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Ballroom Dance

J M (Mike) Nelson
Phone: 612-810-0157

Clothing and Hygiene

Hygiene. Before you dance, take a bath or shower, and put on clean clothes. Though most dancers don't need to be reminded of this, some do. I have known dancers who apparently thought a clean shirt, blouse, or dress was sufficient, but it was not. I have known dancers who apparently thought a shower was sufficient, but it was not. I have also danced with those who needed a shower AND clean clothes. It takes both to make a pleasant dance partner. In addition, floss, brush, scrape and rinse immediately before the dance, and never refuse a breath mint; you never know for sure whether it is offered for politeness or for self defense, and avoid the consumption of onion, garlic, strong spices, or alcohol prior to a dance.

Wash Your Hands Often or use a Hand Sanitizer. Recommended by a nurse, this habit seems to have reduced the acquisition of infectious microbes. I use a sanitizer or wash my hands occasionally during an event, and try always to do so when leaving, preferably before touching my steering wheel. Two seasons without a "cold" have convinced me that this might have been a contributing factor.

Perfume and cologne. Use sparingly, if at all. Wash you hands after applying; no one likes to come home with a department store sample kit on their hands. Older dancers should be particularly careful; we need more to trigger our fading sense of smell, and that could be more than enough to overwhelm someone with a younger nose. Be sure to keep the smelly stuff off any area that a partner might touch, particularly arms and shoulders. We often brush against each others clothing, and odors rub off.

Costume. Jewelry that dangles, swings around, or with sharp edges should be avoided, as should long, sharp fingernails. Clothing should permit easy movement, and attire should not have loose or dangling sleeves or other features that might catch on a partners hand or arm. Dancers who wear a loose shirt or blouse with large, open sleeves that a hand might slip into rather than onto create unnecessary stress on partners. Skirts should not be so tight that they inhibit long strides. Dress to impress, at least a little. Though extremes should be avoided, stay at the upper end of the dress mode. Your partner will appreciate it, and you will show respect for the sport, the event, and your dance partner; there are better ways of showing one's disdain for society than showing up at a dance with a faded, ragged clothing.

Shoes. Shoes should be comfortable and with smooth or minimally textured soles. Sport shoes grip the floor excessively and inhibit freedom of movement; they might also put excessive stress on joints. For hardwood floors, suede soles are best; the next best is a conventional leather sole. See Dance Shoes for more details. Dance Home Page Dance Curriculum Dance Articles

Copyright (c) 2006, J. M. Nelson. All rights reserved. Reproduction of contents prohibited without prior permission from the author.