It's time to raise an important, if sensitive subject:
We all do it - some barely at all, some more than others, some like monsoon season in Calcutta. In the right situation, a bit of sweat can be downright alluring. Just - not on the dance floor. However much we sweat, for the sake of our dance partners, it’s best if we can keep it under control.
Shag can be highly aerobic, and is often danced in an enclosed, poorly cooled environment. This leads to an increase in body temperature and consequent increase in humidity.
Shag is also danced in close hold meaning the risk of sweat transfer from damp partner to dry partner is high.
Luckily for us and our clothes, the finest minds in science have been studying the field and have developed some handy techniques to keep things in check. Let’s review the options, shall we?
1. Use an effective anti-perspirant
A good antiperspirant forms the first line of defence. There are lots to choose from - sprays, roll-ons, crystals… all tried and tested means of minimising sweat. It doesn't have to have a ship on the bottle, and it doesn't need to be scented - its purpose is to stem the flow of mammal-water.
Now, you may prefer to shun the antiperspirant family and let nature take its course, in which case the following points become all the more important...
2. Layer it up
At the Savoy Ballroom back in the ‘30s, all male dancers were required to wear a jacket, keeping sweat on the inside (photo at bottom of page).
Now, we’re not the Savoy, but we can recommend wearing a minimum of two layers of clothing. Whilst it may seem paradoxical, a breathable undershirt actually keeps you cooler than you would be if you were wearing a single layer, by allowing air to circulate. Or something. Ask a physicist. Anyway, an undershirt also absorbs any sweat before it hits an outer layer of clothing - or a partner’s hand - and gives it a chance to evaporate harmlessly.
3. Know where your towel is
Keep control of the droplets with a handy little towel. Rather than lug an enormous beach towel around, you may prefer to have one or two facecloths tucked in strategic pockets, much as you might conceal a handkerchief. A discreet dab and - ping! Fresh as a daisy. Muji make natty little pinstripe facecloths - I like them.
4. Quick Change
Even with antiperspirants, undershirts, and towels in place, It's not always possible to keep the waters at bay all night long. In this case, bring a spare top layer or two. When you start to feel damp, take a break, change shirts, and return to the party refreshed and looking fabulous!
5. Scents and sensibility
Most dancers sweat so freely that their pores are clean and free from smell However, it's nicer to dance with someone who smells nice, so why not invest in some scent?
A good scent will last all night, as will your partners.
We’ve had a few comments from allergy sufferers, who rightly point out that perfume can trigger an allergic reaction - so be careful, that scent may have the opposite effect to that intended!
6. Breathe freely
What did you have for lunch? Thai? I thought so.
Either brush your teeth before dancing, or have a quick chew on a piece of gum. We might think our breath smells ok - but that's for our partners to judge. Keep the breath fresh, and keep smiling!
7. Keep hydrated
The only way to stop sweating completely is to stop drinking - a technique used by some professional dancers before a performance.
Unless you enjoy total organ failure, or are interested to know what it feels like to have kidney stones, this is a very BAD IDEA!
Make sure to keep yourself topped up with water throughout the night.
8. Who do you hug?
Some folks are sweatier than others. When you leave the dance floor, think about how sweaty you are before you embrace that non-dancing friend… they might not want your sweat on them.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any tips or thoughts you'd like to share?
Leave a comment below!