The Guide to IAGSDC Convention Chapter 12
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What to pack? (a/k/a, "Dancers' Wear Daily")
Packing for Convention isn't quite as simple as many first-timers think. Dressing up for a day of dancing is different than attending a regular club or class night.
- Pack more socks and shirts than you think you need. It's not uncommon at Convention to change socks and/or shirts several times daily. Ditto underwear.
- You may want to pack a "casual dressy" outfit for the banquet, if you like getting dressed up.
- Don't forget your swimsuit! Even if you don't plan on swimming, you may want that swimsuit for taking a dip in the hotel's hot tub after dancing all day. Daniel Howell from Tinseltown Squares suggests some may also want to bring a tacky women's bathing suit, to participate in the "Bathing Beauties" parade and tip. More info on that later.
- Your club uniform is needed for the Grand March and your club photograph. Some clubs have very formal uniforms, while others are informal. Ask one of your club's officers if you're not sure. Some dancers don't bother wearing a uniform at all.
- Bring comfortable shoes, boots, and clothing for dancing. Even at a gay Convention, style isn't as important as comfort. Tight jeans may look great, but if they chafe in the wrong places, you'll be truly sorry later.
- Bring your checkbook! Gary Young points out that you'll want to write checks for registrations, vendor merchandise, and the like.
- Two pair of shoes is not excessive. Gloria Krusemeyer points out that many people are shocked to find that their shoes are soaked after a couple of hours of dancing. Also, wet shoes promote chafing. (Ouch!)
- Another reason for two pair of shoes for dancing: Cameron Robb always took both a pair of boots and a pair of tennis shoes, so he could dance on both carpeted or wood floors. Dancing on carpet in sneakers can lead to a turned ankle at Mainstream or Plus levels. Leather soles are best for carpeting ... or plastic flooring. (See below.)
- Some conventions now use a plastic dance floor, which works better with slipperier soles. Richard Bass likes using bowling shoes, George Chow prefers "dance sneakers", available at most dance supply stores, and Seth Levine prefers western-style boots, which have a leather sole for twirling, and a rubber heel for control.
- If you only brought "grippy" shoes but wish you had slipperier shoes, Scott Philips suggests picking up a roll of clear plastic packing tape. He reports that the tape even seems to work well with waffle-soled sneakers.
- Insoles are "in." Gloria Krusemeyer loves wearing gel-filled insoles for dancing. If you want to dance in tighter shoes that won't accommodate a full gel insole (though we can't figure out why you'd want to, other than for style issues), consider using a gel "heel" insert, which is much smaller.
- "Style Over Comfort," Part II: Moria Merriweather suggests wearing shorts (or skirts or kilts) and similar light clothing, which will let you dance comfortably in large, crowded halls.
- A dance towel. "A towel, a towel, my kingdom for a towel!" If you're a "schvitzer," (sweaty person) bring one or two absorbent sports towels you can carry around with you to dry off between (or during) tips. Many square dance clothing or accessories vendors often sell belt clips for dance towels.
- Don't try to break in new shoes or boots at Convention. Instead, break in new dancing footwear for several weeks before convention, during class nights or club nights.
- Bring and always wear your club badge (or some kind of name badge) when dancing. People like to know with whom they're dancing! Rather than remembering to bring a badge, some people wear club shirts or personal shirts embroidered with their name.
- If you don't have your club badge to wear for some reason (lost, broken, etc.), the Fial family (long time friends to the IAGSDC community) are usually present at each Convention, with a wonderful while-you-wait badge booth. They make generic badges, and provide badge dangles and additional information "hanger bars" for your club badge. They also have magnetic badge holders that prevent your badge from making holes in your clothing.
- Don't stuff your magnetic badge into the same pocket as your hotel room key or credit cards. No, we're not putting you on. Tim Learmont from El Camino Reelers points out that many hotels now use magnetic cardkeys, which can easily be erased by the strong magnets used on the back of dance badges. Keep your room key, ATM card, and credit cards somewhere completely separate from your badge.
- An insulated sports bottle or covered mug that you can carry with you is an excellent investment.