Whether you’re an aspiring ballet dancer or already a professional one, your dance bag is something that you can’t leave home without. Aside from the several pairs of ballet shoes and pointe shoes that you lug around every day, your dance bag is most likely also filled with items you need on a daily basis as well as those you will be happy to have in the case of a studio or theater emergency.
Of course, your dance bag is a very personal space already filled with your favorite snacks, personal care, and beauty products, so we’ve compiled a non exhaustive list of ballet accessories and essentials you may want to consider including.
Despite living in the height of the technological era, many (including yours truly) are still believers that good old pen and paper still have a place in our lives. When it comes to jotting down notes after class, rehearsal, or performance, having a pocket size notebook is really handy. You don’t need to power it on and you won’t be distracted by the slew of notifications that you received while perfecting your pirouettes.
TheraBands – the brand name that has become synonymous with this exercise tool – has been a ballet dancer, physical therapist, and athlete favorite for years. As the generic name implies, these non-latex bands use your own body to provide resistance in order to build strength and flexibility. They are color-coded to indicate the progressive amount of resistance of each band; there’s a beginner set and advanced set of Therabands. The fact that they’re also lightweight and affordable make them a must-have companion in your dance bag.
Another useful piece of equipment to bring with you is a foam roller. Available in a compact 13″, a roller will provide relief in working out sore muscles and knots. This one in particular has a varying grid pattern with each element serving a different purpose ranging from trigger point targeting, finger-like massage, and soothing.
Whether for drinking water throughout the day to stay hydrated or sipping coffee to stay awake, a collapsible bottle makes transportation a cinch. This one in particular can hold up to 18 oz / 550 ml of cold or hot liquid, is BPA free and leak-proof, and available in an array of neutral to vibrant colors. It’s really convenient that the bottle can be compressed so compact for storage.
There are bandages and then there are BANDAGES. These waterproof Band-Aids will be lifesavers whether you’re just starting to feel a hotspot or if your skin is already broken. Put one of these on (specific shapes are available for toes and heels) and your pain will be relieved and your blister healed before you know it. They last for days before you need to take them off or they come off on their own, whichever comes first.
As odd as this may seem, having floss in your dance bag will actually serve you in a couple of different ways. One is the more obvious – you’ve eaten lunch or had a snack and a bit of oral hygiene may be necessary before you head back into the studio. The other reason is to use as thread for sewing your pointe shoes; it’s quite strong so only a few stitches are needed. This is especially useful for when you need to do a quick sewing job. My preference is an unscented unwaxed kind. Naturally, you will also need needles – this pack of assorted size sewing needles should do the trick.
It should probably go without saying that every ballet dancer should have an extra pair of tights with them at all times. The transition, a.k.a. convertible, style gives you the option of wearing footed tights or rolling them up for a footless version. Companies such as Capezio (as pictured) offer dancers a wide range of colors to match skin tones and costuming needs.
This is another item that seems should go without mention, but after spending decades in the ballet industry, it never ceases to amaze me when a dancer asks, “Does anyone have any extra bobby pins?” Do yourself and your colleagues a favor – always carry hair supplies with you. A handful of bobby pins and hair pins will suffice; because even if you’ve left your ponytail holder at home (for shame!), you can still pull your hair up into a french twist.
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