How to Hold Hands While Social Dancing: Tips for Maintaining an Effective Connection

Once upon a time, not so long ago, Patrick was dancing with a male student who was using an excessive form of the “spider man grip.” It felt forced, seemed unnecessary and fuelled this tip.

Far back, before any soul can remember, the spider man grip (probably) originated from teachers trying to get their students to stop squeezing the follows’ hands. By telling them to lift up their thumb, they were rendered incapable of closing their grip, therefore, solving the problem. The result? An unnatural looking handhold that has been passed down for generations.

OK OK, so it looks silly, but is the “Spider Man” really that bad?

Don’t get us wrong, The spiderman grip isn’t incorrect, it’s just not the most natural way of holding your partner’s hands. When it comes down to it, it feels unnatural and could lead to an unfortunate eye-poking incident if you’re not careful. If you want to use it, go for it, but if you’re performing, competing or care about what you look like, tame it. Take those fingers that are sticking out, and relax them on your partner’s hands.

How To Hold Hands While Salsa Dancing

It’s simple. Leads, hold your hands face up and let the follow place her hands face down in your palms. In terms of the dominant points of contact on the follows’ hand, we recommend the leads use either their pointer finger and middle finger, OR middle finger and ring finger. From there, leads, rest your thumbs gently on the top of her hands and you’ll find yourself in a very comfortable and natural feeling hand hold position. Now, you’ll have all the control you need to direct your partner through any move or combo while remaining versatile in your ability to adjust your hand positioning as needed.

What You Need To Know About Turning & Hand Holds

Leads, never use your thumbs to apply pressure or squeeze the follow’s hands while you’re trying to rotate your hand inside her palm to get your hand into position to lead a turn. This is a common crux that Patrick and Scarlet see every day.

As you move into an intermediate and advanced level and get into fancy arm work you will find your thumbs to be very helpful in maintaining the connection with your partner’s hands, so they don’t slip away. That said, the trick, of course, is to be gentle. Don’t be crabby and pinch her! And remember, you’ll always release your thumbs when rotating your hand in the follow’s hand, to prepare for turns.

Ladies, we know turning can sometimes throw you off balance, but if you start squeezing your man’s hand, he ain’t gunna be able to rotate you around as fast as he needs to. If you find yourself losing your balance, check out our tip on How to Improve Your Salsa Turn Technique 10x Over.

In an extreme case, if you squeeze your partner’s hand, you could injure his fingers, wrist or even shoulder. When you squeeze, he has to adjust his movement on the fly to make up for the stiff static state you’re forcing yourself into.

That’s All Folks

So there you have it. A simple yet effective tip on how to hold your Salsa partners hands. It might seem trivial, but it’s the small stuff that makes a big difference.

How do you hold your partner’s hands? Has this tip changed how you’re going to approach hand holds with your salsa partners? Let us know in the comments below or post in our Dance Dojo Facebook Group!