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What’s Trendy for Dance Costumes 2016

dance costumes 2016

As a dance teacher, you constantly want to stay up to date with the latest trends, including performance styles, music, and most importantly, costumes! Costume trends are ever-changing, following inspiration from actual style trends as well as pulling trends from other decades. As a result, it can be hard to keep up. Luckily we’re here to help keep you on top of the latest trends as soon as they come out. Let your dancers shine in these trends for dance costumes 2016.

1. 90’s hip hop

If you’ve got a few hip-hop dancers at your studio, they better get ready for dressing like 90’s  rappers. This year’s costumes include lots of harem pants, joggers, jerseys and even camouflage, accessorized with beanies and flannel shirts, according to Weissman costumes. Many of the colors are inspired by urban looks, including graffiti designs and geometric neon prints. Pair these costumes with your favorite pair of Converse sneakers or high-tops to complete the look.

2. 80’s style

The 80’s are back again! These costumes channel Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Michael Jackson and all of your other favorite 80’s artists. This season, dress your dancers in hologram metallics, mesh, leather and neon-colored geometric and animal prints. According to A Wish Come True costumes, hot colors include bright pinks, blues, yellows, greens, oranges and of course, black. Accessorize these costumes with leg warmers, studded accessories, denim vests and patent leather combat boots to complete the look. For the final touches, give your dancers colored highlights and blue eye shadow.

3. Havana nights

Many costumes have taken on a Spanish and Cuban influence this year. A lot of the costumes embody a look from flamenco and salsa dancers. The hottest costumes include lots of ruffles, feathers, rose prints and skirts. If you’re looking to channel Cuban influences, dress your dancers in oranges, pinks and yellows with off-the-shoulder tops. If you’re looking for a more authentic Spanish style, aim for red and black and a ruffled skirt. Accessorize with lace pieces, rose hair clips, hoops and heels!

4. 60’s mod styles

The 60’s mod look has stuck around for another year. These costumes include looks from artists like Twiggy and go-go dancers. Dress your dancers in polka dots, halter necks and geometric prints. The hottest colors include pinks, blues and yellows, as well as the standard black and white. Pair these looks with penny loafers, oxfords and flats, and high socks! Complete the look with cute headbands and big eyes.


Dance Bag Essentials: What to Pack

Dance Bag Essentials

Whether you’re taking your first dance class in the fall or returning for your umpteenth year, chances are that you’ll need to pack up your dance bag before the season starts. While some dancers take a somewhat unorganized approach to packing their class bags, there should be a method to your madness! After all, if you’re just throwing things in at random, chances are that you’ll forget something or end up toting around a 10-pound pouch. Here are some tips that will help make sure you have all the dance bag essentials:

“Stash smelly bags in the freezer to kill off bacteria.”

Cleaning Out Your Bag

If you have an old bag that you’ve been using for a few years, be sure to clean it out before packing it for the season. That old-clothes smell isn’t going to go away unless you take the time to kill the bacteria that are causing it!

Dance Spirit magazine recommended you dump everything out of your bag and toss the trash. Next, turn the bag inside out and vacuum up any crumbs or hairs that are hiding in the crevices. The magazine suggested that you throw the tote in the laundry – if it’s machine-washable. Otherwise, you’ll want to wipe it down thoroughly with disinfecting wipes.

Still smelly? Here’s a pro-tip for you: Stash your bag in the freezer overnight. The extreme cold will kill the odor-causing bacteria.

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

Are your pointe shoes, ballet slippers and jazz sneakers strewn around your house? That simply won’t do! Your dance bag should be home to all the dance shoes that you use on a regular basis. Take a peek at your class schedule for the upcoming season, and pack your bags with the shoes you’ll need each day. It’s a good idea to stash some extra toe pads in your bag as well. You never know when you’re going to need a new pair.

If you have any shoes that are prone to scuffing or have glitter on them, you may want to store them in carrying bags before putting them in your dance tote. This will keep them in pristine condition for as long as possible.

Store your pointe shoes in your dance bag.
Store your pointe shoes in your dance bag.

Extra Attire, Just in Case

Up next is clothing. You’ll need the appropriate outfit for each class, and it’s always a good idea to bring a few extra pieces. Tightly roll up a pair of tights and put them in a sealable bag. This will prevent them from getting snagged on anything while in the bag. You can use this same tactic to bring along an extra shirt or pair of shorts.

You’ll also want to have extra hair elastics, bobby pins and makeup in your dance bag. After all, there’s no such thing as too many hair accessories.

Miscellaneous Necessities

Finally, there are a few small items you’ll probably want to stash in one of your bag’s pockets. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Deodorant
  • Healthy snacks
  • A water bottle
  • Hairbrushes
  • Sticky bandages
  • Hand sanitizer
  • A phone charger
  • Foam rollers or resistance bands.

Once you have all these items carefully stowed away, you should be good to go! Make sure to clean out your bag periodically during the season, otherwise you may end up with gross food wrappers and smelly, dirty clothing. That will only make repacking the tote harder next year.

Peek Into a Dancer’s Bag

Every wonder what’s in the dance bag of your favorite reality TV star? It’s actually a lot of the same stuff! A few of the dancers from the show “Dance Moms” have YouTube videos detailing what they pack into their bags each day. The video below shows what Chloe Lukasiak stashes in her class bag.


Dance Competition Checklist: What to Pack

Dance competition checklist

When your first dance competition of the season is approaching, parents are inevitably going to ask you, “What should we bring?” After all, dance competitions are like any all-day sport tournament, and they require a bit of advanced preparation if everyone is going to have a good time. Here’s a simple way to break down must-haves into a dance competition checklist for your eager parents and students.

