Tyler and Stephanie Sopko took
weekly dance lessons prior to their wedding.
When Stephanie and Tyler Sopko started taking dance
lessons at DanceSport Studios in Cedarburg last July, the couple’s
intention was to learn some basic steps to feel more comfortable
during their first dance as a married couple.
“We wanted to
look smooth on the dance floor,” says Stephanie Sopko. “We didn’t
want to just sway back and forth.”
Now the couple,
who took weekly lessons up until their Oct. 19 wedding, have a
lifetime of memories, including a choreographed father-daughter
dance to Guns n’ Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine.”
“It was a
different look than what you would usually expect,” Sopko says.
The Sopkos are
among a new generation of couples who are making dance lessons a
standard part of their wedding preparations. Area dance studios have
embraced the growing trend, offering everything from private lessons
to mastering basic steps to choreographing wedding dance routines.
couples come in with elaborate ideas, but others just want to learn
some basic steps so they’re not tripping over one another,” says
Mark Webster, who manages Dancesport Studios of Cedarburg.
That was the case
for Janet and Mitchell Noel, who were married last August. “Taking
dance lessons helped put us at ease,” says Janet Noel. “It was a fun
Elke Mischke, who
runs the Fred Astaire dance studio in Mequon, says most couples
start taking lessons one to two months before their wedding day. For
more complicated dance routines, she suggests couples take lessons
for at least four to six months. “There’s a lot of anticipation and
build-up for wedding guests,” says Mischke. “It’s impressive to see
the bride and groom dance well together.”
private lessons, Fred Astaire hosts practice parties on Friday
nights during which wedding couples are invited to perform their
dances in front of other students and instructors.
opportunity for couples to perfect their dance in front of an
audience,” says Mischke. “They get a sense where they’re at and it
helps take away the jitters.”
Russ Larson, an
instructor at the Mequon Fred Astaire, says there’s a lot of hooting
and hollering during the practice parties.
“All of the
teachers and students are very supportive,” he says.
It’s not just
brides and grooms tripping the light fantastic. Larson says he’s
seen more parents in the studio in recent years too. “They’re the
hosts of the evening,” he says. “They want to set the tone.”
Larson adds that
long after the wedding is over, family and friends reminisce about
the dancing. “People remember the dancing, not the table decor,” he
In fact, many
couples have so much fun learning to dance they continue taking
lessons even after the big day. “It’s a fun date night — especially
for newlyweds,” says Nadine Rochelle, who also teaches at the Mequon
wedding in October, the Sopkos still try to make it to a drop-in
lesson at DanceSport once a month. “We miss our Monday night
lessons,” Sopko says. “It was a great bonding experience with our