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A lot of times when we start a new activity there so much information and it’s very difficult to absorb it all. We often get caught up in technical details or the correct order of information and forget to focus on little intangibles. As I’ve gone on my personal dance journey, I’ve seen and done a lot of things which I’ve shared on this here blog. I often take for granted things that I instinctively knew and don’t often address them in my classes.

While I briefly talked about manners I haven’t yet discuss the idea of personal hygiene. It’s a bit of a sensitive subject with people and not the easiest of subjects to address in a conversation. I’ve come to see a lot of blogs run by a lot of people that discuss a lot of different things about a lot of different subjects (woah!). A lot of times you get advice on anything from hair care to exercise and even etiquette. One of the things that can be confusing in this day and age with an overabundance of information is how exactly to present yourself in a positive light.

While a thorough examination of this topic could probably be the basis of a good book, I’ll take the next few minutes of your life so we can share one of the most profound, yet underexposed issues in the Latin dance community.

The matter of personal hygiene to be exact.

I’ve noticed a few patterns emerge (don’t I always?) and I’d like to share them with you for your reading pleasure. If you find that you happen to fall into one of these categories, my intention is not to insult but rather to inform. Think of the following as a gentle reminder that little things, do indeed add up.

The Sweaty Betty: I’ll start this section with a personal confession. Whenever I come out of any good rehearsal, I look like someone dumped baby oil all over me. So obviously, I’m saying I don’t sweat, on the contrary, I sweat quite a bit. That said, I’m mindful of sweating so when I do feel those little beads penetrating through my thick head I’m quick to either wipe off my brow or whip on a bandana. Then again, that’s just me. I’ve seen others who sweat and have no qualms about sweating over me. I’ve had otherwise pleasant women ask me to dance and offer a hand that appeared to be dumped in holy water at the nearby church. It’s almost as if they were trying to bless me. While the intention is, of course, polite the lack of awareness of their own body hygiene makes it a little challenging to look forward to the dance. Furthermore, people with longer hair tend to absorb the sweat more in their hair and end up looking like a predator with long locks full of sweat. Latin dancing, being a dance of turns and directional changes, causes all this sweat to fly directly into my face. Consider taking a wet mop and swinging the wet mop head against a wall and you’ll get a good idea of what I’m talking about.

Salsa Dance Blog - Stinky…wanna dance with me?

How to get around this? Well, I’m not sure as I have short hair. I will say that even with my hair length I do tend to sweat quite a bit and I’m sure some sweat flies off my head every once in awhile. For those of you with long hair, perhaps a bandana or simply a towel to wipe yourself off with throughout the night but help. All in all, this is probably one of the more unpleasant hygiene issues that I ran into at the club. If you find yourself suffering from this affliction, please do us and yourself a favor and take care of it right away!

Stinkin’ Lincoln: This one is a little closer to my heart. I confess to being overly paranoid about body odor. I hate smelling bad in any way shape or form. That being said after an intense night of dancing or practice, let’s just say, I’m not the freshest person in the room. I think in my case, the major point is that I am aware of this whereas others walk around cluelessly not knowing that they’re burning people’s nose hairs off with their considerable musk. I propose that you become more conscious of your underarm odor and make sure to either wear some antiperspirant or deodorant.

I mentioned I was a little bit sensitive to this issue because I have recently started trying to use deodorant / antiperspirant. Without sounding preachy, I’ve been reading up on the harmful nature of aluminum in antiperspirants and I’m trying to work with deodorant. I’ll tell you right now that deodorants don’t do anything but make something bad smell bad with an added flowery overtone. As someone with strong underarm odor, I’m finding it difficult to not constantly be sniffing my armpits. I’m constantly making sure to not make my fellow dance partners or students collapse in nasal agony. Whichever decision that you make regarding underarm odor, make sure it’s not abrasive, unpleasant and hopefully, safe for you.
Overbearing Wearing: I couldn’t think of a clever unisex name and still make my headline work so I have to go with overbearing wearing. What I mean by this is people who have about 11 drops too much of whatever cologne or perfume they happen to be using at the time. I confess to not being in the habit of using Cologne as much as I used to in my younger days. My hyper-paranoia about body odor, at least, guarantees that I’ll smell pretty neutral or fresh most of the time.

I highly recommend doing a little personal check on yourself and making sure you’re not committing any grave crimes against dancing humanity

I’m finding that others do not share the sentiment and are intent to keep their cologne or perfume and hoses that the open to full blast. I’m imagining that they then stand in front of said hose before they go out dancing. As a result, your dance partners become lightheaded or even slightly nauseous after 30 seconds of dancing because of the very powerful scent coming from your body. I don’t claim to be an expert in any sense about the proper etiquette for cologne or perfume wearing but I have found it personally pleasant when the scent is present but not overbearing, noticeable but not making your face crunch due. The face has a funny way of reacting to a strong and unpleasant smell. If you happen to be someone who lives on a little bit too much cologne don’t compound the matter by being one of those people who likes to dance close with someone, you only make it that much worse! Backup homie!

These are some of the scenarios that have seen at the top of my head that have to do with personal hygiene and can negatively affect a great social dance or social interaction. I highly recommend doing a little personal check on yourself and making sure you’re not committing any grave crimes against dancing humanity and become someone who is enjoyable to dance. I implore you to not only be a good leader or follower but also someone who doesn’t have any personal hygiene issues.

Have you run into any offenders? Do tell! And if you like this blog post please comment and share!