Interview with Kenny Nelson of Swingin' Denver dance studio
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Kenny Nelson. I'm an internationally renowned swing dance instructor and run Swingin' Denver, a local swing dance studio, and event organizer. I became a dance instructor out of happenstance in Overland Park, KS. This happened back in 2000 or 2001, too long ago to remember the specifics, but there was probably a need and I filled it.
As far as why some of my dance studio work is in the wedding industry, I want people to be able to take the floor for their first dance with confidence and have a great time in the spotlight. I also really enjoy teaching at weddings so their guests can feel more comfortable dancing to swing music whether that's DJ'ed or live.
What are the most popular dances you teach at your dance studio?
The most popular dances we teach are lindy hop, charleston, balboa, east coast swing and solo jazz. For the most appropriate dance choice for your wedding, it honestly depends on the song you've chosen. If you're brand new to swing, we'll start people off at our dance studio with private lessons featuring east coast swing. You should have the dance instructor listen to your song and get their thoughts on your vision.
“You should have the dance instructor listen to your song and get their thoughts on your vision if you have“
Which parameters are the most important to couples?
Can you make us look good and what are we going to learn? The most important parameters I find are providing them material they can accomplish within the timeframe they have between the lesson(s) at the dance studio and wedding, their budget for lessons, if they will dedicate time to practice, and if they want a set choreography versus social dancing. We take it from there.
Tips for couples who are interviewing a dance instructor?
You should have the dance instructor listen to your song and get their thoughts on your vision if you have. I have had couples email me asking to swing dance to their chosen song and I find that we may not be a good match.
If that is the case, I make recommendations for where to find a better match. Otherwise, do ask for suggestions. You should ask about their cost, where is their dance studio, and what their availability looks like. You want them to match your budget, allotted travel time, and schedule
“The first dance is important because it's the kind of wonderful shared intimacy between you, your partner and the music, surrounded by your family and friends.“
Are there things that differentiate dance instructors?
Yes, there are several things that differentiate dance instructors and knowing that you're talking with a good one can be difficult. From my experience, each dance studio truly cares about you having a successful experience. How they get there can be different.
There are some that will teach you similar material to other couples on a prescribed schedule. This can mean that they will dole out only so much material even if you're a fast learner. We're more nimble and flexible here. Depending on your desires, you could ask if you'll learn something unique and if they adjust the teaching pace to the student.
Tell us why do you think the first dance is important.
The first dance is important because it's the kind of wonderfully shared intimacy between you, your partner and the music, surrounded by your family and friends.
”If you're on a tight budget, I'd recommend wedding dance lessons and maybe one private lesson to solidify things“
What's the typical budget that the bride should set aside for these services?
For our dance studio, we recommend setting aside $250 for private lessons. For booking our teaching and entertainment services at a wedding, I'd recommend $225. Our price for 3 private lessons is set while our wedding entertainment services fluctuate depending on our travel time and length of time we'll be there. If you're on a tight budget, I'd recommend wedding dance lessons and maybe one private lesson to solidify things.
Any tips for future brides and grooms?
Please think the best of your partner and believe that they are doing their best to learn what is being taught at the dance studio. Please communicate with understanding and compassion.