Handhold (dance)

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A handhold is a manner the dancers hold each other's hands during the dance. A hold is the way one partner holds another one with hands. Hold and handhold are important components of connection in dance.

Couple dances[edit]

  • Waist-hand hold
  • Shoulder-waist hold
  • Shoulder blade hold
  • Ballroom hold
  • Banjo hold
  • Barn dance hold
  • Butterfly hold: in face-to-face dance position, the arms are extended sideways palm to palm, elbows slightly bent[1]
  • Shoulder hold (varsouvienne hold)
  • Cross-back hold
  • Promenade hold
  • Short-arm hold
  • Skaters hold
    • Back skaters hold: partners side-by-side, same hands joined, man right arm around lady's waist with right hands on the lady's right hip, left hands joined in front, man's hand palm up [1]
    • Front skaters hold
  • V hold
  • Hammerlock hold
  • Sweetheart hold
  • Cuddle hold

Line/circle dances[edit]

When danced in line or circle formation, the handholds usually connect a dancer with the two immediate neighbors, sometimes with the two second next neighbors. Exceptions are free hands of the first and last persons in the line formation.

A number of these holds may be used in couple dances (a couple is a line of just two).

  • Shoulder hold
  • Chain hold
  • Basket hold
    • Front basket hold: Arms are extended sideways in front of the neighbors to connect with the arms of the second next person[1]
    • Back basket hold: Arms are extended sideways behind the neighbors to connect with the arms of the second next person[1]
  • Belt hold: Each dancer holds the belts of the neighbors[1]
  • Escort hold: one arm slightly rounded with arm at waist level, the neighbor from this side place the opposite hand on the forearm through the space formed by founded arm[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Glossary