Noah Aberlin and P.J. Simmons are a married couple with a shared passion for dance. And nowhere was this passion more apparent than at their wedding reception, when the two grooms put on a display that’s unlikely to be forgotten by anyone who witnessed it. The evening party was just warming up, in fact, when the newlyweds took to the floor for a first dance that left their guests hollering in delight. And that was before the guys’ routine had reached its climax…
Aberlin is a professional dancer who has toured the country in various productions, including Young Frankenstein and The Wizard of Oz. Simmons, meanwhile, adores salsa dancing, albeit on a more casual basis. And the pair first met through their mutual friend, renowned theater actress Lauren Worsham. Simmons was unsure about Worsham’s plans to set him up with a stranger, but he decided to give it a shot. And he’s probably glad that he did, as he and Aberlin soon fell for each other in a major way.
Indeed, it wasn’t long before Simmons and Aberlin became an item, with the pair together for a decade before tying the knot in October 2018. The ceremony took place in Coxsackie, New York, and the two grooms had a surprise in store during the reception party. In common with many newlyweds, Aberlin and Simmons planned to enjoy a first dance together, but this would be a dance with a difference – one that the twosome hoped would wow everyone in attendance, in fact.
Everything was captured for posterity on video – which was no bad thing as events would go on to prove. The footage shows things beginning traditionally enough, with the pair holding each other closely and gazing into each other’s eyes. And the couple’s family and friends look on as “It’s a Quiet Thing” by Morgana King plays in the background. So far, so normal, and so the guests may have no idea of the awesomeness that’s set to follow.
Suddenly, though, it appears as though something has gone terribly wrong. There’s a loud hum as the music cuts out, and disappointed cries can be heard coming from the assembled throng. The DJ throws up his arms in exasperation, too, as Aberlin and Simmons venture over to see what the problem is.
But it immediately becomes apparent that there is no problem. “Conga” by Miami Sound Machine suddenly blasts out of the speakers as the grooms slowly turn to face each other. Next, they burst into a fast-paced, choreographed routine, apparently to the delight of many of their friends and family. Clearly, the technical fault had been nothing but a ruse.
After the grooms have demonstrated some impressively intricate moves, the track then transitions into “Gonna Make You Sweat” by C+C Music Factory. This is the cue for the jackets to come off before the pair continue with their enthralling routine. The wedding dance was fast becoming a disco mash-up that the lucky guests would never forget.
And after a quick burst of “Vogue” by Madonna – complete with arm movements that perfectly mimicked those of the Queen of Pop – things become even more more amazing. The newlyweds lift their collars and bust some seriously cheesy moves to the ’70s classic “Get Down Tonight” by KC and The Sunshine Band. But this is just a prequel to a sequence perhaps chosen with some of the older guests in mind.
Subsequently, the newlyweds retreat to the side of the stage and grab a pair of matching canes as the music segues into Irving Berlin’s classic ’20s number “Puttin’ On The Ritz.” The routine seems to be influenced by tap dancing at this point, as Simmons and Aberlin copy some of the steps made famous by, among others, Gene Wilder, who danced to the song in Mel Brooks’ 1974 movie Young Frankenstein. The guests whoop and cheer, seemingly blissfully unaware that something even more spectacular is just around the corner.
And that moment duly arrives as the happy couple put away their canes, and the familiar strains of “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” from Dirty Dancing comes over the PA. Then the pair begin to copy the dance sequence made famous by Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the film – but they wouldn’t attempt the most iconic move of all, would they?
The moment when Grey sails into Swayze’s arms in the movie is a terribly difficult maneuver – one that requires precision and strength. Happily, though, precision and strength is exactly what the wedding dancers display as Simmons, channeling his inner Baby, leaps into his husband’s arms and is held aloft in triumph. It’s a glorious finale to a truly unforgettable first dance – for both grooms and guests alike.
And after the epic event, the pair said that they were “blown away” by their guests’ reactions. “We hoped it would get people excited, but the energy was off the charts,” Simmons told Good Morning America in November 2018. “The most amazing part was people coming up to us afterwards with tears in their eyes saying how uplifted and moved they were by it.”
Footage of the amazing routine was also uploaded to YouTube, where it has so far attracted over a million views. And judging by some of the comments left, the public’s reaction mirrored those of the guests’. “That. was. AMAZING. I had the geekiest smile on my face the whole time. Congrats to you both!!,” wrote one person. “Absolutely fabulous! Thank you for sharing this with us… Congrats to you both xoxo,” opined another.
And, perhaps unsurprisingly, it wasn’t long before international news sources started reporting on the stunning dance routine. The YouTube video has been embedded on the HuffPost, ABC News and MSN.com websites among other places, as well as featuring during an edition of Good Morning America.
Commenting on the routine, Good Morning America anchor Michael Strahan mentioned the stress that the couple must have been feeling when it came to that final move. “Could you imagine the pressure?” he said. “Seven weeks of training?” After all, their efforts would have almost been for nothing if that lift hadn’t gone to plan.
As for how the guys had prepared for such an intricate performance? Well, Aberlin put his background in dance to good effect. The younger of the pair choreographed most of the moves himself, although the couple did draft in the assistance of another professional dancer and a salsa instructor to add some spark to the proceedings. And the end product was clearly worth all the effort.
In an email sent to Good Morning America, Simmons also shared his thoughts on the pair’s new-found fame. “We are so moved that our silly ‘prank’ is getting so much attention,” he wrote. “The responses we have gotten from all the social media outlets has been really emotional for us. We are extremely moved that it is bringing so many people so much joy!”
Meanwhile, speaking about the decision to try the famous Dirty Dancing lift, Simmons told HuffPost in November 2018, “I was initially like, ‘Are you nuts?’ But [P.J.’s] a strong guy who I would trust with my life, and [I] knew there was no way he’d drop me, so we went for it. It was super-scary at first but so much fun to work on together.”
In the YouTube video’s description, the pair listed many of their influences for the performance, which included their family and friends. They also thanked Susan Stroman and the “incomparable” Mel Brooks for their work on Young Frankenstein. The movie Ex Machina was additionally cited for the “disco inspiration” within the wedding dance.
Moreover, as the video gained further traction, the pair updated its description on YouTube and suggested that anyone enjoying the clip may like to donate to the It Gets Better Project. Aberlin and Simmons also acknowledged the charity as playing a huge role in helping them live their lives openly and without fear. “If everyone who liked this video contributed just $1, the impact on so many lives could be extraordinary!” they wrote.