Photo Credit: Elmira College

The mother-son dance is a staple of the wedding reception. Usually following the father-daughter dance of the bride and groom, this dance celebrates a mother’s pride in seeing her son grown and finding his life-partner. Most weddings feature slow music perfect for simple slow dances, but here in Athens, it’s easy to learn how to step-up the game for those mothers and sons who enjoy a challenge.

For an upbeat mother-son dance to lighten up your wedding after a heavier father-daughter dance, find a song with a good swing or foxtrot rhythm. Swing is best done in 6- or 8-counts, depending on the type of swing performed. The three main types of swing are Lindy Hop, East Coast and West Coast.

Lindy Hop is characterized by a “slow, slow, quick, quick” step pattern. This is the oldest recognized form of swing, and it was started by African Americans in the 1930s. Lindy Hop can be done in either the 6- or 8-count. The video below shows the basic steps of Lindy Hop slowed down to a speed that better fits most mother-son song choices.

 

East Coast swing is possibly the most recognizable style of swing; it’s the way we imagine girls in poodle skirts dancing. The step pattern is either “step, step, rock-step” or a “one-and-two, three-and-four, rock-step” depending on if it is single-step or triple-step, respectively. This dance is usually best for upbeat songs with a lot of fun energy.

 

West Coast swing is much smoother than East Coast. The step pattern is “one-two, triple-step, walk-walk”. This differs from East Coast swing in that the first triple-step becomes a push step and the rock-step is replaced by a walking step, and this gives the dance its smoother feel. The most common move for a beginner in West Coast is called a sugar push. The partners separate on push step and then pull back together on the walking step. Starting at :50, the following video walks you through the basics of the West Coast sugar push.

 

 

Foxtrot follows a very different pattern than swing and is more similar to waltz. The step pattern is “walk, walk, step together”. Where the waltz is ¾ time, foxtrot follows 4/4 time. This dance was born to the big band-era and works well with blues style music. Foxtrot is a simple dance that allows the dancers to put a nice “bounce” in their step without reaching the energy levels of East Coast swing.

 

 

Now for the hard part: picking a song you can dance to. Thankfully, many popular mother-son songs fit the bill for swing and foxtrot. “A Song for Mama” by Boyz 2 Men can feature slow swing or foxtrot. “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong is perfect for a bluesy foxtrot whereas “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts makes for a great swing song. “Letter to my Mother” by Edwin McCain, “Child of Mine” by Carole King and “93 Million Miles” by Jason Mraz are all potential songs for an upbeat mother-son dance.

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Dancefx

Learning ballroom dance is easy to do here in Athens. The UGA Ballroom and Social Dance Club hosts weekly dance lessons and will hold lesson-series that focus on a single style of dance throughout the year. For newsletters and information on the club, see their website or Facebook page. Most of their events are open to the general public. Dancefx also offers ballroom classes for those interested in learning multiple styles of ballroom. These classes are taught by Natalie Cox, an experienced ballroom dancer who also works with UGA’s Ballroom Performance Group and the UGA dance program. She can be contacted directly through the faculty page for detailed inquiries.

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