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Robert Abrams
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Wedding Dances
Various Partner Dances

Wedding Biographies – a new feature and service of ExploreDance.com that can help record cherished memories

by Robert Abrams
April 25, 2009
Weddings are a type of event where people who do not think of themselves as dancers often do get out on the floor and dance. I have been thinking about how a dance magazine such as ExploreDance.com could cover weddings. If we can reach people at weddings, and set weddings in the larger context of dance, we might be able to get more people to keep dancing after the wedding is over. Before a wedding happens, people would be able to see reports of other weddings, see what a good time people had while dancing, and perhaps take a few dance lessons. After a wedding is over, people would be reminded of what a good time they had dancing, and perhaps decide to try a few dance parties.

I am pleased to announce a new feature and service of ExploreDance.com: wedding biographies.

Many couples already take their first dance very seriously, such as by hiring a dance teacher to choreograph a special routine. Any dancer who puts serious effort into his or her work deserves to be covered, and wedding couples who put serious effort into the dancing at their wedding should have the opportunity to be covered too. (As an added bonus, if the wedding biography concept takes off, it will create more employment opportunities for dance critics.)

Most couples now routinely hire a photographer and a videographer to record their wedding. Almost no one, as far as I am aware, thinks about creating a text record of the event (other than celebrities who get coverage from a newspaper or magazine). A picture may be worth a thousand words, and a really artistically laid out wedding album may be worth one hundred thousand words, but sometimes there is no substitute for well-written text.

I used my own wedding as an opportunity to experiment with what a wedding biography could look like. I hired Mindy Aloff, one of the best dance critics in the business, to attend the wedding and write it up. Mindy prepared for the wedding by conducting phone interviews with Sima, my then fiancée, and myself. Mindy attended the wedding, observing and conversing with guests. Afterwards she wrote the biography, including, among other rich detail, background information about songs played at the wedding that even Sima and I were not aware of. Around the time the first draft of the biography was done, I realized that the voices of several key participants were not included in the biography. I had not thought to ask Mindy to specifically include such people. Mindy then went back and did short telephone interviews with key participants (immediate family, the best man and the matron of honor). We decided to use these separately as "wedding interviews." (The interviews were polished with a member check process to make sure each person was happy with his or her interview.) I created a web version of the video of the first dance. I selected some photos that emphasized the dancing, and then had a graphic artist create illustrations based on a few of the photos. Okay, maybe I went a little overboard, but a year and a half later I am still happily married, so it is all good.

One of my goals, for my own wedding at least, was to showcase not just the first dance, or the official wedding dances, but the idea of a "dance wedding." Everyone can dance, and at my wedding, nearly everyone did dance. I think the biography makes this clear and shows some of what made this possible.

Of course, what one would choose to emphasize in a wedding biography would depend entirely on the wishes of the wedding couple. For instance, if a wedding couple wanted to emphasize the food at the wedding, they could hire a food critic, rather than a dance critic, and post more photos of the food. A section of the biography could emphasize the toasts, with videos. The wedding interview process could be made more extensive.

A wedding biography can be intended as a public record, as mine was so that it could serve as an example for others, or it could be written for the private use of the wedding couple and any of their guests with whom they choose to share it.

Whether a wedding couple wants a modest written record of their event, or wants to go a little crazy with it, a wedding biography can be a valuable addition that will refresh cherished memories for years to come.

To see one example of what a wedding biography can be, please read Robert and Sima Abrams' Wedding Biography.

If you would like ExploreDance.com to create a wedding biography of your own wedding, please contact Robert Abrams at editor@ExploreDance.com .
Robert and Sima Abrams' first dance

Robert and Sima Abrams' first dance

Photo © & courtesy of Steven Tackeff

Robert and Sima Abrams

Robert and Sima Abrams

Photo © & courtesy of Steven Tackeff

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