12 Items Every Serious Classical Dancer Needs

By: Catherine Watts

Dancing is an art form that many consider to be both a performing art and a sport. Dancing requires not just a resume and headshot, but some serious stamina as well. Utilizing the proper dancewear can greatly minimize the risk of injury while dancing.


During an audition you never know what kind of dancing you’ll be asked to perform, so it is important to bring a variety of shoes. In addition to your basic ballet slippers or jazz shoes, make sure to pack shoes for all the specialty dance forms you can do, such as tap or pointe work. A choreographer may suddenly want to see a different style, even if it wasn’t specified in the audition notice, especially if your résumé indicates that you can do it. Ladies should also always have something with a heel.

Hair Ties

Though not in all cases, in most cases a dancer will need to have securely tied hair. Classical dancers in particular need to be meticulous in sporting a neat hairstyle that will stay in place and not interfere with the look or execution of their movements. Be sure to pack a small bag of hair essentials including hairpins, hair ties, and hair spray. Hair ties have been known to snap easily, and the last thing you want during an audition is hair in your face.

A Foot Stretcher

Dancers can sometimes lose foot flexibility in the arch. Using a quality foot stretcher regularly will help to maintain a strong arch.


Dancers often must wear tights during their performances. Dance tights are stretchy and easy to move in, but they also help to prevent blisters. In case of tears, runs, stains, or excessive sweating, you want to have a pair of backup tights.

A Turnboard

Master your pirouettes by practicing on a turnboard. Turnboards are a great tool that will help you to complete full or multiple rotations while you focus on spotting, balance, and posture.


A basic leotard is especially useful during rehearsals or auditions. Leotards both make it easier for the dancer to move and for the instructor to see body placement.


You may not wear makeup to class or rehearsal, but you’ll be wearing it to auditions. Carry a small makeup bag for auditions just in case you need to do a touch-up.

Resistance Bands

Dancers need to be very flexible. To increase or maintain your flexibility and range of motion, look into getting some resistance bands. Inexpensive and highly effective, this is something that every dancer should use regularly.

Portable Ballet Barre

A portable ballet barre is a great buy for any serious dancer who wants to continue practicing outside of their rehearsals. The double barre is preferred over the single, as it will better assist you with stretching, port de bras, grand plies, etc. Get one of these for your home studio and see your flexibility improve.

Reading Material

Auditions can take forever and rehearsals can go even longer. For the downtime, always have a good book or magazine with you.


A dancer’s schedule can often include long sessions. On the days when you’re not sure when you’ll be able to grab something to eat, be sure to bring your own snacks from home on a regular basis.


Don’t be that person who is stinking up the dance studio. Keep a stick of deodorant in your bag at all times.

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