If you are like me, you have just dropped a chunk of change on Irish dancing. This could have been for a workshop, dance camp, private lessons, school dance costume, or new dance shoes. Possibly even (gasp) a new feis vest or solo dress! Anyway you look at it, you just spent a lot of money.
But, your dancer still has a feis bag to supply. Fear not! At least that part of the equation does not have to be quite so expensive. You can stock their feis bag and still have enough to join Ash Wilkes, or Mr. WTF, for a feis coffee.
Our family was able to find all of the items listed below at our local dollar shop. For your specific area, please check around. Different stores stock different merchandise. In the US and Canada, the Dollar Tree is one of the largest dollar chain shops. In our area, there are also smaller shops. Even though they have other names, we still call them Five and Dimes. If you want your local store to stock particular items, speak with the store manager. Another option is to purchase, in bulk, from the internet. This could be an ideal, and cost effective solution, for a dance school.
Hair donut/ wig lifter
These sell for upwards of $3 at the feisanna. I have even seen them priced at $5. You could pick spares and still come out with change. They stock 3 color options. Light, Medium, and Dark.
Black Electrical tape/White electrical tape
Although the white electrical tape could be it’s own item, I have lumped them together. The black tape comes in the regular, palm sized roll. We go through two rolls, per month, at our house. The white tape comes on a 6″ roll, along with green, blue, yellow, and red tape. If you have a Fusion Fighter fan in your house, this could make them happy. For just a couple of dollars, they could trick out their hard shoes, too.
Now, this is the off brand duct tape. But, it still comes in black. Along with several other color options. Traction is traction, at least in the Wilkes household. If you want to argue the benefits of electrical, gaffers, and duct tape, there are forums online for just such a purpose. If you want to save money on an item that will be stomped on and thrown away, this is your purchase choice.
Blisters. Cuts. Scrapes. They are a fact of life in every form of dance. They can be particularly problematic in Irish dance. Keeping a stash of mole skin and adhesive bandages is a good plan. Grab a couple boxes of each, if you have more than one dancer in your family.
Safety pins/Sewing kit
It happens to everyone. Your dancer is about to go onstage and disaster strikes. Whether it is a broken number clip, damaged cape, or unsnapped leotard, your dancer requires a quick solution. Safety pins are the fastest fix. Keep the sewing kit for quick repairs. This is especially helpful when you discover a problem the night before the feis. Add a pair of small scissors, if you have more than one dancer. The little scissors included in the kit are fine to deal with once or twice. More than that, and even Mellie Wilkes loses patience. Sharp scissors make sewing easier.
Sport hair gel/spritz
Brace yourself. This will not be your Aussie/Redken/BedHead/FancyPants hair supply selection. This will be the hair equivalent of glue in a bottle, or in a tube. It will keep all those little, fine, flyaway hairs in place. Especially helpful when placing a bun wig on a smaller dancer. Add a plastic/faux bristle brush, if you do not want to cross contaminate your existing feis hair supplies. It will better spread the gel through the hair, as you put it into the pony tail/bun. You can also rinse it in hot water and air dry. The spritz is great for holding feis hair poufs and spikes in place, too.
Who does not require 100 or more? Especially on the morning of the feis. Our family has certainly bought our fair share of them. Most of them probably ended up on the feis stage or in the hotel elevator. So, grab a pack. Or two. Or ten… You get the idea. Have some extras on hand. If you would rather not lose them so quickly, pick up a hard shell carry case for them. The adhesive bandage sized cases work great. They are also easy to find in a feis bag.
You can grab a 2-pack, in a variety of colors, while you are in the store. Invariably, we loan ours out or lose them in transit. With several stages to watch, the highlighter makes competition tracking easiest. It is bright and easy to use. For us, it is also easy to lose.
Cooling sport towel
These are great! Especially for your dancer who gets quite warm. Whether in a solo dress, feis vest, or school dress, this item can be a life saver. They are hand washable. We get our cold in the room, then put it into a zipper baggie. In the summer, drop on a cube of ice. Once at the feis, you can drape it over the dancer’s neck. Or you can wipe down their arms and part of their back.
Instant cold packs
These are amazing to have on hand. The unthinkable can happen to any dancer. None of them are immune from falls, bumps, or on stage collisions. These are the snap and roll for instant cold packs. Be sure to check the package before purchasing. You do not want to buy this item damaged. Picking up a hard shell case for these is also advisable, especially if you have more than one dancer in your family.
There you have it! A list to fill your feis bag for under $15. Obviously, you could spend quite a bit more, or less. Be sure to take stock of your existing supplies, before shopping. No sense spending more money on items you do not need.
Then, you will have some cash on hand for those new diamanté socks.
Priorities, after all.