Jazz hands – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Dance Techniques Glossary

What are Jazz Hands?

Jazz hands are a popular dance move that involves rapidly waving the hands and fingers in a flamboyant and expressive manner. This movement is often used in musical theater, dance performances, and even as a fun gesture in everyday life. Jazz hands are typically performed with the palms facing outward and the fingers spread wide apart, creating a visually striking and energetic effect.

How to Perform Jazz Hands

To perform jazz hands, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms relaxed at your sides. As you begin the movement, raise your arms up to shoulder level with your elbows slightly bent. Then, quickly flick your wrists back and forth, spreading your fingers wide apart and keeping your palms facing outward. The key to perfecting jazz hands is to keep the movement sharp and controlled, while also maintaining a sense of fluidity and grace.

History of Jazz Hands

The origins of jazz hands can be traced back to the early 20th century, when they were first popularized in vaudeville and burlesque performances. The exaggerated hand movements were used to add flair and excitement to dance routines, and quickly became a staple in musical theater and other forms of entertainment. Over the years, jazz hands have evolved into a recognizable and iconic gesture that is synonymous with showmanship and theatricality.

Jazz Hands in Dance Performances

In dance performances, jazz hands are often used to accentuate movements and add a dynamic element to choreography. Dancers may incorporate jazz hands into routines to highlight certain beats or musical accents, or to convey a sense of joy and exuberance. Whether performing a high-energy jazz routine or a sultry ballroom number, jazz hands can help dancers connect with their audience and bring an extra level of excitement to their performance.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Jazz Hands

While jazz hands may seem simple at first glance, there are a few common mistakes that dancers should be aware of when performing this movement. One of the most common errors is over-exaggerating the hand movements, which can make the gesture appear forced or unnatural. It’s important to strike a balance between being expressive and maintaining control over the movement. Additionally, dancers should be mindful of their hand positioning and ensure that their fingers are spread wide apart and their palms are facing outward.

Tips for Perfecting Jazz Hands

To perfect your jazz hands, practice is key. Spend time in front of a mirror working on the movement, paying close attention to your hand positioning and the fluidity of your wrist flicks. Focus on keeping your movements sharp and precise, while also maintaining a sense of energy and excitement. Additionally, try incorporating jazz hands into different dance routines to see how they can enhance your performance. With dedication and practice, you’ll be able to master the art of jazz hands and add a touch of showmanship to your dance repertoire.