Dance Apparel Buffalo, NY

February 2019 - Competition Must-Haves!

"If you're a true warrior, competition doesn't scare you. It makes you better." - Andrew Whitworth

It's that lingering few seconds where you blow out a held breath underneath the stage lights. Your group arranged in place upon the stage, each body hitting their initial mark as you all await the familiar first few beats of music that send you, ignited, into the choreography you've been tirelessly rehearsing. Except this isn't home ground or the place of your studio's recital. You're miles from your hometown and sitting in front of a panel of trained judges who are there to both enjoy and critique what you bring to the table. This isn't just a normal day at the studio. This is competitive dance.

Regardless of if you play to win or do it for the challenge/fun, competition can be stressful on both the dancer and the parents. Studios require certain things, you have to make sure you're meeting the event regulations and expectations, as well as a number of other concerns. This article hopes to shed some light on the most commonly accessed products that the dance community uses to make the traveling and performances as smooth as possible. All of the items mentioned are things we here at Bailey Slipper Shop either stock regularly or are able to obtain directly from the manufacturer. Delve in with us and see what products your competition stockpile may be lacking!


The Rac N Roll Dance Bag is a large duffel bag that includes both exterior and interior pockets, a collapsible rod that allows you to hang all of your costumes, rolling wheels and a handle. The inside of the bag has “D” shaped metal rings, which keep costumes safe and in order during travel. The inside is also the perfect place to put your shoes, makeup case and miscellaneous items needed.They also make cosmetic bags, mirrors, stools and garment bags that match their bags though these are by no means necessary as they are sold separately. (Bailey Slipper carries garment bags for you to purchase if that is something you are looking for!)

Rac N Roll bags are airline compliant, so they can be easily transported when going to out of state competitions or events.

They come in two sizes currently - medium and large, and they just launched their new "4X" line which includes a new carry-on size bag (only comes in black). With this 4X line came new multi-directional wheels for easier travel and an upgraded design/material. Black is the standard color, of course, but they also make hot pink and bright purple solids now as well. Their patterns for the 4X are blue and pink stars, though their 2.0 line might still have some alternatives left in stock like the purple polka dots.

So why would you want one of these? Aside from the obvious convenience and organization, where they really help are at locations where a decent sized space is not given to you or your team to change. Disney World is an often-brought up example by our customer base in that regard. In locations where it is not an ideal changing environment, the Rac N Roll truly does make the process of quick changes and personal inventory a lot more efficient. (Not to mention how easy it is for costumes and products to get misplaced or accidentally swapped with a team mate at such events!) For parents, consider that once your child is done with competitive dance, you could use it for wedding travel or vacations! While it is an investment, with the bags ranging between $200-300, it is one that we fully recommend and constantly get positive reviews on.

It's a potential game-changer backstage!


We all know that sometimes pieces of costuming slip or don't feel like the coverage stays as uniform throughout a number. Body adhesive is often overlooked (or unheard of, for newer competition families) but can really make a difference in the dancer's comfort level. The most common products in this category are tape (sticky strips) or roll-on. We at BSS recommend the roll-on for the majority of dancers, as it allows for a more personalized localization of the product for where you need it. This can be used along the edges of gloves to keep them up, near the chest area if something is plunging or perhaps bagging too much, and even on a regular leotard if it feels like it is riding up. Things like rhinestones or glitter on bare skin could be placed with this as well!

The nice thing about this product is that it's not a harsh one, with a very light scent that comes off easily with just soap and water. Just keep in mind that if you or your dancer has sensitive skin, it would be advised to test it on a small patch of skin just to be sure it isn't something that will cause irritation. Ingredients are listed as: Vegetable grade glycerin, isopropanol, water, sugar, alcohol & PVP copolymer.


Eyelashes are a staple in the competitive world, no matter the age or level of your dancer. (It might seem daunting to put fake eyelashes on a child but it's truly not as difficult as expected!) Most studios require at least lightweight falsies for their team, as it draws attention to the face and gives a more professional theatrical look to the dancers. There are hundreds of different fake eyelashes out there, and while it's usually okay to snatch up a pair at your local beauty shop, we do have some choice selections that are well-loved and trusted in the dance community.

