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  • Writer's pictureDawn Matthews

Dancing In The Summer – How To Stay Cool

Updated: Apr 17


dancing in the summer - blog banner. Image shows couple dancing outdoors, woman wears a strapless summer dress, man wears white top and trousers.

Dancing in the summer is a massive challenge. Not only is it hot, making you more likely to opt for staying in the garden with a cool drink, but let’s state the obvious: dancing makes you hot and sweaty, and getting hot and sweaty in the heat can be hard on the body. That said, getting your dance fix is important, and so in this post, I thought I’d note some of the tips that help me to keep dancing throughout the summer. Of course, staying cool isn’t the only thing that you need to think about when you’re dancing in the summer – with the heat, comes the sweat and the potential for smelling not-so fresh!


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Before You Leave Home


There are a few things you can do before you leave home to help you get through a night of dancing when it is hot. Some of them are obvious, but I know there are some things that I wouldn’t have thought to do when I started out dancing.


Check Your Local Venues


As the heat rises, you might want to be a bit more selective about where you decide to dance throughout the week. One of my local venues has a tin roof, and they aren’t allowed to have the doors open when the music is up because of homes being nearby. Needless to say, even though I enjoy dancing at that venue, I don’t tend to go there when it has been hot all day.


Dances that are held in social clubs, nightclubs, and so on, are more likely to have air conditioning, which makes dancing an awful lot more comfortable, even if they have a low ceiling. If you don’t have as many venues locally, check social media posts to see which ones talk about fans, open windows, and so on. Even then… you might want to think about which ones tend to be hot anyway. When it is really hot, some venues will have ice pops on offer, and they definitely help cool you down from the inside out. (If you’re really organised, you might freeze your own and throw a couple in a thermos flask, but I’ve not got that level of organisation in me!)


Before You Get Dressed


Even before you think about what to wear, you’ll need to do your usual, non-negotiable pre-dance shower and prep. Make sure you’ve used plenty of deodorant, and a spritz of perfume or aftershave. You can’t avoid sweating on the dancefloor, but you can certainly avoid the smell of stale sweat!


If you’re applying makeup, then you might want to consider different products for summer dancing. Waterproof makeup products are a good idea, since they’re less likely to run if you get a bit sweaty. Using a mattifying primer before you apply your makeup can help stop your skin looking quite so shiny, and once you've applied your makeup, a good fixing spray (the Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray is well known to be a great option, but budget ones such as NYX are good too) will help keep your makeup in place. While I’ve said this… I'd also say, don’t worry too much about keeping your makeup in place. Everyone is in the same boat on a hot dancefloor, and so a shiny face isn’t the end of the world – it just means you’ve been dancing hard, and had a great night!


I’ve always admired the lady dancers that can dance with their long hair down. I simply can’t do it, because my hair is heavy, and I just end up a hot, sweaty mess, even during the winter, and so during the summer, I almost always dance with my hair up. If you’re feeling brave and start out with your hair loose, then make sure you’ve got the bobbles and pins you need to tie it up later on if you get too hot.


Dress For The Heat


This is just common sense, but sometimes I see dancers wearing clothes that make me wonder what they were thinking. The main thing you’re going to want to achieve on a summer dancefloor is cool, and comfortable, and what you find comfortable to wear in the heat is what you’re likely to find works for you on the dancefloor too. Loose cotton, linen, and stretchy, sweat wicking fabrics are absolutely fine for most dance venues, whether you choose a loose cotton dress, shorts and a t-shirt or vest top, and even gym leggings or shorts can be a good choice when it is super-hot.


Ladies, if you’re wearing a skirt or dress that flares out when you spin, you might want to consider a pair of cycling shorts, or ‘boy short’ style knickers, to keep everything covered.


Pack Your Dance Bag Well


Once you’re actually out dancing, there’s a few products that you will almost certainly want to hand. I carry almost all of these alongside my shoes in my dance bag to help me cope with the heat and to keep me on the dancefloor for longer.


Water bottle


Hydration is always key for a great night’s dancing, and to make sure you don’t wake up with a headache the next day. A decent water bottle, or a reusable cup, should be in your dancing bag every time you head to the dancefloor, not just when it is hot – then you're saving on single use plastic or paper cups too.


Deodorant


You might put plenty of deodorant on before you head out, but definitely make sure you have a can of spray in your dance bag too. There’s nothing like getting a whiff of B.O. that makes you wonder whether it is you or not – and you definitely don’t want that to knock your confidence and to stop you dancing. Being able to have a quick spray while you’re dancing will stop that issue becoming a problem.


Towel


You’re going to be sweating, and for most of us, it is likely to be a lot. Nobody wants to be dripped on when they’re dancing (although sometimes it is unavoidable!) but if you sweat plenty, it is just good manners to do a quick mop up of the sweat between dances. A small hand towel (or even a tea towel!) is generally all you need for this, and they're easy to wash when you get home too.


Clean tops


Gents, this tip is mostly for you, especially if you sweat a lot – bring at least one change of top with you, and change when you need to. It takes two minutes to pop to the bathroom, splash your face with water and towel off, apply more deodorant, and a clean shirt. You’re likely to get more dances when you’re not looking like you’ve stood under a shower because you’re so sweaty!


Handheld fans


Whether you choose a traditional, pretty and lacy handheld fan, or you prefer a rechargeable electric fan, you’ll be thankful for a fan at a busy dance! Both types can be found pretty inexpensively online, and ladies, if you love a coordinating accessory, then get yourself a range of handheld fans!


I’ve also recently seen some dancers with electric fans that sit around the neck, but I’ve not tried those – I need my fan to be able to be used all over me, which is why I prefer a handheld style that I can aim where I need it. I chose this pack of three fans, and they're lovely.


Cooling mist sprays


I recently picked one of these up in Home Bargains to give it a go, and I have to say, I’ve only really used it when I was at Camber for Jamfest – when the temperature in the Thunderball room was akin to being about an inch from the sun! But it did help to cool me down (for a few minutes anyway!) so I’m going to be carrying cooling mist sprays in my bag throughout the summer.


Blister plasters


Although luckily, I’ve never needed them, I’ve always got some in my bag, just in case. And no matter how comfortable your dancing shoes, when it is hot, there’s an increased risk of blisters occurring. You can get big packs of blister plasters online for a lot cheaper than buying the branded ones in the supermarket.


Ice towel


This was an absolute game changer for me for summer dancing! Ice towels, cooling towels, whatever you want to call them – you want one in your bag for those hot nights on the dancefloor. They are made from a fabric that is similar to a football shirt, and you simply wet them, and shake them, and they go back to being super-cold, which is perfect for putting on the back of your neck, on your arms, chest, legs… wherever you feel the need to cool down. Then when the cool has gone, simply shake it, and it gets cold again! Just be sure to throw it in the wash at the end of the night, you don’t want a wet towel to start smelling in your bag. If you dance multiple times each week, and your partner dances too, this pack of 10 ice towels is perfect.


Chewing gum or mints


Again, this is something you probably carry with you when you head out for dancing anyway, but when the weather is hot, and you’re dancing close with a partner… Make sure your breath is fresh. You don’t want the awkward feeling that someone’s dodging you when you’re approaching them!


My Final Thoughts About Dancing In The Summer


Dancing in the summer isn’t as easy as dancing in the cooler months of the year, but with the right approach, accessories, and clothing, you’ll be able to have a great time, even if you need to hit the shower the second you get back home! I’ve left the comments on, so if you think there’s something I’ve not included in this post that you think would be great to add, please feel free to add them!

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