When you’re a dancer, your body becomes an instrument that requires a variety of essential items to maintain. That’s why dancers carry those enormous bags—they need to be prepared for any situation. There’s nothing worse than finding yourself without the necessary tools during a dance job; so to ensure your safety, comfort, and success in your dance and movement work, here’s a list of the most essential items for your dance bag.
1. Dance shoes: Make sure to pack a variety of shoes, especially if you’re heading to a dance audition. In addition to basic ballet slippers and jazz sneakers, include shoes for specialty dance forms such as tap or pointe. You never know what style of dancing you’ll be asked to perform, and it’s essential to be prepared. Ladies, remember to include shoes with heels as well.
2. Extra tights, leotard, and warm-ups: Always have a backup pair of tights and a clean leotard in case of tears, runs, stains, or excessive sweating. Studios and theaters often have unpredictable temperatures, so pack warm-up clothes that you can easily layer and remove.
3. Hairbrush, comb, elastic ties, barrettes, pins, and hairspray: If you’re a classical dancer, be sure to sport a neat hairstyle that doesn’t interfere with the look or execution of your movements. For other dancers, you can showcase your professionalism and preparedness by bringing spare elastics or barrettes to offer to others.
4. Towel: Even in cold weather, dancers sweat. You’ll find yourself wiping off perspiration periodically, especially during partner work, since sweaty skin can be dangerous during lifts. Consider packing an additional clean towel for use after showering.
5. Deodorant: Nobody enjoys working with a performer who has an unpleasant odor. Stay fresh and considerate by including deodorant in your bag.
6. Perfume or cologne: On busy days when you don’t have time to shower after rigorous classes or rehearsals, a quick spray of mild cologne can help you feel and smell fresh.
7. Antiseptic wipes: Keep these on hand to cleanse minor cuts or scrapes and to sanitize, especially when leaving the studio or stage area isn’t convenient.
8. Antibiotic ointment: To prevent infection, promptly apply ointment after cleansing any cuts or scrapes.
9. Bandages: Ensure you have a variety of bandages, including adhesive, elastic, and liquid types, to cover any minor injuries that may occur.
10. Breath fresheners: Be considerate to your fellow performers and make a positive impression by having breath fresheners in your bag.
11. Disposable razor: Include a disposable razor for last-minute touch-ups or when changing into a different style of leotard or tights.
12. Makeup bag: In case you need to reapply or repair your makeup for an audition after class or rehearsal, keep a makeup bag in your dance bag.
13. Water bottle: Staying hydrated during long days of rehearsing or auditioning is key to maintaining your health and energy. Carry a reusable water bottle that can be easily refilled. Remember never to carry glass bottles in your dance bag to avoid potential injury from broken glass.
14. Protein bar: When your schedule doesn’t allow time for meals, a protein bar can help keep you energized.
15. A healthy snack: Dance nutritionists recommend eating small amounts of food periodically throughout the day. Pack a healthy snack such as nuts or fruit for those uncertain breaks or when you’re in an unfamiliar neighborhood with limited food options.
16. Plastic bag: Carry a plastic bag for storing wet dance clothing, towels, and other damp items.
17. Notebook and pen: You never know when you’ll need to record an important piece of information, so it’s wise to have a notebook and pen readily available.
18. Extra photo and résumé: Even if you’re not attending an audition, you may have a serendipitous encounter. Keep a hard copy of your dance résumé and photo in your bag, just in case.
19. Umbrella: Avoid showing up to auditions drenched by including an umbrella in your bag.
20. Smartphone and charger: Having your smartphone and a way to charge it is essential. Whether you’re double-checking choreography on Dancemaker, filming yourself on iMovie, tracking progress on Steezy, or simply staying in touch with friends, it’s always a good idea to have your smartphone readily available.
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