An Important but Understated Aspect of DanceSport: Personal Hygiene in the Ballroom
It's no secret that DanceSport requires the sweat and grit of an athlete. But while it's perfectly fine to see an athlete training in worn-out soles and heavily drenched clothing, it's not nice to experience the shower of sweat from someone's hair upon us when they swirl on the dance floor. Nor is it pleasant when they remove their shoes, and the odour of smelly feet fill the room.
Although we are a sport that is all about keeping appearances polished, there are deeper considerations that a dancer should take beyond maintaining an appearance. Let's start by talking about personal hygiene and doing our part to ensure the well-being of others.
In light of the current emerging threat of the spread of the coronavirus, we ought to be more conscious and take essential steps for personal hygiene to keep yourself safe and others practising happily.
Some of these things may seem obvious, but many of us forget them in the spur of the moment.
1. Sanitisation of Hands
Ballroom dancing is a sport that requires a ton of close contact and hand-holding. Ensuring that our hands are sanitised as we come into the studio reduces the risks of unnecessary infections of any kinds. Regular in-between sanitisation can only help rather than harm.
2. If you are feeling sick or unwell, rest!
You are hardworking and would want to take every opportunity to practice your craft. However, in our close contact sport, it is best to rest at home to minimise the spread to others. Should you feel that it is just a slight cold or cough, perhaps, it is best to be practising your cucarachas at home till you are well and better.
3. Cough into your elbows if necessary
It is a known fact that we need to cover our mouth when we cough. More often than not, we are taught to cover our mouth with our hands in such situations. However, while you are in the midst of practice, this may not be practical nor hygienic as we are often holding hands. Therefore, fold your arms over your mouth and cough into your elbows.
4. Hand Towels a necessity
With rigorous training, you often perspire loads. A hand towel will come in handy to clean your sweat away as frequently as you need. Plus, using a hand towel minimises touching of your face with bare hands - reducing the risk of any contamination transferred into your body.
5. Bring extra dance practice-wear
Drenched practice wear often shows how hard you have been working. However, when it becomes wet with sweat, that can make your partner (who has to hold you throughout the dance practice) feel very uncomfortable even though he or she might not tell you directly. When it becomes too wet, change to another dry shirt to stay fresh and clean. Trust me when I say this, your partner will really appreciate the effort.
6. Clean socks every day
It is a good habit to always change to a fresh pair of socks for each practice. Socks absorb the sweat and keep the shoes from retaining the sweat off our feet. This goes a long way in keeping our shoes smelling clean.
7. Good shoe care practices
It is important to look after our shoes and keep them in good condition to prevent smells from building up.
A dancer's commitment to their craft is reflected in the way they regard their personal well-being. Dancers are bound to get sweaty and dirty, with conscious care, you can make the environment a much nicer and safer place to be.