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Hands On Ballroom Dancing

Now that you have some extra time on your hands, how about tuning up your game (dancing) with some added stylings? If you haven’t realized it before, hand and arm movements in ballroom dance are just as important as the dance itself. Your feet need to flow with the music, but your hands give you definition and expression. Hand and arm movement is meant to enhance your dancing by giving you an added natural and fluid visual effect.

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Why not use this time to visualize how much more confidence and finesse you will have with some simple, well-defined hand gestures? “Yes,” believe it or not, using your hands and arms elegantly, can ramp up your dance moves. Good posture and hand stylings make you look like a well-trained dancer! Good technique can put you right over the top. Remember, it’s the fine touches to your dance, that the judges look for and give those big points to!

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Besides adding character and dynamics to your dancing, hand styling moves give you kind of a dance edge and attitude. I urge you to study ballroom dancers you admire and notice their hand/arm movements. Then go about learning specific movements in the dances you like to do and studying them carefully, until it feels like the most natural thing to do. There are many hand exercises out there designed specifically to train your hands to perfect styling for specific ballroom dances. And while you are at it, it is a good idea to have your dance partner learn hand stylings too.

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When you do your research, you will find that certain hand/arm positions will have names that are unique to the ballroom dance world. However, my research indicates that there are many names for the individual ballroom dance hand/arm stylings and there are no particular set names for each dance. Different people will use certain names of moves, so get used to it. It is helpful to know, smooth dances tend to use hand styling throughout the dance with continuous motion. Rhythm dances require more sharp lines with hand and arm movements syncopated in between for more attention and definition.

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Notice the defined hand curl in a cha-cha or more dramatic arm moves in a waltz. Also, your dance teachers and instructors may give you advice and training in arm and hand movement and it won’t matter what these movements are called. There is no official vocabulary or book for the names and shapes of hand stylings. The point is, learn to master these hand stylings and learn them well. It’s the fine line that can make all the difference in your dance world!

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**We have received contributions from individuals who would like to have a dear relative or friend who passed on remembered that loved to dance or was a dance aficionado. We call these memorial contributions. Perhaps you would like to have someone memorialized in this manner. Make a donation and give us their name. We have on our website a yellow brick road to engrave their name to a brick as a memorial to that person. This contribution will assist future generations of dancers and help keep young people more positive and healthy.

Thought Of The Week:

Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found – Eckhart Tolle



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Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website

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