“Some people don't find it easy dancing in public in front of people and many couples tend to sway around the dance floor. I think people worry about it and I know some of the guys don't want to do it at all.

“But this is their first dance together as man and wife so it is an important moment.”

To overcome these fears Laura teaches couples a routine in advance of the big day.

She said: “It is very seasonal, I've taught six couples in the last month but over Christmas I might just teach two couples. I always suggest a minimum of three lessons otherwise they won't really be ready to perform the routine.”

Each lesson lasts about an hour and cost �35.

Laura, of Bell Lane, Kesgrave, said: “They start by telling me what music they might like, it can range from anything from Frank Sinatra to Aretha Franklin.

“Take That - Rule The World is popular as is anything by Michael Bubl�.

“We discuss what they might like to include and I go away and think up a routine. Often people want something fun and quirky.”

An experienced choreographer the routine doesn't take long to devise though Laura admits she often ropes in her boyfriend Pete to try some of the steps out.

She added: “Generally the routines last about three minutes though they can be longer. Claire and Daniel have a routine that is nearer five minutes.

“Most couples have five or six lesions but they need to practice and be keen to get it right, the routines need a little bit of work or people just forget from one week to the next.”

The routine is usually taught within the first three lessons, the last two or three are for polishing.

Laura, 27, added: “We organise the last lesson at the venue, in this case Ufford Park Hotel, so the couple have an idea of the space and how it will be. It is a lot of fun and most off the couples enjoy the experience because they are spending time together and working on something.”

The routines are not being judged and use a mix off styles.

Laura said: “There might be a waltz in the routine but it isn't a waltz dance - it is more of a performance so there is no set style.

“Claire and Daniel have done really well and have worked hard at getting it right.

“I often get to see a video or the dance or some pictures, I like the feedback, it is important to people so it is very rewarding work - they always seem grateful.”

For more information about wedding dance classes visit www.lauraemily.co.uk or call Laura on 0772 972 4753.

What track did you have for your first dance? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Claire Johnson and Dan Wagenaar have known each other since they were teenagers.

Claire said: “I asked him our when I was a teenager and he said no. I cried like teenagers do. We met again out one night in Clacton where we are from and we've been together for five years.”

Now living in Coopers Road, Martlesham Heath, the couple are busy planning for their big day at Ufford Park Hotel near Woodbridge.

And they are hoping their first dance will be a highlight of the celebrations.

Claire, 26, said: “We have chosen Heaven by DJ Sammy. The original was by Bryan Adams.

“We were thinking about what song to have for ages we wanted something upbeat but we also wanted the lyrics to be right for the first dance as well. This song seemed perfect.”

For many grooms the speech is the most nerve-wracking part of the day.

Dan, 29, said: “I've written the speech and I've been a best man before so I am not too worried about that, it has taken a back seat. I'm not really a dancer, the first dance is very much for the bride.

“I wouldn't have suggested dancing lessons but I am looking forward to it now, we're going to nail it.”

Dan, an engineer, admitted he had been nervous about the prospect of dancing in front of their 130 guests.

He added: “We want to entertain our guests so it is like a performance. It's a laugh really, right fro the start we want people at the wedding to enjoy themselves.”

Claire, who works as an English teacher at Farlingaye High School, said the couple had practiced hard to get it right.

She added: “Because we have been so busy it has been really nice to spend some time together, rather than watch tv or be at work we have had to put time in to the routine, we have practised before each lesson.”

Though they have no dance training the couple are attempting two lifts during the routine.

Claire said: “The first is easy but the second lift requires a run up which is a bit more difficult but we don't want to make it simple and easy, we want to be impressive.”

The couple have enjoyed their dancing experience.

Claire, who will be changing out of her wedding dress for the routine, said: “I'm just looking forward to seeing everyone's faces.”

Dan added: “The most important thing for us is that everyone enjoys it, it is also something to remember.”

Baby you're all that I want.

When you're lying here in my arms

I'm finding it hard to believe

We're in heaven.

Oh, thinking about all our younger years,

There was only you and me,

We were young and wild and free.

Now nothing can take you away from me.

We?ve been down that road before,

But that's over now.

You keep me coming back for more.

Baby you're all that I want.

When you're lying here in my arms

I'm finding it hard to believe

We're in heaven.

Lonestar Amazed

Aerosmith Don't Want To Miss A Thing

Shania Twain From This Moment On

Bryan Adams Everything I Do (I Do It For You)

Take That Rule The World