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Dance Class Checklist for Beginners: What to Pack in Your Dance Bag

So, you want to join a dance class. Good for you! Research shows that dance helps people boost muscle and nerve function, become more physically fit, improve their balance and coordination, relieve stress, and gain confidence. These classes can enable you to learn about your body, connect with others and be inspired by teachers, choreographers, and dancers.

Although this is a fun activity there are items that you should keep inside your dance bag at all times. Having everything you might need before, during or after the class can ensure you stay comfortable and confident while practising your moves.

Dance Shoes

picture of a ballerina dancing in a studio
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What dance shoes are the best? What brand should you purchase and where? The choice of dance shoes can be a challenge, but there are many styles and brands to choose from. It’s worth the time it takes to find the right model of shoe for dancing because it can mean the difference between pain and pleasure during your dance class.

You will be dancing on your heels, toes and the balls of your feet in your shoes so you need a shoe that supports your foot properly. You need a snug fit but not tight. Your dance shoes should have a leather sole and be made of soft material. This way they will stretch to conform to the shape of your foot as you wear them throughout the course of a normal day. If you have been fitted with custom orthotics, you may want to purchase those same dance shoes so that you only need one pair for both everyday wear and for class. Some brands offer custom orthotics with their shoe purchases.

Where do you go to purchase your shoes? You can find dance shoes at many places like department stores, specialty dance stores or even online. They also offer online shopping with free shipping on some sites. As with most things, it is best to try on different sizes and styles until you find the one that feels best for you.

There are various types of dance shoes out there. The type of shoe for dancing you choose will depend on the type of dance you take part in. If you are taking a jazz class, ballet flats, jazz shoes or jazz boots will be appropriate. For a hip hop class, the only kind of shoe that is acceptable is the sneaker. The sole should be thick and have a grip on the bottom.

If you are taking a modern class, most people prefer to wear canvas shoes with rubber soles. But for a tap class, leather tap shoes or hard bottoms with taps will be needed. There should be a strap over the arch to secure the shoe in place. No matter what your footwear looks like, remember to wear comfortable clothing, something loose and breathable.

Warm-ups, Extra Stockings and a Leotard

It’s important you bring at least one backup of each of them (in case you forget or damage one of them). On a hot day, it’s good to bring extra tights, so that you can change if your tights get sweaty during the class (it happens!). You might want to bring another pair of tights just in case one of yours gets damaged during class. It is also a good idea to bring an extra leotard and warmups in case you sweat out all the clothing items in your bag!

A Hairbrush, Hair ties, Headbands, Pins, and Hairspray

picture of hairbrush, hair ties, pins and Hair spray on a white surface
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A Hairbrush is essential for keeping your hair neat and tidy in your dance classes and it helps to keep you looking good as well as feeling confident and comfortable. With a comb, you can also keep your hair in place for dance classes, and it can also be used to remove tangles in your hair.

Elastic ties help to keep your hair tied up when dancing by preventing them from falling into your face while you’re concentrating on dancing. Pins are an essential accessory that all dancers should carry with them when at dance class. They are used by dancers to attach their hair accessories such as barrettes, headbands or clips in place during class. Hairspray is also an essential accessory for keeping long hair in place during dance classes, as it keeps any loose hairs in place and prevents them from falling over your face while you’re concentrating on learning new steps.


Bring a towel to wipe sweat and/or makeup off your face (not everyone uses makeup or sweatbands in class, but if you do it’s important to remember that they will get ruined by hot lights and heavy perspiration). Sometimes there are towels available in the studio, but sometimes they run out or are not in a convenient place, so it’s better to bring your own.

Deodorant, Wet Wipes and Extra Bandages

picture of dancer essentials
source: Jaime Dykstra on Pinterest

Having baby wipes in your dance bag is always necessary because they help clean up any make-up, sweat and dirt that may be on your face after class. Baby wipes can also help with smudged make-up before class starts if there is no time to re-apply it.

If you have a blister or cut, make sure to cover it up with a bandage. If you don’t have any bandages with you, just use a clean sock.

When you are dancing for hours, you sweat, and nobody wants to smell like sweat. Having deodorant in your dance bag (or locker) helps prevent this from happening.

A Water Bottle and a Snack

Dance class is a great way to get a good cardio workout and burn calories but that doesn’t mean it’s ok to forget about proper hydration. So remember to grab some water with your snacks!

As for the snacks, you’re going to want to have something small that can give you some energy without making your feel bloated. A granola bar or trail mix are perfect options. Even having a piece of fruit on hand is better than nothing!

To Sum Up

By sticking to a few basic guidelines and packing the right items, you can ensure a smooth start to your dance class experience. Frankly, it feels great to be prepared when you’re starting something new.

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