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  • Jennifer Milner

A Dancer's Wish List 2022


Can you believe it’s that time already? Pointe shoes and blisters never completely dry out; random, half-eaten snacks congregate at the bottom of your dance bag as a full meal break is just a distant memory; and the fake snowflakes never completely get out of your hair.


Oh, and you try not to melt into hysterical laughter when your mom asks when she’ll get to see you.


The holidays are here!


As usual, I’ve tried to make this time of year a teeny bit less stressful by compiling a few of my favorite things into one handy list. Simply pass this on to friends and family, and they’re sure to get you something you’ll love this holiday season.


(Quick note - I've linked mostly to Amazon for ease of finding these things. I make no money off any these links, so shop where you want!)


First up, dancers are traveling again. Like, a LOT, as they hustle for competitions and jobs and auditions. So check out your dancer’s gear: could they use a new rollie suitcase? Is their travel makeup kit held together with duct tape? Things that get a lot of use can bring a lot of joy if it’s lovely and well-built. A new set of travel-size shampoo bottles can bring great happiness when you live on the road.


Speaking of travel, put together a travel workout kit for them! Dancers don’t need much to keep up their conditioning routine, and these three things won’t take up much room at all:

Long theraband I prefer a long (6 to 9 feet) lighter strength band. You can tie it , double it, or use it long for lighter work. The red is my go-to size for most exercises.


Lo Rox by OPTP It’s basically two lacrosse balls tied together, but it’s lighter weight and can travel well. Great for hips, the back, the neck, and more.


Pilates ball These small balls deflate completely for travel but are incredibly versatile for workouts. You don’t even need a pump - you can inflate it easily with the “straw” provided.


Speaking of working out, consider a class card or subscription to Pivot Dancer. An online platform that offers affordable classes for dancers throughout the week, all taught by physical therapists who specialize in dance conditioning! A great way to supplement training, on the road or at home.

Since recorded submissions will probably never go away, consider investing in the Pivo Pod Lite. There are a few different brands out there, but this one has come up a few times among my dancers. With technology that follows your movement, it should make recording that solo a little bit more professional-looking. Note that some come with remote controls and some don’t!


New dance clothes will NEVER be turned away - see last year’s list. Here a few must-haves:

RubiaWear warmers are ALWAYS trending, and this year the full-length legwarmers are flying off the shelves. I absolutely LOVE and appreciate the neutrals line but your dancer will find plenty of options to appreciate here! Gorgeous feel and the perfect weight for the studio or stage.



Lululemon is another constant favorite, and I’ve had several dancers say the Ebb to Street top is the must-have item this season. I do like the cropped length, as well as the thicker, warmer fabric for it. The top comes in tank, but the long-sleeve is huge right now.



Last dancewear suggestion - Uniqlo socks. If you’re a contemporary dancer you’ve probably got a drawer full of these, but they’re just making their way to the classical side of the aisle. Men’s socks in - get this - 50 different colors, so you can wear any color that brightens your day. Long and thin without too much between you and the floor. And cheap. Seriously, get these.




If you follow me on Instagram then you know I ADORE Dinos and Comics. So much of what they say is relatable to the dance world! If your dancer is already a fan, consider finding them a favorite slogan in their merchandise. If not, pick up the Dinosaur Therapy book. You’ll thank me.






Dancers need the perfect makeup setting spray to keep it all from running while they'e sweating through Snow. MAC Prep and Prime Fix+ is the way to go and will make ANY stocking a great one!


If you have a dancer or teacher interested in the mental health aspect of dance, my colleague Sanna Nordin-Bates has written Essentials of Dance Psychology. Ground-breaking, and definitely on my personal list! I could see this as a great studio or teacher’s gift as well.

"Essentials of Dance Psychology offers readers the opportunity to understand sport psychology from the vantage point of a dancer. The text will help develop dance teachers who are able to inspire and sustain high levels of performance and psychological health among dancers. It will also help other professionals who work with dancers to implement evidence-based practices that enhance and sustain dancers’ lives and careers.” (Amazon) An absolute must for any dance collection.


If you’re interested in dance history and gorgeous photos, check out

Dance Theatre of Harlem: A History, A Movement, A Celebration

It’s a stunning collection of biographies, stories, and photos diving deep into the history of Dance Theatre of Harlem. Really gorgeous book about this historic ballet company.



Finally, two very big-ticket items -

First, BlazePods. I’ve been using these and my dancers LOVE training with them! So if you are looking for a great gift for your studio or company or trainer, I’d suggest the pack of six. They encourage balance, agility, responsiveness, and are just plain fun.



And lastly, every dancer I know would love a pair of the Hyperice Normatec boots. Literally, three dancers asked me to put them on the list. Crazy expensive? Yes. Does it feel great for recovery after a performance and your legs are all swollen? You bet. Perhaps a great donation for a company or favorite PT clinic!



Well, there’s my list for 2022. What do you think? Anything you would add? Please share!


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