What's In My Dance Bag?

Article featured in On My Toes Blog.

My name is Shelly Allen! I dance with the Shelley School of Irish Dance in Utah, USA. I've been dancing with the school for 9 years now. When I'm not dancing, I love to create graphic art, take photos of other Irish dancers, and update my Irish dance blog ( shellyallenart.com ).

My dance bag is basically a small carry-on travel bag. I bought it a couple years ago when I was traveling a lot to feiseanna. It's small enough to fit in any luggage compartment, yet big enough to fit everything I need (minus a solo dress) for a weekend feis trip. Since transferring shoes and other things from one bag to another all the time can increase the risk of losing things, I take the same bag to class during the week.

I have never bought anything but Rutherford Super-Flexi hard shoes. I love that even when they aren't yet broken in, I can still toe walk in them. I always buy Hulluchan 2 ghillies. I actually prefer Hulluchan Pros, but they stopped making them a few years ago. I love that they are padded on the inside and they hug your feet better than cheaper brands. I also like to keep some practice sneakers in my bag for long classes. My feet will start to cramp up if I've been dancing in my tight ghillies for more than 2 hours, that's when these practice sneakers come in handy.

As I said, my bag can fit a lot of things at once. I've packed for a 2 day, 3 night trip to the Oireachtas a few times and easily fit everything I needed in this bag! Since I haven't gone to a feis for a few months now, until I pulled everything out to take photos, I'd forgotten a lot of this stuff was in there!

Besides my shoes, here's a list of everything else I found in my bag:

  • Headphones ~ Great for long flights that offer free movies or satellite TV on the way to a feis.
  • Flower Hair Clip ~ I wear this flower with my pink solo dress. I've started just keeping it in my bag so I don't every forget to bring it to shows.
  • Bobby Pins & Pony-tail Holders ~ I use these pretty much every class, plus I need them for shows to help keep my wig on.
  • Theraband ~ We use these in class to stretch our feet and ankles. I bought one off Tina so I could stretch my feet at home as well.
  • Black Duct Tape ~ To keep my hard shoes from slipping at shows.
  • Blister Bandages ~ I use these when breaking in new hard shoes. I still don't know how to prevent blisters!
  • Safety Pins ~ I always keep a few of these in my bag to pin on my competition number at feiseanna.
  • Extra Shoes Laces ~ You never know when you're gunna need one!
  • Oireachtas Badge ~ I didn't even realize I still had this in my bag! I got it at the 2011 Oireachtas and forgot to take it out and put it with my trophies. :)
  • Bun Wig and Tiara ~ Our dance company does a lot of shows this time of year, so I've just been keeping my bun wig and tiara in my bag so I never forget it. It's always embarrassing to be the one dancer who doesn't quite match everyone else.
  • Sock Glue ~ We all know what this is for... :) However, this particular bottle is completely empty. I'm only keeping it in my bag to remind myself to buy a new bottle!
  • Sweat Shirt ~ I always keep one of these in my bag. I don't know about you, but I sweat a lot in class. Sometimes it's nice to have an extra layer to hide all the perspiration. ;)

I've been using this bag for about 5 years now and I love it. We've seen a lot of great times together! The sides are a little beat up, but I won't be giving it up anytime soon. It's going to see a lot more feiseanna before I'm done with it.

Article written by Shelly Allen
Photos by Shelly Allen Photography

TAGS: shelly, allen, hathaway, irish, dance, bag, carry-on, luggage, supplies, sock, glue, flower, hair, clip, solo, dress, class, hard, shoes, soft, photos, photography, hullichan, rutherford, super-flexi, black, duct, tape, bobby-pins, theraband, oireachtas, feis, competition, travel, dancing, practice, feet, blisters, wig, tiara, sweat, headphones, blog, Moira, "On My Toes", featured

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