Healthy Dancer

5 Tips for Hand Articulation

By Darryl Tracy
  • Nigel Edwards / Photo by Francesca Chudnoff
  • Rainer Ramon Plückebaum / Photo by Francesca Chudnoff

In the September/October 2017 issue of The Dance Current Darryl Tracy offers an article discussing hand articulation. “Hands in Motion,” offers readers insights on hand curiosity, receptivity and expressivity. The following are his accompanying tips for dancers on how to achieve hand responsiveness. 


Handy Tips:

1) Incorporate hand articulations and gestures into phrases and combinations in a warm up, performance preparation or class. Stimulate the hands by clapping, rubbing, lightly scratching, tickling, etc.

2) Prior to doing floor work or conditioning work, involve upper limb weight bearing to prepare the tactile nature of the hands. Make sure they are receptive to bearing weight and can provide feedback. Let them widen and receive weight as opposed to grasping, becoming tense and blocking communication from the floor to the nervous system.

3) Prior to going onstage or in a performative work, mobilize and energize the hands.

4) Consider the arches of the palm in your movements.

5) Movements to consider that are important for fully expressive hand capacity include the following:

     a) forearm supination and pronation-rolling the forearms
     b) wrist motions, including flexing, extending and waving actions
     c) palmar activation such as cupping and opening/widening of the palm
     d) separating and closing the fingers
     e) sequential finger action (fanning/strumming)
     f) thumb opposition with other four digits
     g) playful hand combinations and variations of the above
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