Slice of Life: Hand Dancing

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

The ripple effect of Tik Tok in my classroom continues. Not just with synchronized dance moves — which seem to break out randomly during any down times — but also, hand dancing.

This elaborate, scripted dance of hands is pretty cool to watch, as each partner has a role and the timing of movement and contact is key to the magic. Think of a unique handshake, but add layers of complexity and you have an idea of what I see happening every single day as we wait for the busses to be called.

Many of these are either inspired or lifted from the popular (but sketchy) app that my sixth graders use and the hand dancers are mostly girls (although boys will sometimes try to get in the action for a laugh or do a variation of friend handshake, which is like a simple cousin to the hand dance.) When the dance is done with no flaws, it is sort of like watching something smooth and flowing unfold in the air before you.

When I asked one particular adept students how long it took to learn a certain complicated move that involved the hands going in and out and under, and then fluttering to chest and back to partner, they roll their eyes and say, “hours and hours,” and I have this vision of them, hanging out together, teaching each other how to do the latest hand dance moves and gestures, and laughing at the mistakes.

“Again,” is the word I hear a lot as they play the dance. “Do it again.”

It’s all about perseverance and muscle memory, and connecting with friends with no devices (at this point), and that’s something worth celebrating.

Dancing Hand by antopoke on DeviantArt

Peace (in handshake),

  1. Fascinating, both the movements and the hours kids will spend perfecting them. Such artistry in it, really, as well as muscle memory – it would love to watch it and, yes, nothing replaces that real human contact.

  2. I have yet to see this phenomenon, but I’m sure it will make its way to the elementary crowd at some point. I am guilty of demonizing technology’s effects from time to time, but also acutely aware of the connections it can spark, and fun trends like the one you took time to notice and appreciate. You certainly have an artist’s eye!

  3. Kevin, while I have never seen hand dancing, I can imagine the beautiful flow and intricate moves that takes patience and perseverance to execute flawlessly. There is something commendable about this. Building stamina through imaginative routines is what we want for our students and children. It is not only good for their social and collaborative skills but it takes them away from incessant screentime. Thanks for sharing a new trend.

  4. I’m totally not in the TikTok world (Thankfully my third grader doesn’t know what it is — yet.). However, I saw one someone shared on Twitter the other day. It was a teenager carbonating milk in a SodaStream the other day that cracked me up when I was sick. It was completely ridiculous. BUT, it was just what I needed to make me laugh when I had a fever!

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