Dance: Getting ready...

Dance:  Getting ready for the dance

Helpful tips for being an enjoyable dance partner:  before you leave the house


Social dancing, ballroom, latin, swing, blues all mean you are cozied up pretty close to your partner.  To make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved, here are some tips on getting ready for a social dance or dance lesson, to prepare you to be the best partner you can be!


Hygiene:  Shower and scrub a dub dub.  Apply deodorant.  This is not the time to attempt to scentually attract your next conquest by giving any and all possibilities a dose of your “naturally potent manly musk.”  While it’s true that pheromones plus our scent is designed to be pleasing to those with whom healthy offspring would be produced with the most variant immunity (Another post, another time,)  for those with whom mating would be a genetic mismatch, the scent can be so powerfully effective to induce gagging and nausea (some people can internally stifle the outward signals of their gagging.)  Furthermore, depending on your height, often leaders with a greater height difference to their follower will find her nose forced to hover dangerously close to your underarm region.    For the health and safety of everyone involved, let the olfactory signal sent/scent from you be one of pleasant contents.       

  And ladies, again with the height difference, he may be forced to sniff your noggin.  Scalp sweat has its own scent all together.  Consider some dry shampoo, some people have used moisture/odor absorbing powder on their scalp.  Not a bad idea to spritz some essential oils or perfume…at least then when you heat up and sweat hopefully it will be a more fresh steam rising…

Brush your teeth and use a tongue scraper (the majority of bacteria reside on the tongue, and contribute to odor, along with areas beyond your mouth, such as sinuses, throat/post nasal drip, stomach and intestines and maladies/disease in that area.)  If you are having “internal combustion” that you may not even be aware of, mouth care alone will not solve the problem.  It’d be advisable to occasionally have a friend do a breath check.  Family are ok, but can be unreliable as their diet may be the same, and their body odor is genetically linked and thus derivative.  They may be so used to your scent and their own that they’ve become too accustomed to detect release of malodorous discharge,  emissions, and suppuration.  If you really want to clear the pipes, I hear neti pots work nicely.

Pack breath mints and gum, mouthwash is a good idea to refresh.   Parsley can actually be a good internal breath mint.  I like parsley and lemon with some stevia in water put through the Vitamix for a cleansing and refreshing beverage which not only helps clean out the body for my own health, but has the dancer-friendly breath freshening properties as well.

Avoid smoking as the scent and smoke can remain on clothing, skin, breath, hair and cause breathing difficulty for anyone with an allergy or asthma, as well as nausea for those affected by smoke.

Strong Consumables such as onion, garlic, alcohol which even seep through the skin are best avoided as their scent can overwhelm and permeate a partner’s dance space.


Pack Snacks:  best if they are allergy free.  Today with allergies as rampant and severe as they are, someone with an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts for example, which by the way can be deadly, can have a reaction from touching you and your hands which have touched the peanuts or peanut butter, as well as have an allergic reaction from your breath which carries the particles as well.   Low odor, easy carry healthy snacks are ideal.   Some suggestions:    grapes, baby carrots, celery sticks, grape tomatoes, sugar snap peas, veggies you might find on a platter: broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber; whole or cut, pumpkin seeds, banana, greens smoothie in vacuum sealed bottle, roasted chickpeas, apple slices, sunflower butter is SUCH a great alternative to peanut butter!  I think it tastes even better!  Add a bit of maple syrup and pink salt!  MM MM MMMMM!!!!    Dried fruit, Hummus to go with veggies, plantain chips….   There may be snacks at the dance, but aside from some occasional veggies and fruit, the majority are not what a determined healthy eater would consume: chips, cheese, cookies etc… Fuel for a champion dancer lies in the suggestions above.

Water bottle:  Most dances will have water there, but 1, It’s better for the environment to not be using plastic cups, and to bring your own.  2, No guarantee of it being filtered or of good quality,  may as well bring water you know you will like.  3, You don’t have to wait in line for water when you need it. 4, You can keep your water bottle near your things so you can get right back on the dance floor.  5, You might be surprised how thirsty you may get on the ride home, no matter how much water you had while at the dance.


Dance shoes:  There are street shoes, and there are dance shoes.  This doesn’t have to mean specialized dance shoes.  But it does mean shoes that you don’t wear outside, tracking in mud, sand, salt etc.  We want the floor clean, smooth, not rocky with pebbles brought in.  The floor needs to remain “healthy” and dancers could be injured if it gets slippery or they step on something that shouldn’t be there.    To dance it’s helpful to have comfortable shoes that can spin easily on the floor but still have enough grip.  You don’t want sticky rubber shoes as this can injure your joints when spinning, but you don’t want slippery like you are ice skating.  Ballroom dance shoes have suede on the bottom to give proper traction, and you will often see dancers “brushing” their shoes with a special brush to reinvigorate the suede texture.  Even swing dancers, who may appear to have very casual shoes, often buy special suede that is stuck on the bottom of new shoes to “turn them into” dance shoes.  I like dance sneakers which are made of special material, support the arch of the foot, and have a spin spot tohelp you when it’s time to spin.

Sweat: Change of clothing, towel:  I know many people like to bring an extra shirt once they sweat through their first one.  They may also bring a towel to mop their neck and brow, or possibly their whole back and chest before they change.  (I don’t know what goes on in the men’s bathroom.)   It is preferable especially for men to wear shirts with at least short sleeves, that are not too baggy around the arm/underarm.  Hands can get caught in baggy sleeves and no one wants to stick their hand in your clammy armpit.  Additionally it’s preferable to not have to place your hand directly on damp skin.  For whatever reason it’s significantly more lovely to touch humid fabric than soggy skin. 

Jewelry:  Just be aware of the safety hazards that dangling or clunky jewelry can present.  If a cheerleading or gymnastics coach wouldn’t let you wear it, maybe a good idea to avoid dancing in it.  This is for ladies and gentlemen.  Large rings or watches can snag your partners skin, hair, be a blunt force object if it hits them in the wrong place, or cause their hair and fabric to become caught up or torn.  Gliding a hand down an arm bare of metal is superior to arm hair getting caught in watch links, or having delicate skin of the forearm be scratched and come away with an abrasion.

Hair:  For the ladies in particular, having long hair collected can be preferred by your partner, and safer for you, lest your dangling tendrils be caught up in their hand, buttons, jewelry, etc. 


I’m glad I’ve broken this up into parts because apparently I had more to say than I planned on.  These are some convenient counsel to remember for both the beginning dancer, and the pro who has forgotten his checklist before leaving.  If you go in prepared with this, you can be a popular partner on the dance floor!  And come away more likely to be happy, healthy, with respectful admiration from your dance colleagues.