Our Favorite First Dance Songs of 2014

Finding the perfect first dance song can be a bit overwhelming at first, but when you have the right goals in mind, it’s much easier to narrow them down! Here are a few things to consider while on the hunt for the perfect song:

1. Does the song make you want to tap your toes or sway side to side? If not, simply keep looking.

2. Do the lyrics send the right message? Look out for those beuatiful love songs about break-ups, lost love, or infidelity!

3. Does the feeling of the song express you and your fiance’s relationship? If you’re particularly fun and outgoing or romantic and reserved, your first dance should be too!

Below, we’ve listed our favorite first dance songs from 2014 along with a quick description of the vibe of each song. Take a look, and you might just find the one!


1) Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Song: Modern, Indie and Upbeat
Lyrics: Quirky and Adorable
Dance style: Fun and Bouncy

2) Swept Away by The Avett Brothers (Sentimental Version)

Song: Folky and Acoustic
Lyrics: Romantic and Sentimental
Dance style: Relaxed and Intimate

3) A Beautiful Place to Be by Tyronne Wells

Song: Beautiful and Sultry, Driving Beat
Lyrics: Hopeful and Loving
Dance style: Exciting and Sweeping

4) Is This Love by Corinne Bailey Rae

Song: Sultry, Modern R&B Jam
Lyrics: Sweet and Romantic
Dance style: Soft and Low-key

5) Just One Look by Doris Troy

Song: Upbeat and Fun
Lyrics: Simple and Loving
Dance style: Energetic and Groovy

6) Nothing Can Change This Love by Sam Cooke

Song: Classic and Relaxed
Lyrics: Romantic and Playful
Dance style: Soulful and Sweeping

7) All Of Me covered by Postmodern Jukebox

Song: Jazzy and Unique
Lyrics: Passionate and Expressive
Dance style: Slow and Sassy

8) You Send Me by Aretha Franklin

Song: Soulful and Upbeat
Lyrics: Endearing and Joyful
Dance style: Groovy and Fun

9) XO by Beyonce

Song: Modern and Poppy
Lyrics: Unique and Exciting
Dance style: Unconventional and Fun

10) You are My Sunshine by Sara Gazarek

Song: Jazzy and Classic
Lyrics: Cute and Joyful
Dance style: Fun and Playful

We can’t wait to hear all the great choices to come in 2015!  Share your favorite love songs in the comments below!

Halloween is good for your soul.

Incredible colors,

bustling leaves,

a nice crisp breeze,

the smell of Autumn in the air.

It’s no wonder we fall in love with Fall year after year. The Autumn season is so vibrant, whimsical and playful, and Halloween is our chance to participate in the fun. As dancers, we take any opportunity to let loose, be a little silly, and have fun! Here are just a few examples of the exciting things you get to do during the Halloween season + some of the best places to enjoy them in the Chicago area.

Carve Pumpkins

    • Get messy. Dig in. Be creative. Then, make some delicious pumpkin seed snacks!
    • A day at the pumpkin patch can be a lot of fun! Corn mazes, apple picking, and petting zoos, oh my!

Eat Lots of Candy

    • It’s okay, they’re fun sized. You’ll be dancing them off at our Halloween Soiree tomorrow night anyways.

Play a Character


Go to a Haunted House

    • You don’t know the meaning of fun until you’re being chased by an actor in a hockey mask with a fake chainsaw…right?
    • Here’s our favorite in Chicago this year:

Drink Oktoberfest Beer

    • We live in one of the best cities for craft beer, and nothing screams the Fall season like a crisp Oktoberfest style brew.


What are some of your favorite things to do during the Halloween season? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Dance Your Way to Happiness

As dance instructors, it goes without saying that dancing brings us joy. We all know that if we’re having a hard day, we can just get up and dance, and even if nothing is resolved, we at least feel better about it! But, do we just enjoy dancing because it’s a lighthearted, fun activity or does dance actually have the power to make us happier, healthier individuals?

According to an article in Arts London News, a psychology student at the University of New England, Rosa Pinniger, has found that dancing can actually fight depression. “You really have to focus, concentrate, and it doesn’t allow your thoughts to drive into your mind,” she told CBC news.

When we look at the facts, it’s clear that dancing does, in fact, make you a happier, healthier person.


1) It’s a great form of exercise.

  • Exercise releases endorphins in the body. These chemicals reduce the perception of pain and trigger positive mental and physical feelings in the body.
  • The U.S.D.A recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity twice a week, so why not dance those 30 minutes away?

2) Not only is dance good exercise for your body, but also for your mind!

  • Dancing incorporates several simultaneous brain functions like rational thinking (keep in step with your partner), musical creativity (make your movements match the music), and an emotional sense of well being (support your partner and move with them in unison).
  • When you memorize new dance steps and patterns, you build new neural pathways. Making these connections becomes more and more important to maintain regular brain function as you age.


