Picture this… It’s the middle of the day during a long summer intensive, you’re feeling tired, sluggish, and you’re thinking to yourself, “why didn’t I just pack that snack”. It’s okay, we’ve all been there! Well, my fellow victims of poor planning and procrastination, there’s truly only one solution. Prepare! Prepare! Prepare! You will not be successful if you do not pack your bag ahead of time for dance class. Prepping your bag in advance only benefits you and your training – not to mention, is a huge element of class etiquette. When your bag is packed the day before, you know exactly what shoes you will need for the day, and you’re ready to take on any hiccup that might come up. Think about how many times you wished you had remembered a sewing kit to fix that broken shoe, or wished you had packed a packet of electrolytes for when the fatigue sets in. This is especially true for a Summer Intensive! So, sit back and take notes as I guide you through the dos and don’ts of packing your bag for dance class and summer dance intensives, along with comprehensive packing lists to follow!
- Buy the right dance class bag. I cannot tell you the amount of times I saw dancers who had a dance bag that was either way too small or way too big. You must research and purchase the goldy locks of dance bags! I’ve found that gym bags work extremely well, because they are sweat resistant and usually have lots of pockets. Not to mention they usually have a place to keep your shoes separate from the rest of your things. Side Note: Consider the option of a backpack versus shoulder bag. If you know you’re going to be moving from studio to studio throughout the day, a backpack could be better for your back and alignment. However a shoulder bag does usually have more open space and can hold a little bit more.
- Let your dance bag air out overnight. This is especially true for summer dance intensives, and will prevent your shoes from being damp and smelly. You can lay out your items next to your bag the night before, so all you have to do in the morning is toss everything inside.
- Pack paper towels into your shoes to dry them out and to keep their form while inside of your dance bag. This is an especially great tip for pointe shoes!
- Know your schedule and pack accordingly. As you’ll see in my lists below, I recommend packing the required shoes for the day, but it’s up to you to know what those shoes should be.
- If there is a required dress code, follow it. I obviously don’t know the exact colored leotard and skirt you are supposed to have, so you will need to follow your requirements as they are given to you by the dance school.
Take my lists with a grain of salt. You are your own person with your own specific needs. While I can provide you with a general list, only you know what you truly need. Example: Some dancers swear by IcyHot, some dancers will only use Tiger Balm, but only you know your personal preference.
- DO NOT pack too much. I know this sounds counterintuitive given this article, but there is no reason to pack 2 hairbrushes. There is such a thing as being over-prepared.
- DO NOT give away all of your wonderfully packed items. If you follow my advice, you will gain the reputation as the “prepared one”. This is a positive thing, but it will lead to people constantly asking you for things and depleting your supply. Be kind but don’t give away what you need to get through the day.
- DO NOT pack a banana or other strong-smelling snacks in your bag without being separated by a plastic bag of some sort. A raw banana will make EVERYTHING smell like banana. And no one wants to be the “banana kid” at barre.
- If you pack water, DO NOT put it inside of the dance bag. The chance of water spilling all over your dance shoes, or heaven forbid your pointe shoes is too great a risk.
It’s important to mention that a dance bag packed for a few hours of dance class, will look different than a dance bag packed for an 8-hour summer intensive dance day. Because of that reason, I’ve broken down two lists separately into easy to check off packing plans. Print these out and mark them off as you go.