Hand dancing, also known as D.C. Hand Dancing or D.C. Swing, is a form of swing dance that can be traced as far back as the 1920s, from Lindy Hop and the Jitterbug, to the 1950s when dancers in the D.C. area developed their own variety.

The dance is characterized by smooth footwork and movements, and close-in and intricate hand-turns, all danced to a 6 to 8 count dance rhythm, hence its name. Hand Dancing faded a bit during the disco era, but in the 1980s, Hand Dance resurfaced in the D.C. dance community.

In 1993, the Smithsonian Institution recognized Hand Dance as an American Art Form, and the Smithsonian exhibit led to the establishment of the National Hand Dance Association.

Hand Dance is the Official Dance of the District of Columbia by resolution of the D.C. Council.

Check out our Hand Dance videos.

What is Hand Dancing image

Hand Dance / Bop / Line Dance

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  • 9901 Lanham Severn Rd, Lanham, MD, USA

After studying hand dance for more than 10 years, from some of the best hand dance instructors in the DC area, I founded the Odyssey Hand Dance Academy.  My goal is to share what I have learned while making learning hand dancing easy and fun.  You need no prior dance experience for the beginner level.  Learning hand dancing with the Odyssey Hand Dance Academy is a journey of exploration. I invite you to join the ‘Odyssey’ and take your first steps or your next steps with me!

- Carl Davis -
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Being able to easily and safely turn and spin while maintaining balance is a crucial part of the dance.

The recommended option is to wear a pair of Ballroom shoes with a suede or felt sole.

A standard ladies dance shoe featuring a Cuban heel of 1 to 1.5 inches is a popular choice. The heel height should be comfortable. Anything higher than 1.5 inches could be challenging for beginners. Those who prefer a flat shoe with no heel might consider a slip-on jazz shoe.

Amazon offers a wide variety of shoes for ladies and shoes for men.

The Ballroom Latin Salsa Sneaker Dance Shoes SERO106BBX is a particular favorite practice shoe.

Another shoe to consider is a Women/Men Standard Practice Social Dance Sneaker Beginner Ballroom Dancing Shoes.

If you're not quite ready to buy dance shoes, you can buy suede stick on sheets to attach to a pair of shoes you already have.

Beginner level dancers may wear heavy cotton socks to dance in prior to buying dance shoes.

Outside shoes and bare feet are not allowed on the dance floor.

Dance Shoes image

All items $5