Attention to play

These resources have been developed out of Resident Dance Artist Stella Howard’s explorations around the hospital with patients and their families.Stella’s interest lies in the attention to detail and expression we can achieve in gestures of the hands, be it a precise hand gestures or improvised play with dancing hands.

Gestures speak many languages; at times the same gesture can mean different things to different people. I have taken traditional gestures, danced, played, and twisted them around.

Below are some different types of gestures, give them a try, then see if you can seamlessly move from one to another, take your arm on a different pathway, or make up your own unique gesture!

Indian Classical Dance

In Indian classical dance the detail of hand gestures (often called Mudras) is of utmost importance to convey feelings, objects/animals, and even the dance vocabulary.

Alapadma (Lotus in bloom), Samputa (Container), Simhamukha (Lion’s face), Padmakosha (Lotus bud).

Sign Language and Makaton

Sign Language and Makaton offer visual communication tools that enable people to communicate using hand gestures that complement and support speech.

Signs used: Help, Turtle, Butterfly and Walk.

Hand Washing Guidance

These images are interpretations of suggested Hand Washing techniques.

Including rinsing with water, spreading the soap, rubbing between the knuckles, and individual finger cleaning.

Improvising dances with our hands can be fun.

  • Select a piece of music and see where your hands want to go!
  • What happens if you change the music to something dramatic, slow or super quick?
  • You might even try letting your hands have a conversation with each other, or your hands have a conversation with a friend’s hands.

Here are some videos, for inspiration and fun!

Mirror Dance

Hand Dance


If you’ve enjoyed the hand dancing please let us know @gosh_arts or email