What Dancers Want: Three Dancers Share Their Favorite Past Gifts and What They’re Wishing for This Year

Kender Walker (right): Her favorite past holiday gift was a new Dream Duffel to use at recitals.

The holidays are a great time for shoppers to surprise the dancers in their family with that fancy leotard, expensive character shoe or new dance bag. Stocking creative gifts in eye-catching displays will make your customers’ lives easier—and your store’s year-end results cheerier.

We asked three dancers what they want this holiday season, as well as what they love to give their dance friends.

Kender Walker
Dancer at Natalie’s Dance Network
Clarksville, TN

DRN: What have been your favorite past holiday dance gifts?
When I was about 7 years old, I got the Dream Duffel with a pullout costume rack, tons of pockets and a stool. It was a small black style. A few years later, I asked for a bigger size with pink polka-dots.

DRN: What dance items do you put on your list every year?
I point out things that I love from dance magazines, such as sports bras and leggings. I wear lots of bright-colored sports bras with patterns or designs, which stand out on their own, or I wear a cute black sports bra that works well under tank tops. I always need more black, calf-length leggings, since they match everything. I would love to get a pair with mesh on the sides. And lately, I’ve been warming up before class in fuzzy pajama pants. I would love to get more of those this year, along with some movies and books about dancers.

DRN: Do you ever exchange holiday gifts with dance friends?
Our competition team does Dirty Dancer every year—you never know what gift you’ll end up with. Blankets, slippers and gift cards are go-to items. Some people find water bottles with cute dance quotes, dance ornaments or even fuzzy socks with dancers on them. I would personally love more thin headbands in solid colors that fit snugly on my head—those are hard to find.

Santana Trujillo
Dancer and teacher at Gayton Dance Studio
Northglenn, CO

DRN: Growing up, what were some of your favorite holiday dance gifts?
We perform the Gayton Rockettes in every studio holiday show, and the owner, Ms. Robin, gives each dancer a special gift. One year, it was a silver Christmas-wreath pin for our dance bags. Last year, it was an ornament engraved with “Gayton Rockette 2016.” And our studio always does a Secret Santa, where we give everything from body sprays to candy to cute tank tops that say, “I can’t. I have rehearsal.”

DRN: What are the dance items that you ask for every year?
I love getting leotards with beautiful backs, such as a mesh or lace back, or even an open back. I wear mostly black since it’s classic, but burgundy also looks professional. The best present I ever received, though, was my LaDuca character shoes. They’re beige with a three-inch heel, and I wear them for everyday classes and workshops, as well as when I go to auditions.

DRN: What would you recommend dance stores provide for the holiday season?
I love to receive stocking stuffers, and it would be great if stores had packages already created that include bobby pins, hair ties, extra pairs of tights, a little can of hairspray, body mist, eyelash glue, a cute water bottle and a leotard. I would also like to see false eyelashes with rhinestones at the corners of the eyes, since we wear lots of rhinestones and glitter in our holiday shows.

Emma Senecal
Dancer at Studio Dance, Inc.
Dallas, GA

DRN: What dance gifts will you be asking for this holiday season?
I love anything that improves my flexibility and balance—arch stretchers, TheraBands, balance boards, yoga blocks and small circles of marley [floor] for practicing at home. If there’s something I want that might be hard to get in time, I ask for a dance gift card.

DRN: Do you have any performance clothes or accessories that you need for a holiday show?
I usually need new pirouette shoes and tights, in all colors and styles, for my holiday performances. I also need a special bra or leotard to wear underneath my costumes. I like a nude bra with clear straps so I can adjust it depending on the style of the costume. If I needed a nude leotard, I would look for a sleek nylon rather than a cotton, so the costumes can slip on easily.

DRN: Are there any clothes that you usually receive as holiday gifts?
I love getting athletic sports bras and shorts. I like sports bras that have a high neck, so that I’m not constantly tugging them up during class, and strappy backs to show off my muscles. The shorts should be very formfitting with a high waist so I can roll them down if needed. Darker colors, or blacks and whites, usually work the best for mixing and matching.

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

Photo by Picture This Dance, courtesy of Kender Walker

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