A common problem faced by dancers all over the world is having disorganized dance bags. Worrying about ballet bags may seem like a silly concern, but a messy dance bag can actually cause you a lot of problems. For one, thing, it is really annoying to lug around a huge ballet bag, and can be bad for your back in the same way carrying a pile of textbooks is hard on the back. Dancing is bad enough for your back already-you don't need to create extra strain with a heavy dance bag!

The first step is choosing a good ballet bag. The best dance bags are durable and have several pockets for organizing. The ballet bag should have at least one large compartment for storing shoes. A few good ballet bags are the Capezio Duffel Dance Bag, the Capezio Convertible Duffel Bag, the Capezio Children's Dance Bag, the Horizon Dance Gear Duffel, the Horizon Dance Essential Gear Bag, the Bloch Multicompartment Dance Bag, and the Sassi Dance Quilted Backpack.

Don't put anything in your ballet bag until you have figured out exactly what needs to go in it. For a ballet dancer, a ballet bag must have flat ballet shoes, pointe shoes, resin, toe pads, tape, leg-warmers, a leotard, tights, hair pins, hair binders, a brush or comb, hair spray, deodorant, healthy snacks (such as granola bars), and a water bottle.

The items needed in your dance bag will vary depending on the type of dance you'll be practicing. Some dancers will need few of the items listed above for the ballet bag, while others will need the ballet bag supplies and many other items for other styles of dance. Typically, you'll want the shoes and clothing appropriate for the style of dance, plus the hair supplies, water bottle, healthy snacks and deodorant.

If you tend to get beat up feet a lot, you may want to add a foot care kit to your dance bag. Many dancers have found that keeping foot care kits in their ballet bags saved them from a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering. Stock your foot care kit with tape, band-aids, mole-skin bandages (for blisters), foot lotion, foot deodorizer, blister salve, Ace bandages, a toenail clipper, cotton balls, liquid bandage, and Icy Hot. Many dancers also find it beneficial to have some sort of Athlete's foot spray (such as Dr. Scholl's) in their dance bags as well. Athlete's foot is extremely annoying, but if you have it, wiping off your feet and spraying them with Athlete's foot spray after class ends can eliminate the problem.

When you pack items in your ballet bag, be sure to keep like items together. Use mesh bags to store your ballet shoes and toe pads, or foot thongs, tap shoes, etc. together. If you keep all your dance shoes loose in your dance bag you will be more likely to lose them. This is especially true for toe pads and foot thongs which are small and extremely easy to lose. Keep your toe pads or foot thongs together in a small bag and keep track of them because they aren't cheap to replace.

Keeping your dance bag organized will make life a lot easier for you-your ballet bag will be easier to carry and you won't have to waste all your time between classes digging through your dance bag. And messy dance bags lead to lost dance shoes! So take the time to keep your ballet bag clean.

Messy Dance Bags: How to Keep Them Organized

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Nicholas Andre Dance Theater