How not to hold hands in social dancing
Every time I go social dancing, mostly Cuban Salsa and Bachata, I must struggle with Follows that want to hold hands. They use their thumbs to lock my hands, they squeeze and wrestle! It is not a minor issue. I consider it the biggest problem I encounter on a regular basis. If not every second Follow but we are close.
I dance with every one and I love to introduce beginners to social dancing. I might experience more Follows “holding hands” than the average Lead, but it is a huge problem.
Trying to hold hands when dancing is a telltale of the mediocre or less educated dancer. Very many moves are not possible or are very likely to fail or to become awkward or even dangerous, if we hold hands.
What to do about it
For a long time my biggest problem when a Follow locks my hands in, was the frustration of what to do about it. How can I tell her that she is a wrench in the machinery, that she is ruining our dance before it has even started? How can I educate her in a not offending manner to become better or to change her bad habit?
I have tried to Jiu-Jitsu my hands out of her grips, gently to dismantle her thumb lock or what ever, without her noticing. But when she appears again later in the same Rueda de Casino or when I meet her again in social dancing, she is most likely back at the bad habit. Business as usual.
Tell it as it is
No doubts, the Follow or the Lead for that matter, must be told if they “hold hands”. It must be done in a not offending way. It might be necessary to start with an innocent white lie not to be taken literally. Start with a compliment or by pointing at yourself as the main problem.
“You have very good dancing hands but sometimes your thumb lock my hand. Try just to touch my hands in a feeling manner and use tension instead of squeezing.”
“I have hyper sensitive hands!” Say it in a dramatic way to strike a humoristic tone. “You squeeze my hands too hard, especially your thumbs are in the way. My hyper sensitive hands like it as gentle as possible, just use your fingertips most of the time”.
“Let is be like this”, and do a charming fingertip tension exercise with a big defusing smile.