Debutante Balls are exciting rites of passage for high school senior ladies and their families. The beauty of the gowns, flowers and decor of the evening matched with the the exciting video show of each of the debutante's accomplishments and future plans coupled with all the friends and family in attendance makes for a magical memory that the debutante will have for the rest of her life.
I have had the pleasure of being involved with the Assistance League, Children's Home Society and the National Charity League in Orange County as a dance instructor and choreographer for their Father Daughter dances. (I was a Ticktocker myself, in my home-town of Upland!)
The Father Daughter Dance does not have to be a difficult dance but I would recommend at least four rehearsals with some rehearsals at the dance studio and at least one rehearsal at the venue so dads can get used to leading on the exact sized dance floor they'll be dancing on the night of Presents!
At rehearsals, debutantes should wear heels about the same height as they'll be "presented" in and dad's should wear leather soled shoes to simulate their formal footwear.
At the final rehearsal in the space, the debutantes and dads need to wear their gloves so everyone can get used to the more slippery feel of the lead and follow.
I recommend that the Father Daughter Dance be choreographed although I have, at the request of the participants, simply taught figures to the dads and daughters for them to improvise with during the actual dance.
The reason I do not recommend this is because there will be a lot going on that day and maybe that's just a bit too much pressure for dads to each make up their dance right on the spot and not bump into their neighbors in the process!
Also, ultimately a choreographed group dance just looks more professional visually to the audience than a mixture of dance figures and dancing. After all it is a big day and everything is being done to make it absolutely perfect - so why not make sure the Father Daughter Dance is just as incredible!
The St. James Bow is also a must for the debutantes to learn and execute well at their Debutante Ball. I would allow some time in the venue, separate from the dance instruction rehearsals, to get the ladies familiar with the bow as well as how to accomplish the "meet and greet" with their parents and "handoff" from escort to dad.
All these little details can be challenging for excited debutantes on their big day already full to overflowing with fun and frenzy if they're not handled in advance.
Music for the Father Daughter Dance is usually a waltz and usually between three and four minutes. Recent song choices for Father Daughter Dances have been: "My Little Girl" by Tim McGraw, "The First Waltz" from the movie The Young Victoria, "Daughters" by John Mayer and "Moon River" by Andy Williams.
Email Jillian about your song choices if you would like to know more about the dancing that would go with the song you're considering or just need some song ideas. Often the debutantes or event organizers have thoughts about what song they would like to use.
Sometimes classical music is considered but be aware a great many "classical waltzes" are actually Viennese waltzes, not regular slowish waltzes, and can be very fast and difficult for dads with just a few rehearsals to dance with their daughters.
Many times a foxtrot is used that is pretty and upbeat instead of a waltz. If you are considering a foxtrot please email Jillian for more information since foxtrot dancing can need a bit more rehearsal time for dads and debutantes to master the beat and figures.
WIKIPEDIA DEFINITION OF DEBUTANTE AND DEBUTANTE BALL
A débutante (from the French débutante, "female beginner") is a young lady from an aristocratic or upper class family who has reached the age of maturity, and as a new adult, is introduced to society at a formal presentation known as her "début".
Originally, it meant the young woman was eligible to marry,and part of the purpose was to display her
to eligible bachelors and their families with a view to marriage within a select upper class circle.
This traditional event varies by region, but is typically referred to as a Débutante Ball if it is for a group of débutantes. A cotillion or débutante ball in the United States is a formal presentation of young ladies, débutantes, to "polite society".
Débutantes are usually recommended by a distinguished committee or sponsored by an established member of élite society. Wearing white gowns and satin or kid gloves, the débutantes stand in a receiving line, and then are introduced individually to the audience.
The débutante is announced and then is walked around the stage, guided by her father who then presents her. Her younger male escort then joins her and escorts her away. Each débutante brings at least one escort, sometimes two. Many débutante balls select escorts and then pair them with the debs to promote good social pairings.
Cotillions may be elaborate formal affairs and involve not only "debs" but junior débutantes, escorts and ushers, flower girls and pages as well. Every débutante must perform a curtsy also known as the St. James Bow or a full court bow. This gesture is made as the young woman is formally presented. Débutante balls exist in nearly every major city in the United States but are more common and a larger affair in the South.
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Make your Father Daughter Debutante Dance as special as everything else on your Presents day!