Dance competitions and recitals are the peak of the dance season, where performers get a chance to showcase all their hard work throughout the year. As a parent, the experience can be bitter sweet. You’re presented with competition fees and the cost of costumes and travel, but you also get to see your child pursuing their passion onstage.
To make the experience more sweet and less bitter, preparation is key. One way to ensure you’re always prepared for recitals and competitions is to put together an epic dance tote to keep everything organized backstage. Here are some of the key components for creating a tote the other dance parents will be envious of.
The Bag Itself
There are a few approaches to creating a dance tote, but a few key elements remain the same. For one, it needs to be easily transported. Therefore, it needs wheels or handles to make it move. Secondly, it needs to be easily stored, so a small, compact kit is preferable over something big and bulky.
Many choose to use a small, clear tote-bin while others gravitate toward a carry-on suitcase. While the suitcase is nice because of the handles and wheels, it also makes it easier for the contents to shift and fall into disarray. A small, clear tote bin with handles allows for easy storage without tipping and is preferable for glancing inside to make sure everything is there.
Some of the apparel items you need will be obvious. For example, you know you require the costumes needed for the event and ballet shoes or other types of footwear. You should also include comfy pants and a sweater, as it can be chilly backstage (even more so after being physically active under bright lights) and the costumes aren’t appropriate for lounging between performances.
Many dancers will pack a fuzzy, zip-up onesie for easy removal. Slippers or flip flops are another popular choice. Basically, anything to stay warm and comfortable until the next performance. Just be sure to have button-up or zipper tops, as to not damage the makeup and hair.
Your dancer will need to fuel his or her performance throughout the day. Depending on the schedule, they may not be able to sneak away and eat a proper meal. Finding a balance between non-perishable items that will keep and proper nutrition will be a challenge. Add a couple of pieces of fruit and some granola. If you know they’ll be able to eat early on in the day, pack something high-protein like Greek yogurt or a wrap.
Keep the food in a separate bag in the tote to ensure you don’t spill anything on the costumes. If you plan on using an ice pack or cold water bottle, be sure to keep the costumes in separate bags as well to reduce dampness from condensation.
Your child might be completely content to sit and chat with the other dancers backstage. Or they might need some time alone to unwind. Have them pack a book, coloring, or electronic entertainment to keep them busy before performances. Having a few different options throughout the day will help keep them engaged.
An Inventory List
Stick a laminated, dry-erase sheet on the inside cover of your tote bin that lists everything that should be inside. This way, you or your child can do a quick check before, during, and after an event to ensure everything is in place before moving on. This is a simple way to identify if anything is missing before you leave home or the venue.
The list can include anything from costumes and shoes to snacks and entertainment. Having this attached will also help your child become more responsible for their items with guidance from you.
Have your child create a name label and decorate it according to their style, so they can quickly identify their bin. The added personal flair will make the bin both functional and fun!