Our guest columnist is Annette T. Thomas, a dance teacher and choreographer, who has trained at Carnegie Hall, the San Juan Ballet Company, and the Connecticut Regional Ballet Company under world class instructors. With 30 years of dance and figure skating experience behind her, Annette is certified in Russian Method Classical Ballet, and is a member of the Professional Skaters Association, U.S. Figure Skating, the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science, and the Wisconsin Dance Council. Annette began working with figure skaters in 1998 and has conducted numerous off and on-ice workshops in the areas of conditioning and artistry. She is also the author of Fundamentals of Alignment and Classical Movement for Figure Skaters, which has received international acclaim from ice and roller skaters and their coaches.
Hands: Developing awareness and articulation
by Annette T. Thomas
We often neglect our hands and fingers during training. They seem too small to matter, but stiff uncontrolled hands are a sure sign of uncontrolled tension throughout the body, just as elegant and expressive hands are a sure sign of total control. Hands are very much a communication device; they speak to the audience as much as your facial expressions do. Developing awareness and articulation in your wrists and hands will help you not only to communicate with confidence and style, it will also help you to integrate your hands into your entire body line and flow of movement.
Here are some basic exercises to help you work on awareness, strength, flexibility and articulation. Work each movement to its limit. From left to right: Fists, Splayed, Claws, Bowed back
You can find additional hand exercises in Annette's workbook Fundamentals of Alignment and Classical Movement for Figure Skaters. Article and photos are copyright 2009 by Annette Thomas. Material may not be copied or distributed without the consent of Annette Thomas.