Rehearsal time during any show is crucial and often limited. Cast members, dancers, and crew work for hours on end to ensure a show is in top form before performance time. Like an episode “Grizzly Man,” the process can be grueling, and you have to be prepared for anything. While your script is the most crucial item to show up to every rehearsal with, a well-stocked rehearsal bag can be a major asset. Look to the wisdom of the boy scouts and always be prepared – lest you find yourself with a bad case of the “hangries” with four more hours of tap-dancing ahead of you.
Here are my top ten essentials to keep in your rehearsal bag…
1. Extra Shoes
Much like going to the gym, your shoes for the stage should be a pair separate from your street shoes to help keep the stage clean. Having an extra pair of dance shoes or trainers are perfect for situations involving blisters or broken shoes.
2. Water Bottle
You’ve got to hydrate to dominate, or so I’ve been told. Not only is water essential to stop you from passing out, but it helps to keep your vocal chords in top shape by maintaining lubrication. Also, drinking water helps keep your stress levels down and improves your mental clarity for those moments when the director is barking new blocking instructions at you.
3. A Variety of Snacks
Rehearsals can run long, and your focus levels can waver if you’re hungry. Keep a series of easy to eat snacks in your bag, like fruit, granola bars, almonds, that you can grab when your stomach starts to rumble.
4. First Aid Supplies
Fellow cast members in shows always joke that I carry a pharmacy in my bag (what can I say, it’s the teacher in me, always prepared for anything). Having basics like Band-Aids for cuts and blisters or Advil, for head or muscle aches, are always a good start. I even carry a tensor bandage, and you would not believe the number of times that has come in handy. Having simple remedy items can help to avoid rehearsal disruption.
5. Notebook and Pencil Case
Those scripts aren’t going to mark themselves. Writing down direction or choreography notes in your script is an essential part of the rehearsal process that will help you when you are practicing by yourself. A notebook and a couple of pencils and highlighters are your friends.
6. Deodorant and Body Spray
Be kind to your fellow cast and crew mates. Especially during a dance rehearsal, things can get a bit sweaty. Keep yourself smelling fresh and your fellow thespians happy.
7. Mini Sewing Kit
Rips and tears in clothing and shoes can happen easily during a rehearsal. Needle, thread, and extra buttons are useful for avoiding embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions, or at least help to repair them if they do happen.
Downtime while you are waiting for your turn on stage is the perfect opportunity to review any songs or choreography. Find a hallway or a quiet corner where you put on your headphones and mark the choreography or sing quietly to yourself. Practice makes perfect!
9. Extra Layers
Cold muscles can result in injuries. Stay warm with layers for both on and off stage. Sweaters, socks, sweat pants and leg warmers are good go-to options. Having an extra change of clothes in case you get sweaty can be helpful as well.
Sweat and makeup are brutal for your skin. Keep your pores unclogged and your skin feeling fresh with makeup removing wipes or even baby wipes. Travel packs are the perfect size for rehearsal bags.
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