Best foot forward – the first dance with Marius Caluser
As a wedding planner, one of the things that I am regularly asked about is the first dance – what works, what doesn’t and how to plan it to perfection.
Ultimately it all comes down to choosing a moment that best reflects the couple – for some this is a highly choreographed show-stopping routine, for others it’s an altogether more understated affair. Either way, the best thing to do is consult an expert and over the course of my career I’ve had the privilege of coming into contact with a number of leading lights in the field.
This month, I caught up with Marius Caluser who is a top dancer and choreographer to glean some insight:
- You’re a world-renowned dancer, but tell us about how it all began:
I can’t help smiling when you ask that. It all began as a mistake. I never planned to start dancing or teaching. But the best things in life sometimes happen by chance.
I was born in beautiful Transylvania, Romania, almost 25 years ago. Coming from a single parent family, I had only one role model – the best possible – my mom. She was always very busy, and I wanted to use my time efficiently as well. So, as a child, I never wanted to spend my days just playing with other kids. My desire was to grow, be inspired and learn from adults. At the age of six, I was involved in a lot of activities, such as swimming, modeling and singing. But for some reason, not dancing. Because of my mom’s tight schedule, my grandmother would take me to all these activities. Imagine: swimming on Monday afternoon, singing lesson on Wednesday morning, modeling twice a week, and so on. It was a bit confusing to my grandmother who would sometimes forget which class I was going to. One day she got the address for my swimming lesson wrong. That day changed my whole life. Guess where we ended up? In a dance studio. The minute I walked in, I knew I never wanted to leave. And I never left.
- Was teaching a logistical progression from learning to dance? What led you to take it up?
I’ve always had a lot of energy and like to try new things. From dancing to law, and from law to fashion. I also studied journalism, and was even working as a journalist for a while back home. Funnily enough, it was journalism which led me to teaching.
Five years ago I moved to London, and after tons of interviews I was offered a job as a TV-presenter. On my way to the final interview, I saw a ballroom dance school and walked in. Five minutes later, I found out they needed a teacher. So, you can probably image what happened… I needed a job, they needed a teacher. The next day, I updated my Facebook status: Marius started working as a Ballroom Teacher/Choreographer
Now I’d say that teaching is the most beautiful job I can imagine. People put so much faith in me, and in return I have the joy of seeing them grow. Spiritually, it’s a little bit like parenting, and a great responsibility.
- The First Dance is a cornerstone of a couple’s wedding day, yet all too often it is left to the last minute in the midst of wider wedding planning, with couples picking a song and even finalizing the dance itself moments before they tie the knot. Tell us, when should a couple keen to take classes look to contact you?
As soon as one of them proposes! No, but seriously, it depends on what we want to achieve with the First Dance. Is the goal to look like Fred and Ginger, or just to avoid the dreaded High School Sway? Either way, I think the sooner they get in touch, the better.
Because my classes will be tailored to meet their needs, we usually start with an evaluation lesson where I gauge their ability to learn and find out if they have any previous dance experience. Based on that, we establish our goal and mission, and I’ll create a unique programme tailored to their specific requirements.
- Could you tell us more about your services, and your role in a couple’s special day?
For most couples, the wedding day is one of the most important days of their lives, and the highlight of the reception is always the First Dance. If the couple feels confident and poised, the First Dance will be a memory they and their guests will cherish forever. So, you can say that my role is to make the couple feel comfortable on the most beautiful day of their life. I usually advise my wedding couples to practice at home in between lessons, and if something doesn’t work, I’m one phone call away. And trust me – they always practice!
- Can anyone become a dancer…or at least manage the basics to get through the first dance?
Absolutely. I hear a lot of people saying they don’t have rhythm or they have two left feet. But it doesn’t matter as long as you have the desire to learn. Dancing is about expression, honesty and vulnerability, and being responsive and attentive to your partner. It creates a very powerful bond. When dancing you get to know each other on a whole new level. So, if there’s love, there’s dancing.