Best Gifts for a Dancer 2016

Model released photograph of a professional classic ballerina from the Cuba National Ballet in the colonial streets of old Havana

Because dance costs a fortune, bunheads are easy to please during the holidays, especially Cyber Monday when retailers like Amazon offer special deals. Guest blogger: Ann Votaw*

As a former hoofer, I polled sugar plum pals with this question: What do you want for Christmas? We dancers agreed that preferred presents fit into four categories: financial support for classes, injury prevention, attractive apparel, and useful novelty items. If your shopping list includes performer artists, start with these dozen dance bag stuffers, in honor of the 12 Days of Christmas:


Ballerinas dancing with the waves. 16×16 inch. Pillow Case.  


  1.       Classes: At up to $20 per class, training is the most desired necessity, especially for dancers in their 20s who live on fixed incomes. Most studios offer gift certificates for $25, $50, and $100. Perhaps your dancer is a budding choreographer who would appreciate a paid hour of studio space rental. Consult your loved one for preferred local hot spots.
Ballerinas from the National Ballet of Cuba dance along the Malecon in Havana Photo © KIKE CALVO for World of Dances.
  1.       Cross Training: All dance forms require strength, stamina, and flexibility, which is why other types of exercise can improve performance. Many cities offer Class Pass, which is a monthly unlimited membership to the best fitness classes in the company’s network. Check the website for prices in your area. Local gyms also provide temporary memberships.L1020498 (2).jpg 
  2.       Self Care: It’s no surprise that dance taxes every muscle. To alleviate inflammation, try these cute NatraCure-Cold therapy socks. To stop pain, try these terrific MELT Method Products or a mini
    Trigger Point roller
    , perfect for a dance bag.
  3. shocks      Massage: Nothing beats a monthly massage from a trusted professional. Massage schools often offer low cost services by students in training. If your artist already has a body worker, make it easy on yourself and purchase a gift certificate from that facility. If your dancer has never had a massage, visit your local spa to get a feel for cleanliness and credentials. If they offer sports and medical massages, consider it a good sign, according to this article in PainScience.
  4.        Books: For inspiration, I recommend The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The book details a 12-step action plan for developing healthy creative habits. I’ve followed the book more than three times and plan to start again after New Years, even though I’m no longer dancing. Another gorgeous book is Dancers Among Us, a picture book of dance in specific sites. For little ones, try picture books like Oliver Button Is A Sissy or Angelina’s Dance 
  5.        Workout: During rehearsal breaks, all primas love a good sweatshirt, like this one from Kike Calvo’s World of Dance and Ballet collection. Maybe this one if you are a dance teacher. For inexpensive workout and warmup options, visit Dance Discount Supply. Male dancers are often left out of the equation, but Moon & Son, a Brooklyn-based yoga apparel company, specializes in attractive flexible clothes for men only. Calvo collection’s has not forgotten male dancers’ workout either, like this lovely sweatshirt.sweat 
  6.       Audition Wear: To stand out at auditions, I splurged on two custom-made unitards from Class In Dance Shop in Manhattan. You can order and customize some of these items online. Recently, I discovered Yumiko Dancewear, which is designed by a Japanese ballet dancer. Your snowflake can also accessorize with cute products, like this flamenco hair stick. If in doubt, purchase new quality un-ripped tights, which are always appreciated. Here are some recs for the best stockings around.
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  1.        Bags: This unique tote by photographer Kike Calvo is great to carry to class or around town. For a wider variety, try Capezio for bags ranging from $19 to $90.Untitled 
  2.        Water Bottles: Hydration is just as important as saving the environment with re-usable drink containers. Your artist athlete can replenish with this aluminum water bottle from Kike Calvo’s World of Dances and Ballet. Another suggestion is glassware, including this one from Ello Pure .water bottle 
  3.      Notebooks: Even though we live in a digital world, dancers are visual people who often need to scribble choreography and rehearsal notes in order to retain information. I like this striking journal featuring a ballerina and a cat in from World of Dances and Ballet.notebook
  4.      Jewelry: Dancers love to advertise their art. Take a look at these sophisticated AMULET pieces designed by Annmaria Mazzini, a former Paul Taylor dancer and current artistic director of Mazzini Dance Collective. I also love this Martha Graham bracelet from Etsy.

    KK-MAW- (1).jpg 

  5.      Cards: Pretty notecards are always loved, especially on opening night. I like these elegant pointe shoe cards from Kike Calvo’s Collection. Another cool set comes from Russ Billington Star Designs.Pointe shoes


* Ann Votaw is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in DAME and YogaCity NYC, where she is an editor.

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Learn more:

. World of Dances Photo Project
. Art and Dance in the Drone Age ( Learn about drones )
Top 10 Drones for Beginners 2016


Selected Reading for Children:

Marie, Dancing

Degas and the Little Dancer (Anholt’s Artists Books For Children)

Marie in Fourth Position: The Story of Degas’ “The Little Dancer” (Picture Books)

What Makes A Degas A Degas?

DK Eyewitness Books: Dance

Ballet Training for Girls