Salsa dancing will stimulate at least 4 of our 5 senses.  The ones that are most impacted are sight, hearing, smell, and feel.  I am not sure if taste comes into everyone’s dance experience, so I will leave that one to the dance commandos.

Let me be very clear, dancing is a close contact sport, I will say that one more time,

Dancing is a close contact sport.

See: The average interaction will engage your visual sense.  This means that looks matter, but our senses are constantly overloaded by this channel of communication.  The way you dress will make an impression.  Dancers tend to be very flashy to break the ordinary dress code of everyday life.

Hear: In any salsa club there are 2 sounds of interest. The music is the first and the second is the sound of your voice.  Confidence can be transferred in the way you ask someone to dance.

Feel: When we take her hand as we ask her to dance she will feel the texture of our hands and the length of our nails.  Please cut your nails.  This is not a common interaction in the corporate world since there is about 2-3 minutes of hand to hand interaction.

The Scent of Salsa

SMELL: Unlike most interactions this one is very close and, in some cases, almost eye ball to eye ball.  Here are some situations that amazed me over the years

the way my face smells.  I have had women detect the scent of my after shave

The smell of my breath.  I have had companions tell me I need gum or where can I get your mouth wash

The smell of my shirt.  I often put on my cologne on my right side, directly where the bachata follow will put her head.  If you have any questions about the scent of your shirt put it to wash and get a new one.

The smell of my arms.  I once put on a smell after shower body lotion on my arms and no other scent.  I was asked several times what is that scent I am wearing.

Here are a few things that I often hear when I recap a dance night with friends. 
If your shirt isn’t being worn for the first time from the dryer, guaranteed you have an unpleasant smell. All the cologne and showering will not rid the smell of even a once worn shirt. The problem is we often think “ oh I wore this shirt only once and didn’t really to anything to get it dirty...let me wear it once again before laundry......WRONG decision for a dancer! 

Use deodorant.  I know you may be a very clean person and you shower often, ...even that once worn shirt will carry the smell of a day’s body Odor, the kitchen or cooking you did, the outside...all the smells you really don’t need you dancing partner to smell....  although, this once worn relatively clean shirt may be okay in the work place, maybe out to run’s not for the close contact of dancing.  Yes, please make sure you have applied and reapplied deodorant and yes, please use a nice cologne....but most importantly self-awareness....if you aren’t wearing a clean out of the dryer shirt ...accept the fact you probably smell unpleasant and don’t ask (me or my friend) to dance

Breath. You must brush your teeth very close to when you dance. Not hoping your morning brushing will be good at 11pm. Furthermore, brushing alone is not enough, you must have your teeth and gums cleaned every 6 months to a year.  If you have underlying dental issues brushing 3 times a day and all the mints will maybe give you a minty fresh taste in your mouth, but it will not rid the odor.

I really wanted to share this because many of us are so unaware that our partner detect scent very strongly and unlike most interactions, this close contact sport brings scent into the forefront of the dance interaction.  This might be as important as your skill level.

Here are my quick tips that work

1.       Only picks clothes that smell like detergent

2.       Put on some body lotion especially on your arms

3.       Pick a nice smelling after shave

4.       Pick your favorite cologne and put it on just before hitting the dance floor

5.       Bring some gum or Listerine spray during the night

6.       Drink water between dances and cocktails since your mouth will get dry

)Change your shirt if you get very wet during the night.  This is not a gym, it is a dance.

(disclaimer: a lot of times the whole drenched sweaty shirt doesn’t bother some girls at all when he smells good....I’ve dance with guys who a soaked but smell like downy fabric softner)

Here is a quick self-evaluation check list on “Do I smell?"

Is my shirt from dryer and being worn first time ?

A.) yes. (I probably don’t smell)

b.) no. (I will smell)


Have I seen the dentist in last year or 6 months?

a.) yes. (don’t smell)

B.) no. (I definitely smell and need a dentist appt)


Have I applied deodorant/cologne and/or lotion?

A.) yes. (I don’t smell)

b.) no. (I will smell)


Do I have breath mints, gum and water between dances?

A.) yes. (I probably don’t smell)

b.) no. (I may smell, especially if I am feeling cotton mouth)

Our friends may not tell us and certainly not strangers that we have hygiene issues, I was asked if I would be a neutral ambassador and be able to send this article in an sense anonymously to some people so it does not create bad blood but be a guide that will enhance the overall dance community.  Sadly, ignorance is not helping as we cannot fix a problem that we do not know we have.  If you think this is a good idea, we can explore this secret letter passing.