The Dancing Bag (a checklist)

I am performing tomorrow at the Sydney Bachata Festival. All I can think is what I need to pack for the show. I’m creating this checklist…

I’ll be an Angel at Last. That is because the choreo is homage to Lee, the dancer from the UK we lost to an accident recently. And we are angels. To the ones that don’t know, I was supposed to perform at the Sydney Salsa Congress but fractured my arm and couldn’t do it. So now, at last, I’ll be an angel on the stage tomorrow night.

I’m very exited with the weekend because it will be the first time where I’m in an event dedicated entirely to Bachata, last year I was in Brazil at the time when the first festival happened.

Team of performers at Sydney Bachata Festival’s backstage / Tania ready to perform the Angel choreography

So now that I’m packing my performance bag, I thought it would be interesting to share the checklist.

First I go through the performance in my mind, the costume, what I’m wearing.

Then I go through what I have in the bag following my body from top to bottom:

Things in my box and dancing bag:

  • Hair and Head props, hats, halos, horns, tiaras, etc.
    • I have a little carry bag always ready with:
      • Hair gel, or mousse, etc
      • Hair pins (bobby pins) different sizes – according to hair colour
      • Thin hair net for danders
      • Hair brush
      • Hair elastics, different sizes and colours
      • Thin comb with the metal pointy handle
      • Shower Cap
  • Jewellery if it is the case:
    • Earrings
    • Necklace
    • Rings
    • Bracelets
  • Face & Make‐up: My Make‐up box is a beauty. All organised with all that I could need.
    • Foundation
    • Corrective
    • Eye shadows
    • Eye liner black, white & brown
    • Mascara
    • Shinny:
      • Glitters of different kind
      • Shinny spray
      • Diamonds for make up
    • Lipsticks & Gloss
    • Fake eye lashes.
    • Sponges, cotton balls, cotton pads, cotton sticks, brushers, sponges, special appliers and sticks for make up
    • Make up remover and moisturiser to fix make‐up messes
    • Transparent nail polish (to fix running stockings)
    • Nail polish you are using (to fix your nails if you have a breakage or an accident with your manicure)
    • Mini sewing kit – thread with the colour of the costume you are using and the clothes you are wearing for the after party.
    • Security Pins of different sizes
    • Scissors, box‐cutter, Swiss‐army knife – little addictions to your box that can make it all easier.
    • Panty liner and tampons
    • Fashion tape – that double sided tape to keep your straps and straps on the right place.
    • Wipes
    • Facial tissues
    • Razor & shaving gel
    • Nail files and cuticle’s 
    • Good sized Mirror protected in case it breaks during the travel
    • Remember to pack any special make‐up and props for specific choreographies, like fake vampire teeth, lycra masks, hat pins, tiaras, scar tissue glue, or blue paint, for example
  • Up close and Personal – VIL (very important list):
    • DEODORANT!!! For dancers there is no religion, allergy, personal beliefs that can be put above this simple thing:
      • You do need deodorant or antiperspirant of some kind. Especially for couple dancers this could mean the success or total debacle of your dancing night. If you are not getting too many dances or more refusals than you should think normal, change your deodorant or perfume. Or check your breath.
    • Perfume only if you are used to them.
    • Breath strips!!! Another essential, carry toothbrush, toothpaste, but for any time and place that you need to be safe in a hurry carry breath strips, mints, chewing gum any kind of breath freshener.
    • Carry the emergency extras with you: nail polish for a retouch, a brand new razor, shaving gel, etc. ▪ Girls – remember to arrange to be waxed, shaved, manicured and pedicured as necessity beforehand.
    • Shower kit if there is a place for you to refresh in between rehearsals, performances, etc. Shampoo, conditioner, soap, towel.
    • A sweat towel is good for everyone.
    • Extra dancing shirt or rehearsal’s clothes
    • Extra underwear
    • Intimate products (For Females) nothing worse than be caught unprepared
    • A few plastic bags
    • First aid bag:
      • Band‐aids – get the good ones, water resistant, for sportists, the ones that will save your life or your feet.
      • Special pads for blisters – you can get some awesome skin colours healing gel pads for blisters nowadays that would have made my ballet dancer life a lot easier 15 years ago… with these the pain is very bearable if you get any blister and you can dance your night away with very little pain! Woohoo!
      • Bandages
      • Medicine & painkillers – carry medicine that you usually take, always carry something if you have headaches. Never give anyone any medicine they are not used to and never use something you have never used before on a performance night.
  • Clothes and costumes:
    • Dresses
    • Shirts
    • Pants
    • Belts
    • Jackets
    • Pieces that go over the normal clothes (vests, scarfs, etc.)
    • Count how many pieces your costume has, take note of the number and double check that you have all the items before finishing your packing.
    • Clothes for after-party

I just imagine myself dressing the whole ensemble on and see if I remembered all the items.

  • Leg’s pieces:
    • Socks – the right colour please and to have both feet with the same colour is essential!
    • Stockings – sheer to waist, it is horrible, to have those stockings with a mark in your thighs showing through your fishnets. Yes, holes marks are visible even on stage. And yes, you can see them on pictures too.
    • Panties, for under the stockings (usually G‐string or something that doesn’t mark the body) and for over, if necessary, like the undies or shorts from the costume.
    • Piece of stocking to tie your undies if you are doing the Brazilian bikini tie.
    • Underwear (panties & bras) adequate to the costume.
    • Fishnets
  • Shoes:
    • Official choreo shoes.
    • Extra pair of shoes, doesn’t matter if it is old or the wrong colour, choose the closer one to the official shoes and bring it with you for an emergency.
    • Pads – nowadays no‐one has to suffer with shoes anymore, in the supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies you can find those pads and stuff that are designed to make any pair of shoes at the very least bearable for its purpose. Discovering the heel gel pads and ball of the feet protection was a big deal for me. Carry your favourites extra pairs in your bag.
    • Shoe brush – for Latin dancers it is essential to have suede soles brushed so you don’t have yourself falling on stage.

TIP: Don’t put shabby stuff in your bag, only carry new things, new razors, new nail files, new box cutters, if you need to use anything you will have no stress.

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