3) Learning to dance makes you focus and concentrate on just one task.

  • Because dancing requires your brain to function on so many levels,  there is no room for negative thoughts, and the less you think about negative things, the less they have a negative effect on your life.
  • In a society of many distractions from iPhones, advertisements, facebook, and tweets, it’s important to give your brain solid blocks of time to just focus on one task at hand. Though it might be hard to focus at first, only worrying about one thing at a time can be calming and meditative.

4) Music is therapeutic, but dancing to music is even more therapeutic.

  • Music provokes a natural emotional response, and it can provide comfort and therapy when needed. Dancing allows you to just get lost in the music.
  • It’s no secret that your body has a natural, physical response to music. There’s a dance style for almost any kind of music, so whether you love Mozart, Eminem, or anything in between, just moving to your favorite song can make you feel at home.


The benefits of dancing are endless. So, get up, grab a partner, and start moving. You never know the joy it can provide until you try it. Feel free to share how dance has brought joy to your life in the comments below!

Say Yes to Your First Dance

There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of details to be accounted for when planning your wedding reception, and of course, every couple has their own priorities. But, whether your wedding will be a formal affair or a quirky, unique celebration, your first dance as a married couple is the one detail that can’t slip through the cracks of your wedding planning process. So, why is the first dance so important?

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1) It kicks off the party and sets the mood for your reception.

Your guests want to have a good time, and more importantly, they want to see you having a good time. Let them celebrate not only for you, but with you.

2) This is your one moment to spend time together, just the two of you.
In the chaos of greeting all of your guests, taking photos, and ensuring everything is running according to plan, how could you pass up the opportunity to share a few intimate minutes with your partner? It might be the only time you get to be alone together all evening.

3) It’s tradition.

No, I don’t mean it’s wedding tradition like the Best Man speech or playing “The Final Countdown” as your D.J. introduces the wedding party into the reception. I mean tradition dating back centuries. When an affluent family would host a formal affair, the hosts or the guests of honor would typically kick off the celebration with the first dance of the evening.

4) It’s a metaphor for your relationship.

The entire wedding is an expression of you and your spouse to be, but the first dance is your opportunity to truly show off your dynamic as a couple. Let your guests see how playful and fun you are together or how romantic and supportive you can be toward each other. Every couple is unique, and dance is a great way to express the way you bring out the best in each other.

5) You’ll learn to dance together.
Make a date of it. Wedding planning is filled with lists and errands, decisions and deadlines. Take time out every week leading up to your wedding to just enjoy each others’ company. Grab a bite to eat, then take a lesson and learn a skill that you can share well into your happily ever after.

The benefits of opting for a beautiful, thought out first dance are endless. After all, this celebration is about you two, as a couple, starting the rest of your lives together. If your marriage begins in sync, it’s much more likely to sustain its rhythm.

Tell us what you enjoyed most about performing or preparing your first dance. Share your stories in the comments below!

Oh, Those Summer Nights

It’s officially summer in the city, and you know what that means! It’s time to get outside and enjoy the many benefits of living in one of the greatest cities in the world. The beautiful weather can have the power to make you forget the last five months of below-zero trudging through the snow, so make the best of it by grabbing your favorite dance partner, and hitting the floor! Every summer, there are endless music and dance events that happen throughout the city, and some of our favorites are right around the corner. Here are just a few of the best events to get you moving this season:


1) Swing Nights at Fizz:

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What: You’ll begin with an hour long swing lesson, then the floor opens up for social dancing until 1am.

Where: Fizz bar – 3220 N Lincoln Ave. Chicago, IL

When: Monday Nights, 8pm – 1am / Lessons from 8 – 9pm / Dancing from 9pm – 1am

Price: $7 ($5 with student I.D.)

Web: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Swing-Dancing-at-Fizz/73706742234


2) Chicago SummerDance Series:

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What: Dance to the sounds of 44 different live bands and get into step with dance lessons beforehand. Glide across the restored 4,900-square-foot, 100 percent recycled, open-air dance floor designed by Chicago artist Dan Peterman. Swing, waltz, cha-cha…or simply enjoy the music. FREE!

Where: Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park – 601 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL

When: Fridays and Saturdays 6pm – 9:30pm, and Sundays 4pm – 7pm throughout June, July, August and September

Price: FREE!

Website: http://www.chicagosummerdance.org/


3) Live Music and Dancing at Green Mill Lounge:

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What: Every Tuesday enjoy 1920s and 30s hot jazz for your listening and dancing pleasure. Every Thursday experience an old time radio broadcast up close and personal with Alan Gresik Swing Shift Orchestra

Where: Green Mill Lounge-  4802 North Broadway, Chicago, IL

When: Tuesday, and Thursday nights 9pm – 1am

Price: $6

Web: http://greenmilljazz.com/


4) The Global Dance Party:


What: The Global Dance Party is a Friday night series offering an exciting opportunity to experiment with dance styles from around the globe. Each evening will feature a dance class followed by two hours of music from live bands or DJs in the Myron R. Szold Music & Dance Hall.

