Dance is a profession that many a times needs showing off of one’s body. Especially in the western dance world one can see a lot of skin on display. Wearing Short and exposing clothes, body suits, displaying naked shoulders and mid riff is a common thing for a dancer. This makes a dancer go an extra mile to enhance the body part with tattoos or piercings.
Many dancers today love body piercing; I too call myself one of the many I will agree. Few years back, I was invited to perform at the closing ceremony of the prestigious World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland. My performance was watched and praised by who is who from the world of business and politics. In the audience was former President of United States Bill Clinton, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Ambanis, Hindujas, Mittals and many more well known names. Excited and elated by all the praise and cheers I got for my dance, I decided to treat myself with a piercing as a memory of Switzerland and the performance at the world economic forum. I decided to decorate my body with an eyebrow pierce. I will admit that I was lucky not to develop any infection or pain, but at the same time I know about many dancers who have gone through a lot due to the body decoration and piercing.
Often dancer gets inspired by Hollywood and Bollywood icons and their body decorations. Celebrity piercing has always interested paparazzi and fans. Often dancers dance to songs of Hollywood pop icons or from bollywood films and it is not surprising that a dancer gets inspired to make a similar piercing as the star. Stars adore going under the piercing gun, be it movies stars, prominent musicians, supermodels – they all just cannot resist the attraction of having something pierced. So getting inspired by their icons a dancer too adorns a piercing. Be it an Ear piercings, nose piercings, genital piercings, lip and oral piercings. A dancer uses all these types of body cutting to look both more provocative and attractive just like their favourite star.
In Hollywood from Lady Gaga to Britney Spears from Rihanna to Janet Jackson all have piercings and here in Bollywood be it Bipasha Basu, Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif or even Salman Khan all have decorated their bodies with one or more piercings. So it is not very surprising when a dancer opts for a piercing too.
Body piercing has come a long way from the traditional earlobes and nose piercing. Nowadays many dancers have a piercing of the belly button, eyebrow, lips and even tongue, chin and nipples. With personal experience, I can say that any piercing needs care in the initial days to avoid infection, which can lead to severe pain and other complications if not given attention to.
Many dancers impulsively opt for piercing without taking note of their skin type, proper sterilization and information about the post piercing care. Lack of hygiene, lack of proper sterilization of the area and the piercing gun or the needle are the common reasons why pierced area catch infections. Also there are many dancers who have sensitive skin and when they clean the pierced area with antiseptic, they get irritant eczema.
While piercing the earlobes and eyebrows result in common complications, nose and naval infections can sometimes be fatal too. A nose infection could result in swelling and extreme pain for few days at the piercing site. Also, studs and rings can get caught in daily clothes, while practicing steps or during quick changes between dance performances, which can further aggravate the problem and also spoil the performance of the dancer. There are times when a stud gets caught in the dancing clothes or strings and pulls the skin, leaving one in extreme pain. This unexpected rubbing too can lead to further complications.
Best is that one should avoid visiting random piercing shops and opt for experienced hands to avoid infection. One of my young troupe dancer girls got her belly button pierced without informing her parents and opted for cheaper piercing method and place and realized her mistake later. She kept the piercing covered to avoid family looking at it and due to which she could not clean the spot at regular intervals. Ultimately the truth came out, when the area got badly infected and then she had to be given heavy antibiotics to control the inflammation. This often happens because cheaper shops are not usually hygiene conscious and on the other hand a medical expert charges a steep price, but takes all the necessary precautions.
After Piercing one should put an antibiotic ointment and gently wash the area twice a day for atleast 15-20 days after the piercing to prevent any kind of infection. Infection if any can be treated with antibiotic tablets and ointments, where as allergies need to be treated with anti-allergic and steroid antibiotic ointments.
So if you are one of those dancers who wish to decorate their body with a piercing, here are a few pointer for you to keep in mind so as to not develop issues with your piercing and you can enjoy the decoration for a long time to come
Choose the area that you want to decorate with proper thought and not because some other dancer has it in the same place.
Make sure you have some free time at hand and you are not busy with shows or rehearsals so you can take good care of it.
Choose the piercing center or the piercing parlour carefully.
Note down and sincerely follow all the instructions given by the medical practitioner for post piercing care.
Religiously take care of the piercing area just the way you take care of your dancing wounds during dance rehearsals or practice.
Once you are ready and piercing has healed, get ready to show the world your body decoration, making sure it is not pulled during practices or shows or otherwise.
(Sandip Soparrkar is a well known Latin and Ballroom dancer, a World Book of Records holder and a Bollywood choreographer who has been honoured with National Achievement Award and National Excellence Award by the Govt of India. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org)