Personal hygiene in class

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The following post written for tango students could also be applied to social dancing.

Given the physical closeness in tango, good hygiene is essential and, for the vast majority of students, it's not an issue.  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, rather than the last, to know.

One cause of body odour that is sometimes overlooked is stress. 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 a 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.

Here are my top ten tips for personal hygiene at tango classes.
  1. Shower before dancing whenever possible.
  2. If you’re coming straight from work and can't shower, bring a fresh shirt or top.
  3. Use a deodorant and, if you need to, an effective anti-perspirant. SoTango has these available at the front desk should you require them.
  4. Use aftershave and perfume sparingly: they can be quite overpowering and some people are allergic to them.
  5. Avoid eating strong foods before class, like garlic, onions and curry, as they linger on the breath, skin and clothes for a long time. 
  6. Brush your teeth if possible and /or use breath fresheners or mints
  7. Chewing gum is not recommended as the chewing motion is known to affect one's rhythm!
  8. Re: alcohol, it's best to drink after (not before) classes. 
  9. Smokers - be aware that the smell of tobacco smoke lingering on your breath and clothes can be off-putting for non smokers. People who eat garlic don't notice garlic breath on others. The same applies to smokers. If you smoke do what you can to minimise the odour.
  10. 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.