Ask any dancer to empty out their dance bag and you will discover an array of items some of which quite frankly may look torturous. If you then asked them to identify their key dance tools that they have to pack before each class, the list may be fairly extensive. If the question were asked of me it would be hard for me not to include the following:-
‘Vera Bradley’ seems to be the bag of choice among many young dancers. The large number of pockets on the inside helps with keeping everything organized however, it is made of fabric which makes it very absorbent of liquids. I had an unfortunate incident on a plane trip home recently. My bag was stowed underneath the seat in front of me. Unfortunately the little boy didn’t quite get to the rest room in time and my Vera Bradley bag soaked up everything. Vera if you are reading this, a waterproof version would be fabulous!! Little boys on planes – drink less juice. For now however, I have switched to the more resilient option of a simple backpack.
Pointe Shoes & Ballet Slippers
This is a no brainer. No dance bag should be without dance shoes. This is number one on my list of dance bag must haves. Currently I am wearing Russian Pointe Rubins. My feet are fairly narrow which made finding a shoe that didn’t look bulbous around my toes a little challenging. For ballet slippers, I wear a sturdy pair of canvas So Dancas, and highly recommend them.
The first toe pads I used were the Bun Heads Ouch Pouch. They worked really well but there’s a lot of padding and my feet would end up feeling suffocated. The extra bulk also made it difficult to feel if my toes were properly articulating. So, I started wearing a new brand of toe pads called Skinny Dip Toe Savers by Danztech. They are not as bulky as my previous toes pad which makes it easier to fit into my pointe shoe.
Strong Hair Pins
I originally used pins and bobby pins to do my hair. They would fall out constantly and my bun hardly ever stayed in one shape for the entirety of class. Now, I have switched to Bun Heads strong pins and they are one of my most important must haves. In fact, I’m sure my buns could never properly function without them.
Hair nets are pretty much a 100% necessary must-have, and many teachers insist on you having them. On the days when your hair has just been washed or just isn’t cooperating, the hair net helps to keep all the loose strands neat. It also means you don’t have to slick on a hairspray layer to keep your bun intact.
If you are not familiar with therabands, though many dancers are, they are long wide lengths of thin rubber or elastic. They come in different colors with varying elasticity and are used for strength exercises. There are many different exercises that you can do to help with turnout, foot strength, etc. They are also portable and in my opinion, well worth your the money.
Dancers are constantly in pain of some sort, from tight muscles to cramps or more serious ailments. To combat the typical tightness’ and cramps, I roll out my muscles and feet with a massage ball that is small enough to fit in a typical dance bag. The balls come in various sizes and are easier to transport than the common foam roller or massage stick.
(Socks, foot booties, mukluk slippers): If any of you are like me, your feet are always freezing and only obtain a decent warmth after a workout, and then they proceed to drop to freezing two minutes later. To keep my feet warm, ready to dance, and prevent injury I wear any type of foot warmer.
Corrections Note Book
Finally a corrections book. I try to always keep one of these in my bag and make a note of anything my teacher has specifically said to me. This helps me to remember what I need to work on and break any bad habits. It’s also good if you are learning something new to put it in your book and then you can go back to your teacher if you have any questions.