You should start packing for camp at least two weeks before your child leaves. Why? That gives you enough time to realize that you didn’t have as many of A, B, or C, as you thought. You can run out to the store or order it on Amazon with time for it to arrive and maybe even exchange it if it doesn’t fit.
We have guides on how to help your child pack for camp (and yes, they should help.) But each camp specialty is a little different and requires some extra things that aren’t on our camp-wide packing list.
We ask that dancers bring these things in addition to what’s on the packing list if possible, not instead of. While we don’t want them to overpack, we want them to have everything they’ll need.
So, what’s the verdict on what to bring to dance camp? We’re mapping it out for you, below.
If your child is a seasoned dancer, they probably have a pile of Capezio, Bloch, and Danza shoes in their closet. If they still fit – your child should bring all of them. That means jazz shoes, ballet slippers, and even a dance heel (or whatever they have).
If they’re too small or otherwise not comfortable, leave them at home. Your child will be dancing all week long, and we don’t want them developing blisters or be otherwise in pain.
Should you buy your child new dance shoes for camp? Only if the ones they have don’t fit and are truly uncomfortable. If your child doesn’t dance regularly or you’re afraid that their new dance passion won’t last through the year – see if you can get a hand-me down pair or find one on sale.
There’s no reason to buy new dance shoes just for camp if they have some they already love.
And while we have first aid supplies (like bandaids, etc.) on campus, a dancer should always have some blister prevention cream and bandaids in their bag. And pro-tip, if you don’t have any anti-blister rub, deodorant works in a pinch!
If you are ordering new dance shoes, have them wear them around the house for a while before camp. That way they’ll be mostly broken in when it’s time to dance!
Leggings are great to dance in and so are sports bras… but we’d like to see your child cover-up at camp. Please, no crop tops or midriffs – basically don’t pack anything (aside from leggings and leotards) that they couldn’t wear to their school.
A dancer knows that the best thing to dance in is a pair of leggings, a leotard or tank top, with oversized off-the-shoulder top to go with it. It’s comfortable enough to dance in, provides skin coverage, and doesn’t restrict movement.
Our dance studios are pretty casual in comparison to a competitive arena; we don’t require any particular brand of tights or a pre-set dance uniform. Whatever your child is comfortable dancing in that fits the above restrictions is fine with us!
We’ll provide almost everything your camper needs during the day, like food, fun, and (thankfully) air conditioning. But there are a few things they should have with them, no matter where they go. A light backpack (like the kind with drawstrings) should be all they need.
In it, there should be a:
You don’t need to pack your child any snacks. We’ve got the food thing covered. We ask campers not to bring any food, so we can keep cabins clean and pest-free.
If your camper has a Fitbit or an Apple Watch, we ask that they leave it at home. Yes, it’s great to track their dancing workouts, but it counts as an electronic, and we don’t use those at camp.
Think of camp as a screen detox for your child. It’s something we could all use every once in a while.
Not having electronics at camp keeps your little dancer in the moment and not distracted by notifications of any kind. They’ll be reminded that they don’t need likes or comments to make friends, and maybe they’ll want to use their phone/tablet less when they get home.
We talked about dance camp tips for beginners here, which are mostly about being ready to dance hard and have fun. If all they bring is the required items and the right attitude, your child will be prepared for the best time at camp – no fancy dance shoes required.