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Dance Instruction: Eliminating Sloppy, Floppy Fingers Through Specificity

dance instruction

To complete the arm lines on the body, the fingers must be placed and engaged. One of the most prominent and noticeable choreographic errors may be found in “sloppy, floppy fingers.”  It breaks the line of the body and is terribly distracting. Thankfully, with some specific critiques and dance instruction, we can fix that!


First, it is important to specify the placement of the hands and fingers.

For example, when a teacher says “hands on hips”, does the phrase mean:

  1. No specification? (all students will likely do it differently)
  2. Blades on hips with the thumb separated from the fingers and the fingers pointing down?
  3. Fists on hips?

Or, if arms are directed to be placed in a “high V”, are the expectations:

  1. Palms in? Or out?
  2. Fingers together? Or apart?
  3. Thumb connected or attached?

Specificity is key to uniformity. When students struggle to grasp the placement of the fingers, take pictures. Show them the difference.

When the fingers curl or move from their placement, a student may not even realize it.

Take the time to encourage specific, purposeful, and detailed movement. It will encourage your students to take direction and pay attention to detail, which will improve their overall performance!

Chasta is the artistic director and owner of Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is also the founder of The Dance Exec, a website and organization that provided resources and training for dance studio owners. The resources from The Dance Exec have a new home on the TutuTix blog, giving dance studio owners an even more in-depth library of free tools and information with which to grow their business. Chasta contributes to the TutuTix blog from time to time, offering her perspective as a studio owner (and TutuTix client!).