Having the right dance bag for class, rehearsal or performances can make a big difference in keeping a dancer organized, outfitted and prepared. But dancers need more than just one bag when lugging around costumes, tights and shoes for performances. Plus, how do they keep track of all those tiny accessories? We spoke with three teen dancers about the bags they like best for after-school classes, rehearsals, performances and summer intensives.
Luv 2 Dance Studio
DRN: What bags do you prefer for day-to-day use?
JL: I prefer backpacks—my favorite is the Lululemon On My Level rucksack, because it has individual pockets for my laptop, water bottle and phone. If I was to go with a purse duffel, I would use the Jo+Jax Charlie bag, which has two straps and tons of pockets.
DRN: Do you use any other containers or bags for your accessories?
JL: The Jo+Jax Make-It-Up bag is really nice for holding my makeup essentials, but for shows, I use the TANTO Lazy Makeup drawstring bag. It folds up very compact, but opens up flat so you can see everything. And for my water, I prefer Hydro Flasks because of their large volume and their ability to keep my water super-cold.
DRN: How do you make sure your bags stay clean and fresh?
JL: I actually use sneaker deodorizer balls made by Fancy Feet. They work even better than just washing my bags.
DRN: What’s your go-to bag for classes and rehearsals?
VB: I go straight from school to dance class, so I usually have a small shoulder tote bag that I repack every day, depending on my class schedule. The bag has three different pockets: one with a zipper for my dance shoes, one for deodorant, bobby pins and my tennis ball, and one for clothes. There is also a horizontal zipper compartment at the bottom of the bag where I put my street shoes.
DRN: What bags do you need for performances?
VB: Alongside my dance bag, I like to have a hanging bag for costumes (with small pockets in the front), a hanging bag for my after-party clothes and a makeup bag. I also pack a lunch bag that has an outer pocket for my water bottle and several compartments for different foods, like sandwiches and fruit. When I shop for bags, I look for neutral colors, like grays and blacks, with a pop of color, like purple or blue.
DRN: How do you keep smaller items organized in larger bags?
VB: I use small, colorful bags with clasp closures, and I color-coordinate them to know what is in each. For example, I know that my blue bag is for bobby pins, and my purple bag is for earrings.
Momentum Dance Ensemble
DRN: What are the most important features of your dance bag?
AM: I make sure my dance bag is really spacious to fit all of my shoes, rollers, tennis balls and a first-aid kit. I also look for many zipper pockets to keep everything organized. And finally, I need an outside pocket for storing my water bottle so it doesn’t spill on the inside of my bag.
DRN: How do you cope with smelly shoes in your bag?
AM: My bag, thankfully, is washable. I also put dryer sheets inside of my bag. Pointe shoes and pointe shoe accessories go in a separate black, mesh bag so they can dry easily and not smell too much.
DRN: How do you pack differently for summer intensives?
AM: For summer intensives, because you have to walk a distance from your dorm to the actual studio, my regular dance bag on one shoulder is too heavy. So I recommend a large, spacious backpack to distribute the weight equally on both shoulders. A little first-aid bag is also really important, as well as a little bag for feminine products.
Amy Smith is a dance teacher and writer in Greensboro, NC.
Photo by Ling Wang