Costume Concerns

The first big category of necessary items in your dance competition checklist: costumes and accessories. Naturally, your dancers will need their outfits for each performance, as well as the appropriate tights and undergarments. Ask parents to bring an extra pair of tights in each color and a spare set of bra straps if they have them. Some other costume-related items that parents may want to have handy include:

  • Miniature sewing kit
  • Safety pins
  • Lint brush
  • Static guard
  • Stain removal pen
  • Double-sided tape.

During the course of the competition, you may need items like hot glue, body adhesive and rosin, but you should always have those stashed in your dance competition survival kit!

Beauty Bags

The second major category of must-haves in your dance competition checklist is composed of beauty products and tools. It’s best to have extra of any cosmetic that dancers are wearing, be it lipstick, foundation, falsies, nail polish, eyeshadow or blush. Similarly, ask parents to bring along some makeup remover, deodorant, cotton swabs, tweezers and any necessary tools, like makeup brushes, nail clippers and false lash glue. It’s also a good idea to have hair care supplies stashed away somewhere. Don’t dash out the door to a competition without these items:

  • Hair brushes and combs
  • Extra bobby pins and elastics
  • Hair spray
  • Hair nets
  • Any necessary hair accessories.

Miscellaneous Must-Haves

There are also a number of miscellaneous items that students will wish they had at a long competition. These include healthy snacks, plenty of water, disinfecting wipes, cellphone chargers, magazines, cameras and portable games. For parents, you may want to recommend they bring a comfortable chair to relax in during downtime, as well as a book to read and cash for souvenirs.

Show Some Support

Win or lose, your dancers will have a positive competition experience if parents are there to cheer them on. Parents may want to consider wearing matching T-shirts or creating signs for your team if the venue allows it. Most importantly, tell parents to bring their spirit and lots of positive energy!

Editor’s note: Readers have suggested some great additions to the list, including deodorant, clear nail polish for stopping runs in tights, hair gel, mousse, specifically remembering to list all the different shoes a dancer will need (tap, jazz etc.), extension cords, and charging cables for cell phones, and even a glue gun. Specifically for tap emergencies, you may also want to have a screwdriver and shoe polish.


Creating a Dance Competition Survival Kit

Creating a Dance Competition Survival Kit

Have you ever been at a dance competition and realized you don’t have any hairspray? Or maybe it was bandages. Or bobby pins! Every studio owner, dance teacher, or dancer has that moment of panic when everyone is backstage and you’ve forgot that important item. Hopefully, someone can lend a hand, but you’ll want to be prepared next time! Here are some tips for putting together a dance competition survival kit with all the essentials so you can avoid those “uh-oh” moments.

Editor’s Note: Readers have offered some great suggestions on additional items to add to your competition survival kit. This article has been edited to add their ideas. Thanks to readers Pam B., Elayne S., Katie B., Senaida T., and Jennifer P.!

The Storage

First thing’s first. In your dance competition survival kit, we’ve found it’s easiest to bring along a large plastic container, preferably on wheels and with a number of compartments for easy storage. Along those lines, it’ll come in handy to have different size resealable bags when you’re packing so you can group similar items together and label everything clearly. For labeling? A Sharpie (or two, or ten, because Sharpies somehow always disappear).

Extra, Extra

If there’s something that you know you’ll need, you better have some extra on hand. The Rockettes website suggested you bring extra:

  • Tights
  • Bra straps
  • Ribbons
  • Ties
  • Hair brushes
  • Styling spray
  • Pins
  • Props
  • Extra shoelaces
  • Two-sided tape
  • Shoelace “stick” to keep them tied
  • A multi-tool for tightening taps
  • Flashlight
  • Lighter (for burning costume frays)
  • Hair nets
  • Sewing kit with scissors
  • Glue gun


You’ll also want to have extra makeup for last minute touch ups. It’s a good idea to bring:

  • Concealer
  • Foundation
  • Blush
  • Lipstick
  • Powder
  • Eyelash glue
  • Makeup remover
  • Baby wipes
  • Mirror
  • Application tools
  • Any other cosmetics your dancers use

First Aid/Personal Care

The next essential component of a dance competition survival kit is the first aid portion. A standard care kit is a good place to start, as it will contain bandages, ointment and wraps. You may want to throw in the following:

  • Blister bandages
  • Hot and cold packs
  • Pain reliever
  • Allergy medication
  • Q-tips
  • Vaseline
  • Afrin (for bloody noses)
  • Pepto-Bismol/Tums
  • Feminine hygiene items
  • Antibiotic Wipes
  • Tissues
  • Bottles of Water
  • Baby powder


Bring healthy snacks that will give you energy and sustain during the sometimes long waits between performances. Check out some of our healthy snack ideas in our article 5 High Energy Snacks to Help You Power Through Your Dance Competitions.


Only you know what unexpected needs crop up at your competitions, but here are a few miscellaneous items that may come in handy:

  • A notepad and pen (to jot down those “wow” moments, or emergency information)
  • Extra CDs with your music
  • Copies of the competition schedule
  • Paper towels
  • Velcro strips
  • Static cling spray
  • A power strip (charging station, anyone?)

And finally, a good attitude! Once you have your survival kit put together, you’ll be set for future competitions too. Just leave it in a closet for storage and be sure to replace any items you use. Plus, it can come in handy as a “dance recital survival kit” as well.