Friday, May 31, 2024

5 on a Friday: Ultimate Dance Bag Edition

 1. If you have a kid in competitive dance or have multiple kids in multiple rec dances with a big recital, you gotta buy the big wheelie dance bag with a clothes rack. I bought one at a local dance store, but you can find them all over the interwebz. The one I bought is super sturdy, and we leave it standing up in my exercise dungeon with all the costumes hanging on it when it’s not in use.

I pulled it out yesterday because, as you can see, the costumes were all jumbled up from dance picture week, and I noticed when I was doing hair and makeup that I was missing or running low on some essentials like brown bobby pins, gel, and various kinds of wipes (antibacterial, Clorox, makeup-removing, etc).

2. Big bag=MORE ROOM FOR RANDOM STUFF YOU DIDN’T EVEN KNOW YOU NEEDED. I always have juice boxes to share and plenty of hard candy because Dorothy has some sensory issues with her costumes, but when she has a jolly rancher or a dum dum or something, she feels much better. I also have laminated style guides for each dance because I am extra like that, various heat styling appliances and deodorant for me because I sweat. A lot. I print out the list call times and dance times and shove them in my bag along with Dorothy’s team uniform for awards and at least 2 library books even though I never even make it through part of 1. I love not really needing a purse for myself since I have a giant dance bag. I can throw our water bottles in there, and I sometimes also toss in a tote bag in case Dorothy has a quick change, and I need to meet her someplace besides the dressing room with a costume and some emergency hair stuff or something.

Did I mention that I also bring a mirror?
SO HUGE that next season I might add a collapsible stool!

3. Pack each costume in its own bag, and include socks, tights, and any other costume accessories. I think for next season, I want THESE garment bags with pockets, but for now I am just hanging up her stuff with the bags the studio sends her costumes home in.

This is her jazz costume and my favorite. In this bag is the leotard, gloves, hair piece, nude tights, and fishnet tights she has to wear. I will add her shoes to the bottom of the big pink bag later (she has a week of dance between now and the recital).

I am not going to lie. I had fun packing up all 6 of Dorothy’s and both of Minnie’s costumes and making sure every accessory was with the correct outfit. Like playing real life Barbies.

4.  You really don’t need very much makeup to produce a REALLY VERY INAPPROPRIATELY made up child.

Eyebrow pencil, liquid black eyeliner, mascara
Makeup remover for the inevitable accidents
Sparkly blush, neutral eye shadow, a few brushes.
(Of course lipstick! Dorothy’s studio tells us what color to get for each dance, and I think littler kids look better when they use a lip brush to apply it because the tube is too big for their little faces because kids really don't need makeup LOL for days.)

5. Other hack-y things
Ballet bun donut. This tiny one is Minnie’s. You make a high pony, pull the pony through the donut, and then sort of fan the hair out to cover the donut, smooth it down, and secure with a  rubber band and some pins.

 Rubber band cutter thing—-you will never have to yank out a hair elastic again

Pouch for dance earrings. Dorothy wears these for half her dances, and I always always put them in a jewelry pouch and put them in the middle section of this giant black makeup bag. (One side is makeup, and the other is hair stuff) (It is really hard to keep track of tiny earrings backstage in the dark).

Body glue— you never know when gloves or straps will roll down or leotards will creep up.

Travel sizes whenever possible!! Even if you have to restock mid-season
(The topsy tail thing is for when she needs a high pony with hair wrapped around the elastic. Instead of wrapping and pinning, you can use a topsy tail to sort of thread a piece of hair around the pony).

A little go bag of lipstick stuff and a compact, tissues, makeup remover, q tips, extra hair pins and rubber bands, etc, that you can have on your person backstage or away from the dressing room. Mine has Care Bears because why not??

FALSE EYELASHES. I have never in my life encountered these before last year when Dorothy needed to wear them for a couple of her dances. WHAT A TRIP. I like Ardell 110 because they are really natural looking. After extreme trial and error, I recommend clear adhesive (goes on white, turns sparkly, dries clear). The most genius tip I have, though, is to CUT THEM IN HALF and put half in the middle of your kid’s natural lashes. So that’s one eyelash row for 2 eyes. They look awesome and stay on WAY BETTER.

I also keep mints in the makeup bag because I have to get VERY CLOSE to glue on lashes and do liquid eyeliner (badly— especially on the right eye)

Playing Barbies in real life is basically the TL; DR here.


  1. Being a dance mom is a whole lifestyle! All the costumes! So fun. I have one of those donut bun things for myself, but I found it broke my hair. Is there a trick? I mean, other than Minnie has youthful strong hair and I am a crumbling-haired crone.

  2. I came here hoping to find your monthly reading log, but I learned so much from this post (that I will probably never use--lol)! That rubber band cutter and the body glue are genius!

  3. I'm.... just... what.... my mind is spinning. This is SO MUCH!!!!!!! I don't think I could handle it!!! Being a dance mom is even harder than being a soccer mom, and WAY harder than being a band mom! I'm in awe.

  4. This made me LOL. My daughter is on a competitive cheer team and I thought our comp costume/makeup /hair stuff was excessive but it's one kid/one costume. You are a serious wonder woman!!

  5. I suspect you won't see this - since it's from MAY - but I'm so curious about what happens to the costumes AFTER the recitals? Do they go back to some costume warehouse? Does the studio hold on to them? Are they one-and-dones? Inquiring minds and all that...:)