Where: Old Town School of Folk Music – 4545 N Lincoln Ave · The Myron R. Szold Music & Dance Hall

When: Friday Nights at 8:30pm, Class then Social Dance with Live Music

Price: $10

Web: http://www.oldtownschool.org/concerts/globaldanceparty/


Do you have any favorite dance events in Chicago? Share your go-to’s in the comments  below!

Wedding How to : Fill the Dance Floor at Your Wedding Reception!


Your ceremony was gorgeous, your guests had a blast at cocktail hour, and your first dance as husband and wife went off without a hitch, but the party has only just begun! Of course you and your fiancé are going to have a great time partying at the reception; the day is all about you, after all… but how can you be sure your guests will join in on the fun?


Whether you hire a D.J. or a band to entertain your guests, there are a few crucial steps to keep in mind while coordinating with your entertainers. A beautiful, personalized, well-crafted reception can easily fall flat without the right music to keep the mood going, so don’t let this detail fall off your radar!

Here are some key points for customizing your reception entertainment:

1. Make a “DO NOT PLAY” list.

You and your fiancé should each come up with a list of songs and artists that you simply do not want to hear on your wedding day under any circumstances… i.e. songs that remind you of past relationships or bad memories, the chicken dance, or that Justin Beiber song that you can’t stand to hear one more time.


2. Consider your closest friends and family members, and add a couple of their favorites to the queue.

You know what gets your friends and family singin’ and dancin’, so even if it’s not your favorite song, make sure some of their favorites make it into the playlist. Not only will they appreciate you for thinking of them, but it’s also a sure-fire way to get them out on the dance floor.

3. Have a back-up plan.

Always account for the possibility of technical difficulties! D.J. equipment can falter, or the band might need to take a break. Assign a member of your wedding party to manage this type of situation. They can cue some impromptu speeches when the music stops or have speakers and an iPod on hand in the event of an emergency.

4. Hold your wedding party accountable.

They are there to support you, after all, so make them your dance floor ambassadors. Ask them to be out on the dance floor all night, and remind them to include everyone in the party. They should be pulling people onto the floor all night long.

5. Let it go.

Don’t micro-manage. You know your guests best, but chances are the D.J. or band you hired has been to more weddings than you have. As the experts, they should know how to control the mood of the party and handle any situations as they come. It’s important to share your vision with your entertainers, but try to leave the details to the professionals.Image

The party will undoubtedly be a hit if you’ve covered all of your bases! Now, all you have to do is dance the night away.

How did you plan for your reception entertainment? Share your reception entertainment tips below in the comments!


Dance and Your Sex Life

dirtydancing copy“Dancing is the vertical expression of a horizontal desire legalized by music.”

-George Bernard Shaw

It’s no secret that certain dances can really heat things up: think Flashdance, or that go- go dancer at the club last weekend. Ladies, I know you’re thinking about that scene in Dirty Dancing, and though I would thoroughly enjoy being thrust into the air like an angel, this baby would rather be in the corner with Swayze if you know what I mean. But, even more important than getting a little hot on the dance floor, the way we move with our partner can reveal a lot about our relationship preferences and sex lives behind the scenes.

In an article published in Psychology Today, Dr. Peter Lovatt suggests that we communicate the quality of our genes to potential mates through dance. He found that women prefer dancing with men with heightened testosterone levels, and men prefer dancing with women who are at the fertile stage of their cycle. Because there is a direct correlation between our hormonal levels and our preferred dance partner, Lovatt’s study proves that dance can even play a role in our mate selection process!

But, as intriguing as these findings are, we don’t need scientific proof to tell us that there are countless benefits to making dance a part of your relationship. Here are just a few:

1)    The experience of leading and following eachother through a dance builds intimacy and trust in your partnership.

2)    While learning together, both partners must exhibit patience, cooperation, and support: all necessary qualities for a healthy, thriving relationship.

3)    Dancing provides a special attention to physical connectivity and responsiveness, which translates directly into a more satisfying sex life. The knowledge you gain about your body as well as your partner’s provides you with the confidence and ability to satisfy each other’s needs.

Learning to dance with our partner gives us a place to practice these healthy patterns, which in turn, show up in our day-to-day experiences together. Plus, there is no denying that dancing with a partner is an intimate body contact experience, so what better way is there to connect and share time with your lover than holding each other in frame and moving in sync together?

How has dancing positively influenced your relationship? Share below in the comments!