What Dancers Want: Holiday Gifts for Pre-Professionals

Marissa Conway in The Nutcracker. Small nutcracker ornaments work well as tokens for teen dancers to exchange at the holidays.

With the holidays just around the corner, dancers are looking for the perfect presents to add to their wish lists, as well as small gifts to give to their friends. We asked three pre-professional dancers what memorable presents they’ve received in the past, plus what they’ll be asking for this holiday season.

Tori Coates

Pre-Professional at the Joffrey
Academy of Dance

DRN: What holiday gifts do you like to exchange with your dance friends?

TC: We usually give each other small pointe shoe accessories, like toe tape, pointe shoe fresheners that soak up the sweat and leave a nice scent, or Toe Candy, a cushioning that I prefer over lambswool. Small dance ornaments, like a nutcracker, would also be a really cute gift idea.

DRN: Do you have any past holiday gifts that stand out to you?

TC: Last year, I got a balance board that I love to use at home to strengthen my legs. In the past, I have also received a backpack to use for not only shoes but all of my dance supplies. It has a lot of pockets for storing knickknacks that I need in pointe class, but also enough space to fit all my shoes and a portable roller.

DRN: Do you ever ask for clothing around the holidays?

TC: Garbage bag shorts are my go-to warm-ups, so I often ask for those, as well as Bullet Pointe skirts. We’re allowed to wear skirts in variations classes, and the Bullet Pointe skirts are super-flattering for your body. Plus they come in a wide variety of colors.

Marissa Conway

Pre-Professional at the Ballet
Academy of Texas

DRN: What dance items typically go on your holiday wish list?

MC: I like to ask for different, fun items for the holidays—for example, last year I got a couple of floral leotards from Elevé Dancewear. I also love anything that helps me warm up and stretch before and after class, such as reflex rollers for my feet and calves, wooden foot stretchers, full-length legwarmers and fuzzy socks.

DRN: Do you stock up on anything special for your holiday performances?

MC: I definitely need tons of pink tights around the holidays to get me through multiple shows, as well as bobby pins, hair spray, legwarmers and ice packs.

DRN: Do you have any suggestions for cute gifts that dance stores could provide?

MC: I once received a small travel-size package with a foot roller, foot spray, socks and hair supplies that fit well in my dance bag. Small bags like these are the perfect idea for gifts to give friends.

Estella Persio

Pre-Professional Dancer at Grier
School in Tyrone, PA

DRN: What dance apparel and accessories do you always need more of by the holiday season?

EP: I wear leggings every day for dance, so I go through many pairs in a year. I usually ask for about three pairs, all black, and I’m really into high-waisted leggings with mesh cutouts on the ankles or the sides of the leggings. I also love S’well bottles for hot or cold liquids, and I usually need new toe pads.

DRN: Are there any new dance items that you’ll be asking for this year?

EP: I definitely need a new dance bag that’s made of waterproof material and has a water bottle pouch and lots of extra small pockets to keep accessories organized. Lightweight, zip-up jackets are also fantastic for the winter—my favorite is a wrap jacket that zips on the side, keeping me extra toasty in the front.

DRN: Are there other trendy gifts that dance stores could provide for the holiday season?

EP: Colorful scrunchies are really in right now, to go over your ponytail or bun, giving an extra pop of color against a black leotard. I also need lots of thick black socks, nonslip, for contemporary classes and performances.

Amy Smith is a dance teacher and writer based in Greensboro, NC.

Photo by Cathy Vanover, courtesy of Marissa Conway

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *