Extreme Makeover: Dance Bag Edition
Face it: Your dance bag is gross. But sweaty clothes, smelly shoes and protein bar wrappers aren’t the only nasties you’re carting around. According to a study conducted by British company Initial, the average handbag is covered in three times more bacteria than a public toilet seat. (The dirtiest bags had 10 times more!) In the spirit of spring cleaning, here are four steps to take your dance bag from funky to functional.
1. Don’t be a pack rat. Dump out the contents of your bag and sort them into three categories: need, may need and trash. Pitch the trash—like that threadbare pair of tights you’re never going to wear—immediately. If there are any other clothing items (or sweat towels) in your “need” or “may need” piles, throw them in the laundry, whether or not you’ve worn them yet.
2. Say good-bye to grime. Turn your bag inside out and use a vacuum with a fabric attachment to suck up crumbs and dirt. You can also use a hairbrush (over a trash can) or a piece of masking tape to get rid of stragglers.
(Photo by Nathan Sayers)
3. Wash or wipe. If your dance bag is machine washable, send it through a good ol’ spin cycle. If not, use a wet washcloth or an alcohol-free baby wipe to get rid of any smudges or stains.
4. Start fresh. Remember your “need” and “may need” piles? Take some time to organize those necessities in your dance bag, making use of side pockets and inside compartments. Then make some decisions: How many just-in-case items do you want to lug around every day? Remember, the less you overstuff your bag, the less likely you are to find a gross surprise inside.
De-Stank the Rank
As long as you cart dance shoes around, your bag is going to smell like a locker room. Here are a few simple ways to minimize the stank:
• Put your bag in a plastic bag and throw it in the freezer for a few hours. The cold will kill smelly mold, mildew and bacteria.
• Fill a sock with baking soda, tie the end and throw it in your dance bag for a couple of days to help neutralize any odors.
•Do the same with coffee grounds. Sure, your bag will smell like a coffee shop for a while, but when the aroma fades it’ll take the stink with it.
•Pop your bag in a pillowcase and tumble it dry on gentle with several dryer sheets.
(Photo by Shvili/Thinkstock)
Toe pads aren’t forever!
“If you start feeling the floor too much, or you’re getting more blisters than usual, your toe pads are probably worn out,” says Mary Carpenter, professional pointe shoe fitter for Chacott by Freed of London. Pinch either side of the pads. Can you feel your fingernails touching? If so, pitch the pads. Similarly, if they have any tears, it’s time to retire them.
Pro tip: To increase the lifespan of your toe pads, Carpenter recommends keeping
them dry, washing them regularly and rotating among multiple pairs.
Pro tip: Hand-wash gel toe pads in cold water, not hot, so they don’t melt. And sprinkle them with baby powder afterward to avoid a seriously sticky situation.
If you find yourself falling back on the same few movements every time you choreograph or improvise, you may be in a creative rut. Check out these five odd but effective inspiration boosts:
#1. Look at something green. Our brains associate green with innovation—one of the many reasons going outside is a great source of inspiration.
#2. Head to a coffee shop. Have you ever tried to come up with an idea in dead silence? Not fun. Moderate ambient noise—like the level at
a coffee shop—boosts creativity by offering your brain something unpredictable to feed off.
#3. Think inside the box. Setting restrictions on your creative process (“I can only initiate movement from my rib cage”) actually prompts you to be more innovative.
#4. Talk it out. Grab a friend and explain where you’re stuck. You may find that just describing it gives rise to a solution.
#5. Hit the lights. People tend to be more creative in darker spaces, because they feel less inhibited. We’ll call it the dance-like-nobody’s-watching effect.
Do you hate green veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale? According to a study at Pennsylvania State University, you may have a gene that increases your sensitivity to bitterness. A touch of oil, salt and oven time should cut the pungent, bitter flavor.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.
We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)
So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.
The coolest place she's ever performed:
I'd have to say the Super Bowl. The field was so cool, and Katy Perry was right there. And there were so many eyes—definitely the most eyes I've ever performed for!
Something she's constantly working on:
My feet. I'm flat-footed, so I'm always hearing, 'Point your toes!' And I'm like, 'I am!'
My hair! That, and a pair of leggings with a T-shirt or tank top.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
For a long time, I was the strongest dancer at my studio. But this year there's a new girl in my class who's very talented, and my teacher's attention has definitely shifted to her. I'm trying not to feel jealous or discouraged, but it seems like my whole dance world has changed. Help!
In the dance world, Mandy Moore has long been a go-to name, but in 2017, the success of her choreography for La La Land made the rest of the world stop and take notice. After whirlwind seasons as choreographer and producer on both "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance," she capped off the year with two Emmy Award nominations—and her first win. Dance Magazine caught up with her to find out how she's balancing all of her dance projects.