Wedding (dance) planner

Agnes Lupe

SN&R Photo By Anne Stokes

A relationship, some would say, is a dance: twirls and whirls and dips, times to be apart and times to come together. It’s a routine of communicating, balancing and finding rhythm as two people move together as one, careful not to step on toes. Perhaps this is why the first dance for newlyweds is so special. In front of adoring eyes, newlyweds glide across the floor with moves of grace.

Agnes Lupa doesn’t care to get married. Still, she’s on call at her business, A Little Dance, for those who need direction with that first wedding dance. Lupa has helped more than 40 pairs in the past five years. With experience in ballroom, salsa and swing, she choreographs a routine to a song the couple selects. Then, in private hour-long sessions, she teaches them the dance, step by step.

Lupa is not your average dance instructor. At times, she plays the role of counselor, helping couples work through communication missteps, or a motivational coach, encouraging the poor chaps with the two heavy left feet. With wedding season in full bloom, Lupa may be just the one to help you and your significant other get off on the right foot. See her Web site at for more information.

When did the dancing bug first bite you?

I started dancing when I was little. When I lived in Chicago, I did Polish folk dancing and I was in this big parade downtown. I took Irish and ballroom-dancing classes in college. I did Irish Ceili, which is like the Irish version of square dancing, and Irish step dancing—like the river dance thing, but not that advanced. About five years ago, I became a dance instructor in Sacramento.

When did you decide you wanted to become a wedding-dance instructor?

Just recently. I was inspired this spring. The birds were singing, the sun was shining and love was in the air. And I really enjoy teaching couples. It’s fun seeing them all excited before their wedding. This is a time when a lot of people get married, during the summer.

What dances do you teach?

Partnered ballroom dances such as salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, rumba and merengue.

Is it hard to teach a dance to an almost-married couple?

What’s most difficult is trying to get them to have fun when each step is a challenge. You’re working with two different personalities, two different levels of learning. Sometimes, one person will try to take over teaching. Most women want to teach the guy. They’re like “I get it, why don’t you get it?” Some people have a hard time getting their bodies to move. If the other person doesn’t get it, there tends to be friction. I would have to separate them, put them in their corners [laughs].

Have you ever had a couple call off a wedding because they were incompatible on the dance floor?

No [laughs]. I’ve had couples argue and get frustrated but none that called off a wedding.

Do you ever attend the weddings of your students?

Very few, probably three or four. Usually, I’m just another person they’d have to invite to the wedding. If we become close friends or we’re friends already, then they’ll invite me. The dance is usually two minutes long so it goes by pretty quick. Everybody knows I’m the lady who taught them, so I’m definitely very nervous watching them and hoping they don’t make any mistakes.

So why don’t you see yourself getting married anytime soon?

I’ve never been one of those girls that have been planning a wedding since they were little. It just never comes up. Anyone can get married for any reason. It doesn’t mean they have that bond that’s understood. I think it’s important but what’s more important is the relationship, not the piece of paper that says you’re committed to the person legally. I’ve been in a relationship for a little more than 10 years and I already consider myself married.