Christine Piper was a dancer, colleague, and friend. We met when she rented space at my studio, Santa Barbara Dance Arts, and she told me about her lifelong passion for dance. She graduated with a BA in theater arts and owned and directed her own company, and her work was showcased around the country.
Christine especially loved the way a couple’s first dance together as a married couple played into their new relationship, and she opened Santa Barbara Wedding Dance in 2002. She felt that most couples didn’t want to learn to fox-trot; they just wanted to feel comfortable. Her warmth was embodied in her business, and her clients felt it.
After eight years of bringing dance to happy couples, Christine, looking for a change, gifted me the business. With a smile, she offered some advice through a story about a reluctant groom at his first lesson, “Not surprising, the future wife was leading while her fiancé struggled to keep up. Instead of fighting the dynamics, I embraced them.” She told me, “When he kept stepping left, we just changed the choreography so he could step left. It immediately took the pressure off, he began to lead, and his future wife melted in his arms. It was beautiful!”
Christine enjoyed seeing how S.B. Wedding Dance embraced new trends, such as hip-hop, flash mobs, and choreographed dances, for the entire wedding party. She loved that marriage equality paved the way for more joyful dancing couples. After her passing in January of this year, I realized just how profound a person she was, and that is why I am so honored to continue her legacy, knowing her spirit will live on in every wedding dance we help create.