Chris Moore, Courtesy Dream Duffel

How Berkley Houchin's Dream Duffel Keeps Her Sane During Comp Season

Berkley Houchin is a dance competition powerhouse. At just 12 years old, Houchin boasts the resume of a much more seasoned dancer. When she isn't at home on her ranch in Amarillo, Texas with her family and her horse, Jazz, Houchin is managing a whirlwind schedule of dance competitions. She is currently a Pro Reveler at the Revel Dance Competition, and she was awarded "Junior Miss Encore" and Encore "Performer of the Year" in 2018, among others.

When Houchin travels for competitions, she currently has 14 dances in tow. She knows that having things packed correctly is the difference between being able to focus on her dancing or fretting over where her next headpiece is. We took a look in Houchin's Dream Duffel bag to find out how she keeps all the details straight so she can focus on the stage (and, we're giving away all her favorite Dream Duffel products!):

Chris Moore, Courtesy Dream Duffel

Houchin swears by her bag—the large Dream Duffel—which can stand on its own as a personal closet when she is on-the-go. If there is a star in Houchin's Dream Duffel, it's the garment bags. With costumes, shoes and accessories for 14 dances to keep track of, Houchin is in love with how the garment bags keep her organized. "One dance equals one bag," she says. "I put my solo costumes in one bag since they are smaller, so I have about 10 garment bags packed." Bonus: the garment bags are see-through so you can quickly grab the right costume.

Chris Moore, Courtesy Dream Duffel

Her Dream Duffel also has storage solutions for smaller odds and ends. "I use the accessory box for hair pins and hair ties, accessories, lash glue, lashes, stuff like that," she says. Houchin's favorite feature of the accessory box is the fact that she can change the size of the compartments. "You can make it bigger for a comb and then make the other one smaller if it is just for bobby pins," she says.

Chris Moore, Courtesy Dream Duffel

Houchin has learned that you never know what you are walking into in a competition setting. The dressing room may be overcrowded, so you need to be ready to improvise. She loves that her Dream Duffel comes with a stool that flattens and stores on the side of her bag. "Last year we had to do braids," she says. Houchin's mother was comfortably perched on their stool to braid while others were straining to find a place.

Chris Moore, Courtesy Dream Duffel

The Dream Duffel turn perfect and pointe perfect also help Houchin get ready for the judges. "The turn board is great on floors that are not so great to turn on," she says. "It helps you remember your placement. If you are barefoot you can practice turning on this instead of concrete where it might be slippery and dangerous." The pointe perfect—a tool with padding on a wooden platform—helps Houchin stretch her feet. "We all want those beautiful feet."

And with so many dances and competitions to keep track of, it's no surprise that Houchin uses Dream Duffel's dance journal as well. She dedicates the pages to documenting what has happened in the past year: Her successes as well as her corrections.

Plus, she uses it as an archive of all the new friends she makes on the competition circuit. "When you meet new people, you can write down their Instagram handle so you can tag them in the pictures you have together," she says, a strategy that we're guessing has something to do with her impressive 22k Instagram following.

Want to win a Dream Duffel like Houchin's, plus all the goodies she keeps inside? Enter our Ultimate Competition Kit giveaway here.

Learn more about Dream Duffel here.

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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.


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