Cholis – I know I know….I told you some of these were obvious. But, you WILL sweat in your classes and you’ll be in your choli all day. I suggest you pack at least three so you’ll still have friends left on Sunday.
Tanks – We all love to sport our dance company tanks. Now is the time to pull out your collection! Here’s a hint, lots of us will have the same tank so be sure to write your initials on the tag as soon as you purchase your Homecoming tank. Often in class you will end up taking it off and setting it down. By the end of class you may be on the opposite side of the room and forgot where you put it.
Sweater or Hoodie –Nothing like working up a great sweat in class only to walk out of the room and shock your body with a blast of what feels like artic cold air. The temps in the rooms are always hard to control and in some hotels they are controlled in a totally different state! If you are cold natured, a scarf and leg warmers might not be a bad idea. You don’t want to be distracted from learning because you are trying to convert your skirt into a hoodie. Got an OG hoodie? Yep, so does everyone else! Again, be sure your initials are on the tag.
Yoga Pants and Mat – I recommend you start every day in the yoga class (roll your eyes all you want). These classes are designed for dancers and they will ensure you get the most out of your day. Tight leg pants are best. You don’t have to sport the latest Lululemon or Athleta fashion. Just wear something comfortable. Big flare pants tend to get in the way and you don’t want to spend the full 45 minutes getting untangled from your skirt. A choli and tank are perfect for the top.
Since we’ll be on carpet, a yoga mat is highly recommended. But don’t let a lack of yoga mat stop you from attending class. My favorite yoga mat ever was one I bought on clearance at TJ Maxx. Just a cheap mat will be fine. Plus, these work great rolled up to make a seat in the lecture part of classes!
Zils - I know this seems obvious too, but zils, finger cymbals, can be easily forgotten and most people don’t carry extra when traveling. If you are new to ATS® and still not comfortable with zils then this is the perfect setting! With classes of 50 or more students, no one is going to hear you if you mess up and with so much practice within three days, you’re very likely to walk away from the weekend playing like a pro!
Footwear - I love to dance barefoot, but we all know that a dance surface can impact the torque on our knees, our stability and even cause blisters on the balls of our feet. This would definitely ruin your weekend. Classes are in conference rooms which means we’ll be dancing for three days on commercial grade carpet. It feels great for walking and sitting in lectures but can wreak havoc on your feet. Be sure to pack your dance shoes and any additional footwear you need to keep your feet healthy and happy. A little Epsom salt bath each night can work wonders too!
Writing Materials – You are likely to learn new things, get inspired, meet new people, hear a new song or even experience all of these at the same time! You know your BFF isn’t going to send you her notes as fast as you would want them so don’t forget notebook and pencils! Personally, I love any excuse to buy a new, beautiful, fresh notebook. This year, with the addition of poster sessions, you are likely to fill up a whole notebook in just a few days. I also highly recommend refillable mechanical pencils. You never have to deal with the frustration of your pen busting in your dance bag or having to practically engrave your notes because you ran out of ink at THE most important part of class.
Water and Snacks –The hotel is just outside of San Francisco and there aren’t any grocery stores within walking distance. Food and water purchased at the hotel is way overpriced. Why spend $30 for a few granola bars when you could have purchased some brass Nakarali bracelets instead?! Last year, some of us shared an Uber and headed to Trader Joes to stock up before the festivities began! Healthy, quick snacks you can throw in your dance bag are best. Remember, sugar causes inflammation, so don’t fill up on those super sweet, supposedly healthy, meal replacement bars. Those will only make you crave more sugar and cause you to be tired a few hours later. (I could write a whole article on this alone) Instead, stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, hummus, green juice and some salad fixings. A refillable water bottle is best as it’s less wasteful and isn’t likely to get picked up and drank by someone else. If your room has a fridge, even better! If not, consider bringing a cooler bag with you. Refrigerators are limited at the hotel and can be rented for $5 per day.
Business Cards and Marketing Materials - Bring more than you think you will need! This is a great opportunity to network so it’s always nice to have business cards in your class bag. It may be old-fashioned but I still think it’s more professional to hand someone a beautiful representation of your company with all your contact info than it is to say “oh, you can find me on Facebook!” There is a table where people can set out promotional items like postcards and flyers. Give people every opportunity to get your information AND get theirs! We have such a big community and everyone has something to offer, why not connect and share? Remember, Sister Studios can order promotional materials at fcbd.com. No graphic designer needed, all the work has been done for you!
Open Mind and a Smile – OK, not really something you should pack and it’s something you should always carry! You are attending a three-day workshop all about ATS®!! This is the most accepting, loving environment I ever experienced at a dance event! Instructors have developed workshops that they are passionate about. Poster sessions were developed by some amazing people to give you tools you need to be successful! Some of it you will love and some of it won’t speak to you. But I encourage you to take full advantage of this event! Have an open mind and experience everything you can! Dance with people you don’t know, talk to people you’ve never met, get out of your normal circle of friends and share a meal with someone you want to learn more about! This is a safe place to be vulnerable, be authentic, ask questions, be silly, be positive, and SMILE!
So there you have it. Ten things you need to be sure to bring to ATS® Homecoming! This list could really be top 100 but these are the main things that seem so obvious that they are usually forgotten.
Of course, if you happen to forget something, then you can check in with my next blog post which is all about shopping and vendors at Homecoming!