First, the hands. While most of the time our hands are just naturally relaxing around the finger cymbals, there are a few movements where the hand position really matters. It just looks more elegant, easier to match your other dancers and in some cases can affect the positioning of your elbows too. Which we all know is a big deal in our dance.
So what's the scooping all about? We never rotate our palms up and this is no different in the first part of the barrel turn. "Scooping" not only makes the hand look forced and awkwardly placed, but it also takes more energy to rotate the hand and arm back to the correct position to bring them overhead.
Remember, we want that right arm slightly inwardly rotated at the shoulder. Scooping takes away the ability to inwardly rotate that arm. So what may seems like a tiny, insignificant detail is actually changing one of the biggest parts of the movement, the beautiful arms.
What should the hands be doing? If your arm/shoulder is in proper alignment then the palm of your hand should naturally face to the back of your space, this keeps the hands soft, fingers slightly open and relaxed as well as puts your arm in the correct placement as you bring it overhead.
Carolena, Megha and my fellow SSCE instructors have been trying to correct this all around the world for years. Along with the scooping, we're seeing this trend of really wide spacing between the arms when they are overhead. Please be sure to bring the arms closer together. I break this down a little more in my block party video.
Don't mistake Barrel Turn arms for Barrel of Monkey arms :)