The holiday season is upon us and now is the time to find the perfect gift for those you love. If you're an early bird, you may have started already; but for many shoppers the fun begins this week.
We've decided to compile a list of items that the dancer in your family may love and enjoy--gifts you may not have thought about. You could give socks and pajamas again, but why not give your family and friends something they'll really enjoy. Not to worry, there are options for budgets big and small.
We hope this list gives you some creative, unique ideas that will help you find that perfect gift that will get usage and sincere thanks, instead of getting tucked away until the next white elephant exchange. Check out these awesome gifts for the dancer in your family that'll surely make them smile.
Dance Fashion: Most dance schools require dancers to wear such a strict dress code that most dance wardrobes look like a monotone sea of microfiber and lycra. Even on dress down days and the occassional "fun" class when you can dress a little different, dancers tend to only have the standard dress. Help your dancer spice up their wardrobe with some fashion pieces--loose fitted tees, knitwear, funky leg warmers, sweater pants, joggers, harem pants and the like. And even if they never have dress down days, your dancer will appreciate the new threads to wear on their way to and from class. It's so much classier and cool to throw on those sweater pants and infinity scarf than peel those jeans back over sweaty tights.
Dance Bag: A dance essential. Dance bags come in all shapes and sizes and every dancer needs one. Whether they're taking a weekly modern class or living at the studio six days a week, they need a place to keep everything together, hold emergency supplies (band-aids, sports tape, sewing kits), and show off their personal style. There are countless options of what can be a dance bag, but please note that bags made by dancewear makers like Capezio are commonly designed with special compartments for shoes and other items specific to a dancer's lifestyle. Go classic or go trendy--tote or duffel--dance bags are always in. *To add a personal touch, you may want to consider embroidery.
Tights: Tights are an inexpensive and practical item that dancers buy often. Check with the dancer in your life to gauge what her preferences are. There are many brands, styles, and colors of tights so you'll want to know exactly what the dancer in your life needs. If giving tights sounds strange to you, think about those socks you gave last year to your niece/nephew in Florida. What will get the most use?
Pointe Shoes (or any other shoes): If you buy a dancer a pair of dance shoes, you're securing a special place in their heart. Our shoes are our instruments; they are one of the tools we use to create beautiful art. They help us turn smoothly, become human percussion, and defy gravity. Shoes range in price from $20-$300 depending upon the type of shoe and level of the dancer. If you're looking for an inexpensive gift, you may purchase a good ballet shoe for around $20, and if you want to splurge, there are styles for around $40. If you are looking to win favorite gifter of the year, give the gift of pointe shoes (approximately $100) or professional tap shoes ($150+). Don't forget the elastic, ribbons, and toe pads for the pointe shoes.
Gift Card: If you can't make a decision or figure out what your dancer needs without revealing your plans, a gift card is a great way to go. Most local dancewear stores offer gift cards in various amounts. Be sure to get information about the expiration date (if any) and online usage (if they have an internet department); some stores have special terms with gift cards. Now your dancer can purchase dancewear items at their leisure and get exactly what they need and like. So in June, around recital time, your dancer will still be thanking you when those new shoes needed for recital are all paid for--thanks to you!
Tuition: Give the gift of tuition this holiday season. Dancer's spend hundreds and thousands of dollars a year on tuition, dancewear, shoes, costumes, and the like. They will be grateful for your offering, and not only will you be giving a gift, but you'll possibly be sowing into someone's future. Contact their dance studio to see how you can arrange a tuition credit or a gift certificate good for upcoming tuition. If you don't have the studio information, you can give the money to the dancer and earmark what you would like the money to go towards.
Finally, while you're in the giving spirit, Pay it Forward. There are many dancers that could use the tuition assistance or a new pair of tights. Contact your local dance studio to see what scholarship and tuition programs they have in place. All studios do not offer tuition assistance, but for those that do, their students would appreciate the boost.
If you have some great ideas of dance gifts you've given or received, please add your ideas to the comments box.