Tips from a Teacher
Lets start fresh shall we?
Clean Out Your Bag
If you have an old bag that you’ve been using for a few years, be sure to clean it out before packing it for the season. That old-clothes smell isn’t going to go away unless you take the time to kill the bacteria that are causing it!
Dance Spirit magazine recommended you dump everything out of your bag and toss the trash. Next, turn the bag inside out and vacuum up any crumbs or hairs that are hiding in the crevices. The magazine suggested that you throw the tote in the laundry – if it’s machine-washable. Otherwise, you’ll want to wipe it down thoroughly with disinfecting wipes.
Still smelly? Here’s a pro-tip for you: Stash your bag in the freezer overnight. The extreme cold will kill the odor-causing bacteria.
Now what do we need in our bags?
1. Dance shoes
Are your pointe shoes, ballet slippers and jazz sneakers strewn around your house? That simply won’t do! Your dance bag should be home to all the dance shoes that you use on a regular basis. Take a peek at your class schedule and pack your bags with the shoes you’ll need each day. It’s a good idea to stash some extra toe pads in your bag as well. You never know when you’re going to need a new pair.
If you have any shoes that are prone to scuffing or have glitter on them, you may want to store them in carrying bags before putting them in your dance tote. This will keep them in pristine condition for as long as possible.
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 a clean leotard. And as temperatures in studios and theaters are unpredictable and can vary widely, it is important to have warm-up clothes that you can layer on top and remove easily.
3. Hairbrush, comb, elastic ties, barrettes, pins, and hairspray
Classical dancers 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, there is frequently a dancer who forgets, loses, or breaks her hair tie, and it looks good for your professionalism and preparedness when you can be there with a spare elastic or barrette to offer.
No one likes working with a performer who stinks up the studio.
Good for dirty hands, particularly when it's inconvenient for you to leave the studio or stage area.
A large assortment of these is always important!
Even in cold weather, dancers sweat, often profusely. It's always a good idea to have something to wipe off with.
8. Plastic water bottle
It is vital that you stay hydrated during class. It's smart to have a plastic bottle that you can easily refill from a water fountain or sink. 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.
8. A healthy snack
Most dance nutritionists advise eating small amounts of food periodically throughout your dance day. You should be sure to have a healthy snack in your dance bag. Also, it's usually less expensive to bring your own snacks from home on a regular basis. The most recommended snacks for working dancers are nuts and fruit. If you forget, we do have items to purchase in the studio. We offer $10 Snack cards that can be purchased ahead of time in case you don't have cash on hand.
9. Notebook and pen
You never know when you'll need to record an important piece of information.
Why are dress codes so important?
Lets talk dress codes...when dancers are dressed properly with their hair up they carry themselves differently, pay closer attention, and work harder! It is VERY IMPORTANT that dancers learn at a young age the discipline of dressing appropriately for dance classes.
Dress codes have multiple benefits for dancers in a class. Not only do dress codes create uniformity and unity among dancers, it helps in teaching students the beginning basics of discipline and 'dressing the part' that is so important as a dancer. When dancers wear the same attire, it minimizes distractions for students and creates an atmosphere of focus and energy. Dress codes are also extremely important in helping instructors see mistakes in a student's technique and body positioning, therefore allowing for better corrections and education.
- Be on time. Better yet, be early. Remain in the studio for the entire class. If you must leave before the end ask your teacher's permission before class begins
- No sitting or hanging on the barre
- You're in close proximity to others, so clean practice clothes, aired-out shoes, and deodorant are all appreciated
- Keep hair tidy and away from the face. For ladies a tight bun, chignon, or French twist are good options
- If jewelry is allowed, keep it minimal and be sure it isn't distracting or dangerous
- No talking, even whispering. It's disrespectful to your teacher, and it's unprofessional
- Finish every exercise, no matter what happens
- Work on corrections when other groups are center floor, but always respect their need for space
- Don't eat, drink, or chew gum during class. If water bottles are permitted, use them only during breaks
- Having live music is a privilege. Treat your accompanists (and their instruments) with the same respect you show your teacher, and thank them at the end of class
- Whether with a full reverence, a round of applause, cheerful words, or - if you must leave early-a discreet wave: always say "thank you" to the teacher