This is a post I’ve wanted to write for quite some time, but due to the secrecy required, I’ve had to wait until now…
I don’t remember when it first happened, but once Erica started talking about an “alternative” first dance, the idea stuck. Of course, at that point, it was just an idea, and while I was outwardly encouraging of it, I was silently dreading the thought that I’d have dance in front of an audience. Not just the usual first dance sway, I mean really dance. I got heart palpitations just thinking about it.
But when I wrote the post about five wedding traditions I could do without, watching a traditional first dance was one of the first things I mentioned. Needless to say, I realized that if I was going to talk the talk, no matter how nervous I might be I decided I had to back it up.
I always say that anything worth doing is worth doing right, so with the decision made, Erica found a dance studio near our apartment and made arrangements for us to take a private lesson. I can’t remember the last time I felt so out of my element. I joked around by practicing plies, if you can call them that, on the dance bar, but that was only because I didn’t know what to do with myself.
I made it through the warm-up just fine and, feeling good about myself, figured that since I’d seen a fair amount (ok, an entire season) of So You Think You Can Dance, that I could do this. Yeah, right. Our teacher, Kelly, showed us two moves. The first was a slide. No problem. The second was a kick. Wait, wait, wait…I have to move my arms and kick? Simultaneously?
I looked like I was having a seizure. I know this because, inconveniently enough, the dance studio was lined with mirrors, enabling me to see just how badly I was doing. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get my arms and legs to work as one. Erica compared me to a bird flapping its wings. Thanks, honey.
When we finally moved on, Kelly attempted to teach us a move called the Roger Rabbit. I didn’t think it was possible for me to be more spastic than I already was, but sometimes I surprise myself. This was one of those times.
At the end of the lesson I was sweaty and beaten down, but I was determined to nail these moves. I’m not an uncoordinated person and I knew I could do it. I just had to practice.
So, a week later when Erica was out for a few hours, I sat down at the computer and Googled something I never, ever, thought I would: “How To Do the Roger Rabbit.” I found a video lesson, pressed play, and proceeded to practice. You know that song from Sweet Charity “If My Friends Could See Me Now”? All I can say is I’m eternally grateful my friends did not see me, because I would never be able to live it down. Frankly, I was tempted to make fun of myself -- that’s how ridiculous I felt.
I carried on because I knew I was doing it for a good cause, but if you were at the wedding then you know the Roger Rabbit did not ultimately make it into the routine. Why? Because I never got it right.
But I did get better on the kicks, and after three lessons, we managed to fill out a routine that lasted just under ninety seconds. Now it was up to us to practice. The week before the wedding we practiced three straight nights. I was so into it that at one point I found myself walking down the street silently mouthing eight-counts. We even practiced in our hotel room before the rehearsal dinner.
By Saturday, we were ready. I even felt good about it. The only question was my nerves. I was surprisingly calm the entire weekend, but the one thing that had me slightly nervous was performing this dance.
When the time arrived, we made our way to the dance floor and proceeded to sway innocently back and forth to a Harry Connick tune…But the plan called for the band to interrupt us and then put on our “real” first song, You Can’t Touch This, by MC Hammer. We missed our cue but got on track quickly, and, if I may say so myself, went on to rock the house for the next minute and a half.
It was a blast. Nobody knew it was coming. Not our siblings, not our parents, and not our friends. We set out to surprise everyone and set the tone for the party. I know it worked because a few minutes later I was talking to some friends and my cousin’s wife came up to me – apologized out loud to everyone for her language – and said, “That was f&%$ing awesome!”
Wedding Weekend Recap Part Two coming next week…