The dance dressing room is a mecca of excitement and nerves, tulle and jewels, lipsticks and falsies. But with so much going on, it can start to get a bit too crazy. Here are seven dressing room hacks that'll help you stay cool in the chaos—and give your best performance yet.


1. Use a tack gun as an emergency tailor.

Fraying strap? Not a problem. Split seam? Not a problem. Broken clasp? Not a problem. Be ready for any costume emergency with this life-saving tool that shoots discrete yet sturdy plastic tacks (like those connecting tags to your new clothes) through fabric in a snap.

2. Use peppermint oil as a personal air freshener.

With so many stinky feet, sweaty dancers, and well-worn costumes around, dressing rooms can smell pretty gross. Overwhelmed by the odors? Place a dab of peppermint oil under your nose or on the insides of your wrists. Instantly, that's all you'll be smelling. Plus, peppermint oil opens airways, cuts nausea, and boosts energy—a win-win situation.

3. Save your performance hair with a T-shirt tube top.

After spending who knows how long on the perfect hairdo, why mess it up by pulling a shirt over your head? Don't risk the wispies—instead, wear your shirt in a whole new way. Hold a long sleeve T-shirt by the cuffs in front of your chest. Wrap the sleeves around your back, return them to the front, tie a knot under your chest, and ta da! You're clothed—and your hair is still perfect.

4. Drink pickle juice as a pick-me-up.

No, this is not a prank! Studies show that the high levels of vinegar in pickle juice can minimize muscular cramps, triggering a reflex that helps your muscles relax. If the idea of drinking straight pickle juice is too hard to bear, bring some pickles as a salty snack or sneak them into your pre-show meal.

5. Use your mug as a tidy-upper.

With q-tips, band-aid wrappers, and twisted bobby pins flying everywhere, your station is bound to get a little messy. Use a large mug as a catch-all to keep the mess in check and your area—and mind—a little clearer. (Plus, you'll be set when you need a caffeine fix.)

6. Make mirror lights your warming plate.

Those picture-perfect dressing room lights that frame your station are good for more than just dressing-room photo ops. Use their heat to keep coffee, tea, or food a littler warmer while you finish off your smoky eye. (On the flip, avoid putting any pressurized products, like hairspray, or paper products near the hot bulbs.)

7. Use toe tape as a personalization tool.

With so many people in one room, belongings often get mixed up. Use toe tape to label things like bottles, makeup, and chargers. Label costumes by making a little tape flag around the hanger. You can also use toe tape to personalize your station, sticking silly polaroids and inspirational notes on your mirror.

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All photos by Jayme Thornton. Wardrobe styling throughout by Chloë Chadá Van for The QUIRK Group.

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.

Margaret

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