A couple of years ago, 2014 to be exact, I decided it was time to create a dance survival bag. I got the idea after I had packed my dance shoes and some paper fans in my backpack for various outdoor concert our swing dance club were attending that summer. I thought it would be a good idea (and less work) to have a bag dedicated to a dance survival kit so I could just grab on my way out the door. I was already a bit of the “dance mom” in my local scene. For better or for worse, this bag solidified my title.
In case you are interested in doing something similar, here are my recommendations for what to include that may be useful to yourself or others.
1) Dance shoes with a shoe brush
I am a rather terrible person when it comes to wearing my dance shoes outside. If the weather is nice (no rain or snow), then I will wear my normal Keds outside on my way to the dance. However, I also always carry a pair of sueded Keds with me to indoor venues because I don’t know how slick or sticky the floor is going to be. I sueded my shoes myself using stick-on suede from Soles2Dance. I highly recommend their suede sheets. It takes a bit of work to cut the suede to fit your shoe, but it is still less work than dealing with cutting suede and using adhesive. It’s probably also cheaper than going to a cobbler. I have had the pair of shoes on the left since September 2014 and have had them sueded almost that long (~2.5 years).
I also have my shoe brush packed in my dance bag, just in case I need to rough up the suede on my shoes, or in case one of my friends needs to do the same for their shoes.
2) Paper fans/ Hand fans
It gets hot at dances, especially if you happen to be dancing outside to live music on a hot summer day (Iowa City has a surprising amount of this). I have a bag of hand fans that I now take with me to share with whomever I’m hanging out with. I have a story for each fan since I have acquired all of them either from my travels or as gifts. Sharing each fan’s story is a fun way to make conversation, especially if I’m with people I am just beginning to get to know.
3) A small towel
Again, dancing is hot work. You’re going to sweat. I have a little towel in my dance bag just in case I get sweatier than usual and need to wipe off my face.
4) A mini first-aid kit
I have been the one with the mini first-aid kit in my bag ever since I studied abroad in Spain in 2011. Back then, it was a tiny plastic container that had bandages, ibuprofen, and a needle and thread. Now… it’s a slightly bigger plastic container with bandages, ibuprofen, nasal decongestant, tums, q-tips, hair-ties, bobby-pins, safety-pins toothpaste, floss, chapstick, needle-and-thread, and a small random white ribbon. Most of that stuff has come in handy at some point and doesn’t take up too much space. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and it’s the best feeling to be the hero who has something someone else needs.
Dancing sometimes involves being face-to-face with someone. It’s nice to not worry about whether your breath smells or not.
6) Hand-sanitizer and Kleenex
I am not a huge fan of using hand-sanitizer, but I like to have it in case I do want to use it or in case someone else would like to. Kleenex are good to have on hand in general.
So there you have it. Those are the contents of my dance bag. It makes going to dances a lot easier because I don’t have to worry each time about whether I have packed everything I needed. I also love feeling useful if someone else needs something. Hopefully this lists gives you some ideas for your own dance survival bag.