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My name is Tony Rausseo. As a Latin Dance Instructor, Choreographer and Performer, I am in contact with hundreds of people on a daily basis. My dance activities include private and group fitness classes, salsa classes, and social dancing at salsa clubs. Like many of you Salseros and Salseras out there, I am regularly in close contact with a large number of people in a closed environment.

After reading the flu self-guide from the Ministry of Health (MSSS du Qu├ębec), I realized the seriousness of this virus. Therefore, I decided to warn everyone, especially my students and colleagues, not only of the danger of this flu pandemic but also of the swine flu. Despite the vast amount of information that is available, particularly in the media such as television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet, we tend to ignore the warnings that come during flu season.

As you could tell us, Latin dance involves various degrees of physical contact, often quite close, where we are more likely to be exposed to any type of germ. Merengue, bachata, and salsa dances are the most likely to bring us into such close contact.

Salsa clubs are those places where dancers come together to share their passion and love for Latin dance and beautiful music. Due to the friendly and lively atmosphere, we may forget that we are at risk of being infected with the H1N1 virus. Despite warnings from our health experts to the contrary, we can continue to practice our usual exchange of hugs and kisses when greeting our dance partners.

I think once we hit the dance floor, Latin music takes over and our thoughts turn to our desire to move to the beat. However, it is important to remain vigilant and aware of the seriousness of our exposure to this virus and the possibility of becoming infected.

So if you’re getting less of those friendly handshakes, nice tight hugs, or warm kisses these days, you’ll understand, won’t you?

What you need to know to protect your health and the health of others can be found on the Quebec government’s pandemic website.

Also, here are some of my own recommendations to keep in mind when you’re at a dance club or public event:

1. Wash your hands after dancing or changing partners. It’s a good idea to have liquid hand sanitizer with you. For some in the palms of the hand and rub the entire surface to disinfect them, very practical!

While soap and water are sufficient, they’re not always readily available or immediately available to us (especially when you’re waiting for your dream dancer to invite you; you’re not likely to say ‘Wait! I’m going to wash my hands first!). ..

2. In the club or at a public event, do not lend or share your handkerchief, bandana or washcloth to anyone! Even if you want to be gallant or want to help someone, don’t do it!

3. Although wearing a mask may seem extreme, it is something worth considering. You might even see me wearing one at a Halloween party. I will kill two birds with one stone. LOL!

4. Practice general personal hygiene on the dance floor. For example, turn around to cough into the bottom of your elbow. Wash your hands regularly and always be considerate of those around you to prevent the spread of germs. By doing so, you will also be protecting yourself at the same time!

Dance with confidence and joy hot Latin salsa!

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