Human action recognition from skeletal data is a hot research topic and important in many open domain applications of computer vision, thanks to recently introduced 3D sensors. In the literature, naive methods simply transfer off-the-shelf techniques from video to the skeletal representation. However, the current state-of-the-art is contended between to different paradigms: kernel-based methods and feature learning with (recurrent) neural networks. Both approaches show strong performances, yet they exhibit heavy, but complementary, drawbacks. Motivated by this fact, our work aims at combining together the best of the two paradigms, by proposing an approach where a shallow network is fed with a covariance representation. Our intuition is that, as long as the dynamics is effectively modeled, there is no need for the classification network to be deep nor recurrent in order to score favorably. We validate this hypothesis in a broad experimental analysis over 6 publicly available datasets.