Bunheads and Yofi create well-crafted products that are very commonly used for events. Some studios ask for rhinestones on their lashes and this would be where dance-specific lashes come into play. While the Bunheads lashes tend to be basic (in a good way, where a more natural look is concerned), Yofi is well-versed in more dramatic flare. There are a plethora of options to choose from, including the previously mentioned rhinestone accented ones. Depending on what brand you go with, some have a small tube of glue that comes with them. While we know those work perfectly well, I will admit that personally I couldn't recommend Duo lash glue more for these. It comes in both clear-drying and black and can hold up through sweat and tears. (Sephora)

Consider adding a funky lash look to a solo and take the presentation to a new level!


Rhinestone earrings are probably the thing people associate competitive dance with most, where accessories are concerned! Whether they are clear or AB (Aurora Borealis - the rainbow effect under the light) earrings are nearly always a necessity in a comp dancer's arsenal. They range in size from 10mm up to 20mm and beyond, though 15-18mm tend to be most studios' preference. Earrings come in both pierced and clip-on (that body adhesive comes in handy for heavy clip-ons, friends!) and if you need a specific color for a solo/duet, that can be arranged. Here at BSS, we have a display in our gift room of all the colors these earrings come in for special order, and weregularlystock the clear crystal and AB.

Glitz is the name of the game and with that comes a slew of other rhinestone accessories that can be obtained. Stretch bracelets and chokers are the most common. Those are listed by the "row" - aka how many rhinestones it contains vertically. (3-row, 5-row etc)

Always check with your studio before purchasing these, especially the earrings. If they have a certain preference (which they likely do), getting the wrong color (or size) could potentially mean marks off at competition. That's extreme, but it's not unheard of! Make sure before you buy. We're happy to help you if you're unsure.


Undergarments could mean a few different things, from bras to body tights, but the over-arching theme here is concealing and comfort. Depending on the costumes and director's choice, certain options fit what the dancer needs more than others. Depending on the style you're going with, there are shade options but they could possibly be rather limited. (Most companies still only do a dark and fair option duo, which isn't the most inclusive. Body tights have some range, depending on brand but it's still by no means as varied as makeup concealer shade-wise.)

A nude leotard is the most utilized form of undergarment, with clear straps (and a clear back piece if needing a low back) that offer slight support while not creating obvious lines beneath the outfit. There are variants of these, of course, from non-adjustable nude straps to back piece loops that allow you to move the straps to a wide number of locations to fit a strange open-back costume.While they need to fit snug so there isn't any bagging of material, we can say that the amount of support for larger-chested individuals is not high. It will flatten as any tight leotard would, but every body shape is different. This is where the next item on the list comes into play.

There is a style selection range for bras in the dance world, from underwire options to very minimalist bandeaus. Most come with clear straps and are either listed in XS-XL size or, for a few, actual bra sizing! It's still recommended to try these on to make sure the fit is correct for you since we all know dance clothes, like everything else, need a little trial and error to find what compliments your shape best.

Body tights fit along the same vein as regular tights, just that they are coming up to cover your chest. They run on the small side so always err on the side of caution and bump up if you're worried something might not fit. We know the height ranges for these by heart and are here to help you make an informed decision on the best option for you/your dancer!

No matter what it is you need, Bailey Slipper Shop welcomes you to call or stop by! We are well-versed in the competition world and want to help your event(s) go as smoothly as possible. We advise always planning ahead, when possible, as it tends to become a hive-mind time of year and products leave the shelves fast! As always, we will happily place special orders for you if need be since a certain style or color might not be a regularly stocked item. Shopping online for dance products is always a crap shoot and we would rather see to appropriate fitting and be sure your product is new and in perfect condition! Let us know what we can do to help.

We wish all competitors a safe and fun season this year! Work hard but remember to be proud of yourself too!

Credit: Paul Michna | Staff Photographer for (Competitive team photo)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *