By Guest Blogger Ajay Mankotia
A must-have event in weddings are the dances enacted by the family members and close friends of the bride on the occasion of cocktail. The bride also usually participates. Some grooms join in, some don’t. If it’s a destination wedding, then the groom, being a captive, has no choice really. The performance dance not only lifts up the proceedings considerably but also leads to family bonding and camaraderie. But there are many challenges which need to be addressed.
1. Finding the right choreographer:
If you have a wedding planner, then it’s no big issue – he/she will have some names on his/her panel. But if you don’t, then you need to go to their sites and short-list them. You will need to meet them and assess their suitability depending on your budget and what ideas they come up with. You must see their portfolio to check the quality of their work.
2. Selection of the relatives / friends:
This is a real headache -how to balance the need to include the immediate family, uncles, aunts, cousins and close friends, in a limited time frame? For if the time on stage drags on, the audience loses interest and wanders off. And if the bride is coming in at the finale, she doesn’t want to be dancing before a sparse crowd, with the rest of the crowd guffawing away at the bar. So the program needs to be tight and compact. The upper limit is 30 minutes – which means 6 to 7 items. So the list of items needs to be decided accordingly. Also, the number of dancers in each item needs to be carefully considered. Too many could spoil the broth! You don’t want the stage cluttered; you don’t want uncoordinated movements which are bound to happen if there are too many people jostling each other on the stage. Drawing a line can lead to disgruntlement or even an animus which doesn’t get forgotten for life -so typical of family feuds. And lastly, what happens if the close aunt has two left feet? Do you ask her, with all the tact at your disposal, to sit it out and instead take the not-so-close aunt who dances like Rekha? Well, it’s your call and don't expect me to answer every query of yours.
This exercise can be endless. If the dancers in each segment home in on a song after discussion, you are lucky. The problem happens when there is no decision. How long do you wait for democracy to run its course? When do you say ‘enough’ and impose your will? Also, you need to ensure that overall there is a uniformity and continuity and each segment segues into the next one without sounding jarring or out of place.
This is the biggest pain in the neck or wherever - how to ensure full attendance of all participants on a given day and time. Somebody has to work late, someone is out of the country, the cousin is sick, the nephew has exams. A logistical nightmare! A proper rehearsal takes at least 2 months if you are practicing once a week. But, in the end, we all muddle through and put up a half-decent show when the Big Day arrives. But, believe me, the parents of the bride, especially the mother, is set back by several grey hair and high blood pressure. By the way, rehearsals also involve food and drinks to the participants as a bonus for their weekly show of strength. But all the troubles are worth it. The show is all about enjoyment for the dancers and the guests. So what if someone forgets their step, or someone slips, or the dress tears. The audience doesn’t care. As long as everyone is having fun, and the bride and groom are basking in the love and affection showered by the family and friends, the program is a success.