Dancing is an expression of celebration. Traditionally a couple that have just married will in most instances take to the dance floor later in the day and dance together for the first time as husband and wife. It depends on the culture as to what type of dance the couple will choose to do and also what the rest of the wedding party will do while they are dancing.
In the Sesotho culture it is tradition that the husband and wife will hold hands side by side and do a dance routine called ‘uchanta’. The rest of the friends and relatives will be filling the hills with beautiful joyous ululation to express their happiness at the union of the bride and groom.
In the English and Afrikaans culture, a waltz is a very typical slow dance routine. It is often favoured by the bride because she doesn’t want to trip on her long white dress. The reception may join in the dancing after a few minutes or at the end of the first song, as well as clap hands and cheer in appreciation.
There are many dance studios these days that specialize in teaching wedding routines and, depending on what style of music the bride and groom may like, will influence their first dance choice. There is the foxtrot, the merengue, the swing, the rumba, the chacha, the mamba or maybe even the very sultry tango to choose from. Some couples may like to mix it up and do their very own rock n roll or disco choreography. At the end of the day the dance style that is chosen needs to express what you and your partner are feeling in that moment as well as a bit of your individuality.
A Zulu wedding is filled with much traditional dancing and singing. The bride’s family will lead a procession of singing and dancing to the groom’s house before the wedding ceremony has started and ask the groom’s father to open the gate to them. This is a symbol of acceptance of the bride into her new family. Tradition is something incredible in itself, a timeless gem that is passed on from generation to generation.
A wedding dance will always be a special moment for a bride and groom, whether traditional or contemporary, there will always be a joyous reception and nobody will be judging the couples’ ability on a scale of ten. It is a moment to enjoy, celebrate and let your hair down.