Featured Vendor Shout-Outs

Vendor Shout-Out: PDX Flash Mob

We encourage you to take your wedding dances to the next level by hiring a professional to choreograph some songs and teach you some moves! If expressing yourself or entertaining your guests through dance sounds like something you definitely want to incorporate into your wedding day then Nikki Gaither, owner of PDX Flash Mob, is just the person you need to connect with! Whether it’s a slow dance or a fast dance, unique or basic, she will give you the confidence you need to thoroughly enjoy yourself while wowing your guests as well. First dances, father/daughter dances, bridal party dances, or even a full on flash mob performance…yes…she can guide you. You will be blown away by her talent and dedication to what she does. Read on to learn more about her!

PDX Flash Mob

Photo: Nikki Gaither

Where are you originally from? And how long have you been in Portland?

I am a native Oregonian (hard to find those these days, right?)! I grew up in Newport, on the coast. After high school, I attended and graduated from the University of Oregon and lived in Eugene for 10 years or so. Then, after some international work and travel, I resettled in Portland in 2013.

What is your favorite thing about Portland?

I think that if I had choose just ONE thing that’s my favorite, it would have to be the people. I feel like Portland has some of the most genuine and giving people around. I’m constantly inspired by the new people I meet as I learn what they’re all about and what they do. Over the years, I’ve learned that I thrive the most in environments where people are kind and caring, and I feel like Portlanders exude that vibe, which is why so many folks are flocking here.

Photo credit: Jessica Hill Photography

What is your favorite spot or thing to do in Portland?

My favorite thing to do in and around Portland (another top reason why I love living here) is to get outside and play in nature. Whether it’s hiking in Forest Park, swimming and camping on the Columbia River, or taking my dog, Rita, to Thousand Acres Park, everything is in such proximity to home. I love having so many options and ways to get out and explore.

How long have you been working as a professional wedding dance choreographer?

About three years now. We’re coming up on my fourth summer. But I’ve been teaching dance for over 15 years now.

What people/training/experiences/opportunities led you to this career path?

I was (and still am) teaching dance at Studio One Dance Academy, and I kept getting these wedding dance and flash mob opportunities sent my way. The more of them I did, the more I realized how much I enjoyed them. Dance is filled with emotion, and bringing that expression into a wedding environment, on potentially the most important day of one’s life? Well, the feeling of watching that unfurl is indescribable. I fell in love with watching LOVE through movement and decided I wanted to do more and more of it. And then I started asking myself, “WHY are people contacting a studio for 3-to-18-year-olds when they need wedding services?” And after searching around, I didn’t feel like that niche was filled in Portland, so I threw my hat in the ring and started my own business, PDX Flash Mob.

wedding dances

Photo courtesy of Nikki Gaither

How would you describe the importance of your role, and why do you feel a couple should hire a professional dance choreographer for their wedding day?

My role is very important in that I do SO much more than just choreograph wedding dances. If my customers don’t have an event planner, for example, I often end up helping fiancés figure out what the timeline of their reception should like and where the dance best fits in to keep the party flowing right. I also think about ALL the details for your dance the day of, to ensure it goes flawlessly (what is the dance floor made of and where is it? What shoes are you wearing? Can you do THOSE moves in YOUR dress? Is the sound equipment working properly? Etc.) I can also tailor a dance to your skill level and your style. You want a romantic slow dance to “Time of My Life” from “Dirty Dancing”? Done it. You want a flash mob to “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson? I’ve done that too. No dance style or dream is too far-reaching. We LOVE unique projects.

We also help you get ready for the performance aspect of a first dance or flash mob. Yes, your dance will be performed in front of all your wedding guests, family, and friends, and we want you to SHINE and feel ready for it. Now, if you’re hiring us to come and teach party dances DURING your wedding (which we also do), I would say that the value of that should also not be underrated. A lot of people are intimidated by dancing, and a simple lesson before you start grovin’ can really help to boost confidence. A great dance party post-wedding ceremony should not be underestimated. It can be a huge success or a huge flop, and we can make sure people get on their feet and that they’re feeling comfortable and having fun.

wedding dances

Photo credit: Jessica Hill Photography

What is the best part of your job?

Getting to know the couples (or otherwise) who hire me. I’ve unintentionally created many friendships through my business. It is so special to get to know my clients better throughout the weeks or months of practices leading up to the event and then watch the whole thing unfold together. I have several videos of my clients’ dances that I still get choked up watching no matter how many times I see them. Watching a couple’s love grow, and getting to witness that moment of celebration through a dance they’ve worked so hard on together, is very special, touching, and unforgettable. It’s why I’m in this business.

What do you find most challenging about your specific line of work or weddings in general?

The expectations. Sometimes people want me to turn them into Michael Jackson in one month’s time when they’ve never taken a dance class before in their life. I’m like, “I’m a dance teacher, not a magician.”

Do you work solo or do you have a studio and/or team?

I am the sole owner/employee of my business, but I do have other professional dancers at my disposal for you to hire out. We also have a really cool program established within my studio, Studio One Dance Academy: If you want to use our dancers for a flash mob, we simply ask that you make a donation to their performing team fund so they can continue to do what they love and travel to compete in places like Disneyland or Vegas. it’s a win-win all around, and most of my clients have loved the aspect of giving back to a cause they care about in the midst of all their wedding planning. Some have even gone above and beyond and set up stations for donations for the performing team at their weddings. It amazes me what big hearts people have.

wedding dance lessons

Photo courtesy of Nikki Gaither

What do you attribute to your success as a wedding dance choreographer? What do you think makes you stand apart from others in your field?

I care. And I mean, I really care. I won’t stop reworking choreography or editing music until YOU are 100 percent satisfied with the end result. Weddings are a big deal. It’s your special day, and I want it to be as perfect for you as it can be. And I think what makes me stand out and apart from others in my field is that I’m the ONLY one in my field — with a flash mob business in Portland at the time being, at least. I think people in Portland appreciate uniqueness and individuality and are happy to know that I can teach them a flapper-style dance, or some breakdancing moves, or an ’80s-inspired dance, for example. I have such a wide range of dance styles that I’m knowledgeable in — I think clients (and audiences) are refreshed by seeing something different.

At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you?

The sooner, the better (because things do get booked to the max, especially in the summer), but if you want to do a first dance or a flash mob, usually, getting notice one month in advance is sufficient.

wedding dance lessons

Photo courtesy of Nikki Gaither

Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?

I draw inspiration from my fellow teachers/choreographers at Studio One. I’m constantly trying to push myself as both a teacher and a dancer, and that means continuing to push the envelope with new, exciting projects. AS far as current trends go, I’ve had a lot of fun father/daughter dances I’ve choreographed in the last year or so. Who doesn’t like to see a dad having a booty-shaking contest with his daughter while clad in Lady Gaga attire? (Yes, that really happened.)

What is the most important thing that couples should ask someone in your profession before hiring them?

Gosh, this is a hard one. I guess I would ask what their experience looks like: Make sure you’re hiring a professional. Even better, don’t ask them — do your research. Yelp, Facebook, and other online reviews should not be underestimated.

What is your best advice for wedding clients?

Hands down, be TRUE to YOU. There can be a lot of noise when planning weddings — people LOVE to give unsolicited advice! Don’t listen unless you want to. your day is about YOU and your partner. You deserve to have it go exactly the way you want it to. Don’t do it for anybody else — you’ll regret it.

Anything else you’d like couples to know about you?

The best way to reach is by email at [email protected], by phone at 678-848-1363, or by visiting our website at pdxflashmob.com.

The featured image for this courtesy of Moving Pictures.