Theater weeks are hard. Tech times are shortened, you have to adjust to the new space, learn the ins and outs of the backstage area. They are overall pretty exhausting. I found out early on that without the items that make me feel comfortable and at home, theater weeks can be even more brutal.
Below is my list of essential items at any theater whether at home or on tour.
- Sneakers! We perform mostly in socks and bare feet and without shoes that means you're walking around loading docks, kitchens, and bathrooms with no protection. I have an old pair of Nike running shoes that I wear every day but have thought about switching to my favorite Nike Flyknit Racers. The flyknit material is comfortable, flexible, and breathable. I highly recommend them.
- A jacket! Theaters are freezing! I always pack a sweater and a jacket. Again- I remain faithful to Nike. My fave is my black and white windrunner (pictured).
- Heating pad/Dancer toys. I'm talking therabands, lacrosse balls, golf balls, foam rollers, massage sticks, toe spacers. The works! Heating pads help with the cold, help with achy muscles, work as a pillow when you need a nap. A must have!
- Your favorite warmups. I like to layer a lot for class on stage. Jacket, sweater, favorite pants (Nike), a selection of tanks and tees, cozy socks, a scarf. Sometimes I'll add mukluks to the warm up (they are super popular amongst dancers, especially ballet dancers). I found some available online here.
- Hair and makeup necessities. I use Garnier Fructis products for hair. I mostly like the smell of them but their gel and hairspray together work wonders. As for makeup, we get a yearly stipend from MAC makeup to stock up for the season, so pretty much all of my makeup products come from them. One exception is my brow filler from Benefit Cosmetics.
- Shower products. I sometimes shower just before a performance- get the hair wet, get the muscles warm. And I will always shower after a performance. A travel size shampoo, conditioner, and body wash do the trick for me. L'Occitane has beautiful products- I use their Almond shower oil. Or I'll use soap that one of my coworkers makes! We call it Floap (Florian+soap).
- Merde gifts. I'm not sure if dancers are the only ones who give each other gifts before a premiere but it's one of my favorite traditions. I admit that I am always the one who forgets to bring a gift for opening night but will make up for it later in the run- I promise! You can see a close up of my collection of knick-knacks pictured here. They mostly serve as reminders that we all care for each other and bring back happy memories for me.
- Other things you might consider: A book (for when you're off duty), personal photos (to put up at your station), a selection of teas and candy.
I'd love to hear what you deem a theater essential! Message me or let me know in the comments.
BONUS: Friends from my home studio in North Carolina have launched their new business barre + bag! Pre-order your all inclusive theater needs here.