Have you ever watched a dancer and felt like they opened the door to their heart for you to look inside? The beautiful thing about dancing is we dancers use our whole body, not just our faces, to show what we FEEL.

And just like in our everyday lives, the way we move our hands says volumes about how we are feeling. Every gesture can be part of the story you are telling in your dances!

When it comes to expression, we often focus on arm styling and facial expressions. But don’t forget the hands in ballroom dancing!  Learn to “talk” to your partner, the judges and the audience with your expressive hands.

How to tell your story, through your hands:

telona dance touch

1.  Keep tone in your hands.

Continuing the energy from your arms through your fingertips brings more life and intent to each movement.

2. Use different amounts of weight in your hands.

We’re not talking about dumbbells here, but WEIGHT as in how much power/energy you are putting into your hands or touch. For example, imagine the different feeling that the audience will see if you touch your partner’s shoulder softly or strongly. Play around with the same hand positions, but different weights to change the feeling.

carolina orlovsky telona arm styling

 3. Touch yourself.

(No giggling, please!) Putting your hands on different parts of your body will change the emotion. Hands on the hips makes a STRONG and determined stance. Hands on the legs can be alluring, while hands on the chest can be quite feminine and demure.

4. Touch your partner.

Connection happens not only in a dance frame or a one or two-hand hold, but every time you touch your partner. From the moment you take hands, where and how you make contact through your hands means something. Your partner will be able to react better to you if he/she is reading your intentions through the hands.

Think of when you FIRST meet someone and shake hands…how does a weak/strong/short/long handshake give you insight into what that person is all about?

telona dance expression

5. Reach out and touch someone.

When you’re working on your arm styling in space (that is when you are not touching yourself or partner), think the movements through to your fingertips.

  • Will you be pointing?
  • Have the palm up or down?
  • How much weight will you use in your hand?

Play around with different options in each arm styling movement you’re working on. You’ll find changing the details with your hands impacts how your gestures will TOUCH the audience and judges.


“Hands On” Coaching:

carolina orlovsky telona hands arm styling Get more HANDS ON!

DSP coach, Carolina Orlovsky, has created a video all about expressing with your hands. For a limited time, we’re opening our member library and sharing this fantastic video for FREE.


🎥 Access the FREE video by clicking here. 🎥


Talk Through the Hand:

Time to let your hands do the talking!

Take 10 minutes next time you’re in front of a mirror (at home or at the studio), try these three movements:

  1. Lightly stroke your hand on your cheek. Use the palm, then switch to the back of your hand. Try the same hand, but now on the other cheek. Do your feelings change when you change the gesture?
  2. Next, slide your left hand down your right arm starting from the shoulder. Now try sliding the left hand across your collarbone. Lastly, slide your hand upwards, starting at your knee to your hip. Does placement of your hand imply a different feeling?
  3. Stretch your hand out towards yourself in the mirror, palm down. Now do it again, palm up. Try both actions, first quickly, then slowly. How does changing the hand and/or the speed change the result?

What different feelings can you portray simply by where you place your hand? What dances could you see yourself using one of those gestures in? How will you use your hands in ballroom dancing?

Let us know in the comments how you did!

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