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Hand Holds in Israeli Partner Dances - 8/13/2010

I was trying to figure out why some men are pleasant to dance with and some aren't. It came to me that it had nothing to do with how well they knew a dance or how well they followed the couple in front of us or took verbal cues from me.

This is what I have been trying to get at.

It is all in the hand-hold.

The handhold or where ever you are physically connected. The connection is the projection of your partner's body.

Do you guys who do the style workshops teach the proper way to grip someone's hand?

Absolutely. No gripping. No thumbs. No hanging on. No pushing. No pulling.

I have discovered a whole group of men I will call "thumb-closers." When they hold your hand, the thumb closes down on the grip, which makes it impossible to rotate for a turn or change in arm position, and it can be painful depending on how tightly they do it and how badly my arthritis acts up that particular night. One of my semi-regular partners, with whom I dance a set a week (but a long set), does this, and I finally explained to him what he was doing and why it bothered me, and his response to me was "no one else ever complained about it before." He said he'd try to stop, but he keeps forgetting. Then later the same evening, I danced with another guy for the first time in many years, and he too turned out to be a thumb-closer! I told him his thumb should be free to wiggle, and he joked that he'll cut it off for me.

Funny

He also expressed fear that we'd lose grip of each other's hand.

1. It is the followers job to keep the connection.

2. The leader should not concern himself with whether the follower does her job. That is her problem. He should dance his part without trying to hang on to her or physically make her do anything.

But that doesn't happen, if the palm contact is good and your fingertips curl around the other person's hand.

You can keep connection using your fists.

You should not hang on to each other. If you drift apart, let the connection break and move your feet to position your body.

And he too, tried but kept forgetting. How do you break someone of this habit short of breaking off his thumbs?

When the music comes on, you start dancing for real and the pressure is on. People revert to doing what they always have done.

Repetition is how you form a new habit.

The way to break the person of the thumbs habit is to reach over with your other hand and lift his thumb up. Keep doing that, in a nice way, until he breaks the habit.

Happy Dancing,
Andy

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