Monday, 13 April 2015 10:56

Dancer Wellness: 5 Must-Haves for Your Dance Bag

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So there’s the “hair and make-up” emergency must-have kit. There’s the “rebuild your pointe shoes anywhere” must-have kit. There’s even the “tape and scrape that costume back together” kit. It’s up to you how much you really want to lug every where you go, but my recommendations here are for emergency use.


That’s right – those times we never wish would happen, but sometimes do. The trip and fall, the ankle tweak, the shoulder strain, the nerve pinch in the neck, the blister (or worse yet – the blister tear). Wince all you want – it happens! And never at a good time either. The best response to something like this is a quick one. It could be the difference between a short-term recovery or a long term one. And who has time for that!

My recommendations here are all easy to find – Rite-Aid/CVS/Walgreens, 99cent store, and/or Target should just about cover it. And you can get all 5 for about $50.

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1. Blister Band Aids

These are magical! They stay on even when dancing bare foot. Avoid letting those blisters tear, get infected, or linger. These are waterproof and let me tell you, you won’t find it in the middle of the studio at the end of rehearsal.

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2. Instant Ice Pack

If ANY injury happens, the first thing you’ll want to do is break open this instant ice pack to stop the swelling. Getting this on an injury fast and you will save yourself a lot of recovery time and pain! Ice for 15 minutes, and then wrap (see #3). Get another source of ice soon as you’ll want to ice again in about 20-30 minutes. This can be a cold tap if nothing else is available for a while. Do not use cooling topical creams or analgesics.

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3. Ace Bandage

This stretchy wrap is wonderful to help hold your ice pack in place. Then you can use it to immobilize the area that was injured. By wrapping it somewhat tightly, you also add compression to the area which will help keep swelling down. Elevate the injured area.

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4. Tennis Ball

Tried and true – nothing works out a spasm, foot cramp, strain – better than a tennis ball. There are some votes out there for hard balls like lacrosse balls and golf balls. However these are better for pressure points and should be used in consultation with a practitioner because overuse or the wrong use can lead to swelling and injury. Tennis balls have just the right amount of firm pressure with buoyancy that you can work it into a spot that’s gotten too tight, too fast. Use these to work out a cramp quickly, so you are keeping blood flow moving through the area so it will heal faster and not progress or cause too much compensation.

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5. Personal Water Filtering Bottle

This is a great technological advance - filtered water, anywhere there’s a spigot or a sink. While this might be a bit of a surprise to be in a top five, think about it. As dancers, we need to be hydrated! You don’t want to be without water for very long and if you run out in the wrong situation – a long rehearsal, hot studio, forgot your Aquafina in your car – you could experience the side effects of dehydration which include dizziness, nausea, headaches, muscle cramping, fatigue, and more. Be on the safe side and have this in your bag for a back-up!


Happy dancing!


(Nothing in this article should be considered medical advice. In the case of an emergency, access professional medical help.)

Read 4249 times Last modified on Monday, 13 April 2015 11:16
Kate Fox Colie

Kate Fox Colie, CMT, CLMA is endlessly passionate about movement and the body. Kate has been a licensed and certified massage therapist (CMT) since 2001, training extensively in therapeutic and rehabilitative bodywork modalities throughout her career. Her intrigue for musculoskeletal anatomy and kinesiology provides valuable information to not only her private clientele, but to the many performing and visual artist students she has taught in her anatomy courses as faculty at California Institute of the Arts (2005-2009) and California State Summer School for the Arts (2006-2008). Kate earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance performance, production, and choreography from CalArts in 2005 and went on to receive her graduate level credential in somatic movement therapy in 2008 as a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst (CLMA). In early 2015, Kate completed an extensive certification in the Symmetry for Health system, which utilizes objective body measurements and corrective exercises to realign posture and remedy chronic patterns and pain.

Kate specializes in the treatment of performing artists, which dominates much of her time in both her private practice, NewPath Wellness in Glendale, and on-site therapy work with the elite student musicians and dancers at The Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles. This field work deeply informs the content of her guest teaching workshops with presentations most recently at The Colburn Conservatory of Music, Music Academy of the West, OriginPop, Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at CalArts, Primrose International Viola Competition and Festival, and Pasadena Dance Theatre.

Kate’s dynamic 20 year dance career as a performer, producer, and manager continue with her roles as board member of Vox Dance Theatre, advisory panelist for Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD), and as dance editor for NoHoArtsDistrict.com, where she writes regular features on community events and dancer health and wellness. She is a proud member of the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA), Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP), Dance Resource Center (DRC), California Massage Therapy Council (CMTC), and Glendale Chamber of Commerce, and attends their conferences and professional gatherings annually.

For more information and to contact Kate directly, visit www.NewPathWellness.com

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