I saw BJ Dance Towels at some point in the past year on social media and added it to my blog topic list, thinking, “Is a towel just a towel or something more? I’ll check this out later, this looks interesting.” As I was working my way down the list I got the kindest email from BJ Dance Towels creator Benedikt Jockenhöfer about reviewing his dance towels, then a follow-up offering to send me a towel to review. Subsequent communications were also humble and lovely and it can’t be stated enough how nice it is to receive this kind of correspondence, particularly where someone is trying to promote a product. He believes in these dance towels and now I believe in them, too.
To answer my question above, the towel is something more – it’s both a functional, sweat-wiping, absorbant microfiber towel that is incredibly soft and smooth, as well as a lovely fabric statement of style. Benedikt drew inspiration from classic menswear, the silk scarves that were often seen around necks and draped over lapels of the past and present. For his inaugural towel offerings, he chose shades of red, white, and blue, which coordinate with a lot of clothing, and drew his themes from two popular swing era topics – aviation and Art Deco design.
Let’s walk through the receipt of my Savoy dance towel. I opened the package from Germany to find a well-crafted box with the BJ Dance Towels logo and some lovely design work. I am immediately smitten and thinking that this box will be great for traveling, either to carry jewelry or flat hair flowers.
I open it up to find an inspirational quote from Dave Brubeck – am I bombastic? To your average non-dancer, I probably am the most bombastic, fearless, dancy-dancer and where did I learn to dance like this? How I forget sometimes that what we do seems like magic to others, but is actually a skill and we devote countless ours of our lives and all of ourselves to it because we love the music and the movement. But I digress – is there a towel in there?
Of course there is! The microfiber Savoy towel feels incredibly soft and substantial, something that will not shirk away from a thorough swiping of your face and neck. Once out of the box the wrinkling was minimal – this is definitely not something you need to iron or baby. I am recovering from hip surgery, so at the time I received this towel I wasn’t cleared to dance, but I did go for a brisk walk to break a sweat and patted myself down afterwards. Sweat was absorbed, with great softness and ease. The fabric seemed neutral in terms of response to my body temperature. I could see it being cool when I need it to be cool and warm if I needed to wrap it around my neck and run out into the winter night after a dance. I washed and dried it and it came out beautifully, looking as good as it did when I pulled it out of the box, even after leaving it in the dryer with bath towels for three days.
Also in the package with the box, quote, and towel was an invoice with a handwritten letter on the back from Benedikt, sharing his joy for these scarf/towels, a note about the label on the scarf with washing instructions (which is mandatory in the US and the tag comes off easily), and notes about the fabric. Let’s do talk about the fabric, which is really what makes this special. A lot of thought went into this and the BJ Dance Towels crew decided to go with microfiber for a number of reasons, quoted from the website:
- Better for the environment – They are made from recycled plastics so they actually reduce the plastic in the world.
- Better for absorbtion – 1/3rd more absorption than a kitchen towel
- Dries 1000% faster (Yes, it’s three 0’s)
- The towel absorbs about 300% of its own weight in water. That is about 170-180ml of water, or almost a full glass of wine. And it does that super quickly and dries impressively fast. We tested it all in this video for you: https://fb.watch/2Zi5LKuDnJ/
In researching microfibers, they discovered that the best microfiber is produced in China and, through a friend who works at Porsche, discovered the company Porsche uses to produce its high quality microfiber. This is definitely the closest I will ever come to owning a Porsche.
Pulling again from the BJ Dance Towels FAQ page, to answer in summary the question of why these particular dimensions (30 x 120) of fabric for a dance towel:
- More surface area than a hand towel.
- A smaller towel may get lost more easily or fall off the back of a chair. This towel was designed to hang on the back of most chairs and not touch the ground.
- The German Swing Kids would wear elaborate opera scarves and this is made in that tradition – YES!
- Can actually be used as a scarf for warmth.
You may be thinking, “OK, this sounds great, but how will I tell my dance towel apart from others at a dance event if everyone jumps on this train?” I recommend a few avenues to claim your dance towel – one involves a permanent marker and the other involves taking your towel to a local embroidery shop to personalize it with your initials or name. If you’re particularly adventurous, add fringe. Maybe sew a particular button on one end of it. Get creative!
Since you may not be 100% back to dancing in your part of the world, consider that summer is coming in the northern hemisphere and you may find yourself attending more outdoor COVID-safe events that would necessitate nicer attire than stretchy pants and a tee shirt. Rather than sweat it out, you could blot yourself with a BJ Dance Towel in one hand and fan yourself with the other hand.
Speaking of sweat, not only does the BJ Dance Towels offer beautiful sweat moppers, they also have a page devoted to troubleshooting sweating and dancing – definitely a helpful “But wait! There’s more!”
I’ll close with a quote from the BJ Dance Towels vision summary: “We want to honor…those who know that carrying a towel is a favor they do to everyone around them.” This is about caring for yourself and others. As someone who has left a dance covered in more of other people’s sweat than my own, I salute you.
EDITED 6/24/21 to add that BJ Dance Towels now has an embroidery machine so you can have your name/initials/special word added to the dance towel to make sure other dancers know it’s yours.