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Your Quinceanera Dances: All You Need to Know

Traditionally, your Quinceanera dance on your 15th birthday should be your very first dance with a male. In the past, until she turned 15, it was considered improper for a girl to dance with a boy. Though this is hardly the norm now, with dances starting much earlier for kids and teens alike, tradition is tradition, and this one is not to be taken lightly.

Some people still consider the Quinceanera dance to be the most important aspect of your celebration!

Always keep in mind your Quinceanera’s original purpose: Your presentation to society as a young woman. This is of the utmost importance and will help you choose the best options for all aspects your dance.

The Quince dance is a way to show society and your loved ones your values, including whom you choose for friends and companions. It’s also a way to showcase how you’ve grown in grace, manners and refinement. And again, the Quinceanera dance signifies—at least symbolically—your first dance in public. The older tradition held that girls were allowed to dance only with other girls at school or family functions before their 15th birthday. Anything else was unacceptable.

Another lovely aspect of the Quinceanera dance is that it’s a way to show the men in your life how much they have influenced you, and how much they mean to you. This applies especially to the father-daughter dance. You can also choose to dance with all the other father figures in your life.

So now, you need to look at all the options available for a Quinceanera dance. First of all, will you go traditional or modern? The easiest way to answer this question may be to look into the type of music you want. Like all other aspects of your Quinceanera, the dance should center on you and your journey thus far, so the songs and the music should be meaningful to you. Your music should give you a happy little heart tug when you take the floor!

So which version of the Quinceanera dance speaks to you? If you go with a traditional tune and the classic waltz, you and your court will still learn something new because of the precision required in traditional ballroom dancing. You could also go the opposite direction and opt for modern choreography with current popular music. You can even fashion your dances around the theme of your Quince.

Your next step is to choose whom you want to dance with. Keep in mind that you don’t have to limit yourself to the members of your court. There may be others in your life who would love the opportunity to dance with you, and who mean enough to you that you want to include them. You can even dance with the significant women in your life, like your mom, or maybe a mentor.

Quinceanera choreography can seem tricky and complicated, but don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Take it—literally—step by step, taking your time to learn the basic routine. Once you’ve got the footwork nailed down, you can focus on other aspects such as dancing gracefully and portraying emotion with your movements.

You should bring your entire court with you, or at least those key people who will be part of the dance. It’s possible that not everyone can make all the practices, but even if they’re natural dancers or fast learners, they need to attend at least half the rehearsals. Everyone needs to know what they’re doing so that it all goes smoothly on your special night.

Make sure to tell people, when you invite them to be in your court, that some level of commitment is needed on their end. Some may say no because they simply don’t have the time (or perhaps they’re extremely self-conscious). Don’t demand anything from anyone. You can always adjust the number of people who do the formal dances. These are your friends, and they want to give to you, but not everyone can give what it takes for successful full-out Quinceanera choreography.

When it comes to your dad and other family members, it all depends on how much choreography you want them to learn. If you’re okay with just a slow dance so those men you love can talk with you and share a few words of wisdom, there’s no need to ask them to practice. If you really want to give your guests a show, though, and your loved ones don’t mind learning a new thing or two, then schedule practices for them as well. Just understand that the older generation may find it harder to find practice time, and also may not want to do anything fancy.

Make a point to practice in front of a mirror so you can see how you look. That way you’ll see firsthand what you’re doing wrong, or if something looks awkward, and you can adjust accordingly. Dancing in front of a mirror is also a great way to practice not looking at your feet! You want people to see your face—and cameras catching you smiling at your guests—even as you wow them with fancy footwork.

You should also practice while wearing your high heels, and if possible, your dress or at least a practice skirt that mimics your gown’s full skirt. You don’t need to do this for every practice, but you should get a feel for how the skirt will weigh you down on the night itself. Never underestimate the pull of the dress, its length, or its volume. You also might find out that you move so much differently in your original shoe selection that you need to change them out for something more danceable.

Practicing in your actual Quince wear will go far to help you make sure you have all your bases covered. But if you really want your dress to be a surprise, then again, dance in something with a similar silhouette and weight. You might even buy a super-cheap used dress from someplace like Goodwill or Salvation Army—perhaps a bridal gown with a full skirt or a heavy bridesmaid or prom dress—anything that’s close to the weight and fullness of your actual Quince dress.

Ideally, start dance practice at least two months before your Quince, and hold practices twice a week. This will give your court options to attend without pressuring them to learn too much in too little time. Two months before is also just right because you and your group won’t be so likely to forget the routine or freeze up in the middle of the dance.

Above all, have fun! Yes, you need to practice so that things go smoothly, but because “stuff just happens” no matter how much preparation you put into it, also try to practice “let it go” by laughing at your mistakes during practice. Don’t let a literal misstep ruin your night. Just run with it!