Personal Hygiene

Do you need to clean up your act?

Given the physical closeness in Tango, good hygiene is essential and, for the vast majority of dancers, it is not an issue.  However, probably all of us have had the occasional dance where we have become aware of our partner’s presence in a less than Tango way.  At very least you can tell what they had for dinner!

This is a sensitive and potentially embarrassing area to cover, but if there was a problem, we think most of us would prefer to be the first to know, rather than the last.  So we offer these words, just in case there could be something here of value for you. Or maybe you could print it off and give it to a friend in need . . .

One cause of body odour that is sometimes overlooked is stress or fear.  Especially if you are new to Tango, it is important to anticipate some increased levels of anxiety when you dance.  You may also be surprised how much hard work and concentration Tango requires.  When dancing in close proximity, this all adds up and can leave you with an issue that does not occur in other aspects of your life.  We have known even experienced dancers who failed to realise the impact of this combination of factors.

So here are our Top Tips:

  • Shower before going dancing whenever possible
  • If you’re coming straight from work, bring a fresh shirt or top
  • Use, or re-apply, an effective anti-perspirant
  • Use aftershave and perfume sparingly: they can be quite overpowering and some people are allergic to them.  Worse still is when your scent is transferred to your partner’s clothes / hair
  • Use breath fresheners frequently.  Many venues provide mints on the welcome table.  Even people who brush and floss their teeth regularly may still suffer from bad breath.  Sometimes the source is bacteria in the minute crevices of the tongue, which can be improved by brushing, sometimes it is tooth decay, gum disease, or it can be dietary.  If self-help doesn’t sort it out, seek professional advice
  • Think carefully about eating strong foods before dancing, like garlic, onions and curry, as they linger on the breath, skin and clothes for a long time.  Also, when you have been cooking – especially frying – the odour remains on your hair and clothes
  • Smokersin our experience the vast majority of your partners will not share your habit.  Sucking a mint after smoking a cigarette is simply not enough.  The tobacco smoke penetrates your clothes, your hair and your skin and the smell does not go away with a mint, even though you, as a smoker, are not aware of it.  Please do whatever you need to so that your partners will not have to endure tobacco smells when dancing with you
  • If you perspire, use a towel often 

        Gentlemen often bring an extra shirt/s to change into during the evening

        Ladies it’s not much fun for leaders dancing with a lady whose clothes or skin feels clammy.  Or, leaving white deodrant marks on his clothes.

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© Peter Okell-Walker, Tango Nomads, 2017

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