If you’re looking for a dance instructor to help you and your partner choreograph an amazing first dance on your wedding day, then we are thrilled to have you meet Lindsay Miller Stokes, also known as The Wedding Choreographer! Lindsay is a dancer and coach who provides wedding dance lessons for engaged couples and loves to help them feel confident about their first dance! Get your dancing shoes ready, and read on to learn more!
Where are you originally from? And how long have you been in Portland?
I’m originally from Boulder, Colorado. I’ve been in the Portland area about a year. I moved here last August with my husband, our 1-year old daughter, and our dog.
What is your favorite thing about Portland?
The food is amazing. And I love all of the flowering trees and gorgeous blossoms in the Spring!
What is your favorite spot or thing to do in Portland?
I love grabbing a cocktail on the outside patio at Departure and taking in the views, then going Salsa dancing with my husband at the Atlantis Lounge in NE! Also love hiking in Forest Park.
How long have you been working as a professional wedding dance instructor?
Part-time since 2010!
What led you to this career path?
Dance has always been my passion. I’ve been dancing since I was 10. I was choreographing dances for my sister and cousins to perform during the holidays and at family reunions! I was fortunate to train professionally in NYC and Los Angeles. I love performing and teaching and have been teaching dance for 10 years. So not much has changed except that now I have a professional dance training background and I get paid to do what I love – how lucky am I?!
How would you describe the importance of your role & why do you feel a couple should hire a professional dance instructor for their wedding day?
Dancing can feel very vulnerable for a lot of people! I teach them skills so that they feel competent getting on the dance floor for their first dance as a married couple. Couples who work with me have fun and feel confident in front of their friends and family. Also, your first dance is such a great way to kick off your reception and get the dance party started!
What is the best part of your job?
Getting to be creative, meeting amazing people, seeing my clients’ confidence grow when they realize they can dance!
What do you find most challenging about your specific line of work or weddings in general?
There can be a lot of internal pressure that couples feel for everything to be absolutely perfect. This mindset can get in the way when you’re learning how to dance. You have to learn to be ok with making mistakes and learn to go with the flow. One of my favorite quotes is “If you stumble make it part of your dance.” It’s my mantra because no matter what happens, if you’re connecting with your partner and having fun, that’s all that really matters.
Do you work solo or do you have a studio and/or team?
What do you attribute to your success as a wedding dance instructor? What do you think makes you stand apart from others in your field?
I am a positive, encouraging coach with a background in many styles of dance. I only offer individualized private lessons (no group classes), and 1 on 1 attention to your vision. I am passionate about dance and have the ability to challenge you and meet you where you’re at.
At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you?
About 6-9 months before the wedding is a pretty good time frame depending on the complexity of your dance. At least 3 months before your wedding is recommended, though I’ve certainly had a few couples who squeezed in a lesson the week before their wedding. Better late than never!
Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?
I love watching dance shows like Dancing with the Stars and World of Dance. It’s also fun to use props like boas, hats, or sunglasses as part of your first dance or with your wedding party! Also LOVE extra effects like bubbles, sparklers, snow, and glitter bombs to incorporate into the dance.
Anything else you’d like couples to know about you?
I truly believe that “there are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them!” And even if you think you can’t dance…give it a try. You might surprise yourself.
Featured image in this post of Lindsay on her own wedding day by Yellow Paddle Photography. All videos courtesy of The Wedding Choreographer.
This Vendor Shout-Out was curated by Dana Barbar, a local writer and trusted wedding professional.