20 essentials items for your ballet bag


When you’re a dancer, your body is your instrument and it often requires a variety of items, which is why dancers lug around those enormous bags. Like a plumber who discovers he doesn’t have the right wrench, there’s nothing worse than being on a dance job and finding yourself without the tools you need. So make sure your dance bag contains everything you’ll require to be safe, comfortable, and successful in your dance and movement work.

1. Ballet shoes

Of every sort! Especially at a ballet audition, it is important to bring a variety of shoes. In addition to your basic ballet slippers or jazz sneakers, make sure to pack shoes for all the specialty dance forms you can do, such as tap or pointe. You never know what kind of dancing you’ll be asked to perform. A choreographer may suddenly want to see a different style even if it wasn’t specified in the audition notice, especially if your résumé indicates you can do it. And ladies, always have something with a heel.

2. Extra tights, leotard, and warm-ups

In case of tears, runs, stains, or excessive sweating, you want to have a backup pair of tights and clean leotard. And as temperatures in studios and theaters are unpredictable and can vary widely, it is important to have warm-up clothes you can layer on top and remove easily.

3. Everything for your hair

Classical balletdancers in particular need to be meticulous in sporting a neat hairstyle that will stay in place and not interfere with the look or execution of their movements. Also, it looks good for your professionalism and preparedness when you can be there with a spare elastic or barrette to offer.

4. Towel

Even in cold weather, balletdancers sweat. Particularly when doing partner work, you’ll want to periodically wipe the perspiration off your body—sweaty skin can be dangerous when doing lifts. (You may also want to pack an additional clean towel to use after showering.)

5. Deodorant

No one likes working with a performer who stinks up the studio. And because of the hard work this refreshener is a musthave in your ballet bag!

6. Perfume or cologne

On those busy days when you don’t have time to shower after rigorous classes or rehearsals, a quick squirt of a mild cologne can make you feel and smell fresh.

7. Antiseptic wipes

Good for cleansing a minor cut or scrape or even dirty hands, particularly when it’s inconvenient for you to leave the studio or stage area. You can also use these wipes to clean the surface of a barre before and after using it. 

8. Antibiotic

To prevent infection, apply something like this immediately after cleansing any kind of cut or scrape.

9. Bandages

A large assortment is always important!

10. Breath freshener

A courtesy to your fellow performers and to make a pleasant impression on anyone you may speak to at an audition.

11. Disposable razor

For last-minute touchups or if you have to change into a different style of leotard or tights.

12. Make-up bag

In case you need to re-apply makeup for an audition after class or rehearsal, or at auditions if you need to repair smears, smudges, etc.

13. Water bottle

It’s vital that you stay hydrated during long days of rehearsing or auditioning, and a reusable water bottle can easily be refilled. Warning: Never carry glass bottles in your dance bag. Should they break, no matter how well you think you’ve cleaned out your bag, tiny glass shards may still be in there that could seriously hurt you if they got into your clothes or shoes.

14. Protein bar

On days when your schedule doesn’t allow time for meals, a protein bar can tide you over. 

15. Healthy snack

Most dance nutritionists advise eating small amounts of food periodically throughout the day. So especially on those days when you’re not sure when breaks will be or when you’re going to an unfamiliar neighborhood and don’t know what the food options will be, you should have a healthy snack in your dance bag. The most recommended snacks for working dancers are nuts and fruit.

16. Plastic bag

For wet dance clothing, towels, etc.

17. Notebook and pen

You never know when you’ll need to record an important piece of information. A smartphone will also work in this situation so you can write down some information or even take a picture.

18. Extra photo and resume

Even if you’re not going to an audition, you never know who you may run into. Just in case!

19. Umbrella

You don’t want to show up at an audition looking drenched. There're tons of compact umbrella's available and therefore easy to pack in your ballet bag.

20. Reading material

For the downtime, when you tire of texting or when it’s inappropriate to use your electronic devices, always have a good book or magazine with you.
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