While a career in dance isn’t exactly common, Mound’s Caitlin Camarda was joining the family business.
The owner of Tulle Tuxedo, a ballroom and wedding dance studio located in Mound, Camarda, grew up in the dance world with parents who were three-time U.S. champions and third in the world in ballroom dancing.
“My mom was a ballet dancer growing up, and continued with ballroom dancing after high school,” says Camarda. “She met my dad at a dance studio and they became partners.”
A young Camarda soon began competing in pairs with her dad, then moved to dance line in high school, directing dance for musical performances, and perfecting her ballroom and Latin focus, landing her with the title of Minnesota Salsa Champion.
After high school, Camarda moved to New York to teach and perform, but eventually returned to Minnesota to be closer to family. Back home, she started her studio, which focused on weddings, from the first dance to common popular wedding dances like the hustle, foxtrot, swing and merengue.
“I got into teaching wedding couples because it reminded me a lot of my parents,” she says. “They would compete in show dance, where you tell a story through dance, and I wanted to help wedding couples tell a story with their first dance.”
Working with pairs allows Camarda to create a customized experience for each couple’s first dance. “I ask them to describe their dream first dance, so they can imagine what’s possible. Most opt for romantic but still fun, and a lot of couples want to feel at ease with each other.”
Camarda has a range of instruction packages depending on what the couple is looking for, from simple to Dancing with the Stars-worthy. Based on the level of complexity, she’ll lay out a lesson and practice schedule. Her individualized lessons ensure that the couple's first dance will be a nerve-free success.
“Before beginning, my husband and I were very nervous, but Caitlin assured us that all we needed to do was let loose and have fun with it,” says Andrea, who worked with Camarda before her wedding. “On our wedding day, the dance was probably the most memorable moment of the night. No one expected it and we even got a standing ovation from our guests.”
Dance All Night
After working with countless couples, dance pro Caitlin Camarda shares her tips for couples preparing for the big day.
“A big mistake couples make is thinking that they’ll remember all the steps to a dance. But dancing is all about muscle memory, like driving, and you’ll become more familiar over time.”
Work up to wedding clothes
It’s best to start in form-fitting, comfortable clothes and then work your way up. “After they get a feel for the moves, if the bride is going to be wearing a dress that’s constricting, I recommend wearing something like a pencil skirt that has the same amount of restriction so they can get a feel for the range of movement.”
Enjoy the moment
“Your first dance is a representation of two people coming together to make something more beautiful,” says Camarda. “Planning out what they’ll do can help them not just focus on the steps, but focus on each other and enjoy the moment.”