Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links with Amazon. If you make a purchase from these links, Dance Dispatches will receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you.
If you don’t dance, generating dance gift ideas isn’t easy. Sure, you can buy any product with a dance logo or the word ‘dancer’ plastered on it; but it won’t necessarily be a good fit for the dancer in your life. You can select more thoughtful dance related gifts. Whether you want to purchase Christmas presents for dancers, birthday presents for dancers or dance teacher presents when recital rolls around, these are the best gifts for dancers.
Pssst… And if you are a dancer, scoping out dance gifts for friends, you may find something that catches your fancy, too! Just abide by that ‘one for me, one for you…’ rule.
Presents for Dancers
If the dancer you’re shopping for likes to read, you’re in luck. There are plenty of dance books about famous dancers and choreographers, specific dance styles, dance history, dance film (aka: screendance)… The list goes on and on. Find out what about dance most interests your friend, and you’ll be able to pinpoint a book that matches in our longer list of dance books.
Otherwise, choose from this dance books shortlist:
Books for Ballerinas
We recommend ballerina Misty Copeland’s inspiring memoir, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, which documents the life of this American Ballet Theatre principal dancer from the time she started dancing as a teenager. Every ballet dancer should also have a good ballet dictionary, and the Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet is popular for a reason.
Gorgeous Dance Photo Books
You don’t even have to read these books. You can leave them on your coffee table and page through the stunning images at random. You’ll find dreamy, whimsical images in Dancers Among Us: A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday, which features dancers out and about in the ‘normal’ world. For elegant photos of dancers dressed in resplendent clothing, order The Style of Movement: Fashion & Dance.
Books for Dance Lovers
Dance enthusiasts can learn about how different dance styles intersect in Appreciating Dance: A Guide to the World’s Liveliest Art – or learn about different dances from around the world with World Dance Cultures: From Ritual to Spectacle.
Yes, dance journals are a thing. They provide a clean space for dancers to keep their most important ideas: aspiring dancers can track their progress, dance teachers can form lesson plans and choreographers can record their combinations. Some dance journals have prompts on each page; but even a blank designated dance notebook can be useful – especially for dance students at university, where they may be required to submit dance reflections to their professors each semester.
People who love dance become obsessed with dance movies. (How else did Center Stage become such a cult classic?) They’ll sit on the floor and stretch while watching their favorite dance flicks – and perhaps even learn the choreography from the big scenes. To make it simple, we’ve curated this shortlist of dance movies for you.
And while these are all great dance presents for adults, don’t forget to check the maturity rating if you purchase them for children.
So, we already mentioned Center Stage, which follows an aspiring, underdog ballerina as she trains at a professional ballet school in New York City. Leap! (also known as Ballerina) is an animated film that about a young girl who auditions to enroll in the esteemed Paris Opera Ballet school, and Billy Elliot is a film about a boy who loves to dance, despite his family’s disapproval.
Hip-hop Dance Movies
Movies that feature hip-hop and street dance are pretty popular, but Save the Last Dance is a classic, and Step Up with Channing Tatum was so popular that the franchise produced multiple follow-up films. You can even get the whole box set. (Note: as with many dance movies, they’re popular for the dancing, rather than the acting.) Honey, starring Jessica Alba, is about a hip-hop dancer and choreographer, who dreams of making it big.
Ballroom Dance Movies
If your dancer loves to partner dance, consider Dirty Dancing, a movie about a girl who learns to dance while on family vacation. Shall We Dance? with Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere is less cheesy, and Cuban Fury is great fun. In this comedy, a man learns to salsa dance in order to impress his love interest.
Dance Movies for Everyone
These are dance movies that anyone will enjoy. Fame, Flashdance and Footloose have genuine 80s vibes (since they’re from 1980, 1983 and 1984, respectively). Fame follows a cohort of students through their time at a performing arts high school in New York City. Flashdance is about a woman who works in a steel mill but dreams of becoming a ballerina, and Footloose is about a kid who rebels against the city’s ban on dancing.
Dancewear / Athleisure Wear
Believe it or not, clothes can make great dance presents. You can either purchase specific dancewear, designed specifically for dancing, or comfortable athleisurewear if your dancer takes more informal studio classes. You can also present them with dance clothing, like fun slogan t-shirts, for casual wear, too.
Dance Casual Wear
Kids especially enjoy anything that explicitly identifies them as a dancer – either with words or with a dancer logo. (In my early dancer years, my mom got me a pair of pajama bottoms with a ‘DKB’ pattern [for dancers kick butt] and I thought they were the coolest thing over.) An ‘eat, sleep, dance, repeat t-shirt‘ will do the trick. Adults dancers will probably prefer clothing with clever sayings, like ‘Meet me at the barre,’ or something that rhymes: ‘Plié, chassé, jeté, all day.’
If you live in the northern hemisphere, where it’s chilly, dance warm-up clothes make great Christmas gifts for dancers. A dance cardigan or dance sweater will keep your dancer warm between classes. Ballet booties are great for ballet dancers, and modern dancers really love fuzzy socks – or smartwool socks that hikers would wear. You could also get ballet dancers a pair of leg warmers; sometimes ballroom dancers wear them, too.
You may need to get a dance mom’s insight for their child’s dance apparel requirements – or ask their partner to peek at their dance wardrobe. (Or check out what they wear when the post dance pictures on social media.) You could purchase a stunning leotard for a ballet or contemporary dancer, gorgeous ballroom shoes for a ballroom dancer or a new hip scarf for a belly dancer.
In general, hoodies and leggings and crop tops make good gifts for dancers. This type of clothing doesn’t necessarily need the word ‘dance’ plastered on it. But it should make the dancer feel confident when they’re taking class in a studio and/or recording their dances for social media. If you know your dancer’s style, you could score some serious brownie points with a sweet pair of sneakers.
In addition to dance and athleisure clothing, dance accessories make great gifts for dancers. You can find your dancer a designated dance bag to tote around all of the aforementioned dance clothes. Otherwise, you could opt for less expensive dance presents, like a floral bun wrap (which is all the rage now), dance-inspired jewellery or a dancer keychain – like this pointe shoe keychain.
Massage, Spa or Body Work Session
Admittedly, buying a massage, body work session or spa package isn’t cheap. But it will certainly be at the top of most adult dancers’ wishlists. Dancers put their body through extreme training, so a little tender loving care on their muscles is a gift from heaven. Plus, if you book them a professional massage, they won’t be begging you to dig out all of their knots. You may even be able to find a discounted voucher on sites like Groupon, etc.
Alternatively, you can get them a day at the spa (so they cycle between the pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room) or a body work session. Body work sessions could be an assisted stretching session, a session with an osteopath or a session with someone trained in Alexander Technique.
Are you borderline obsessed with movement efficiency? Read our Klein Technique class review because we think you’ll love it.
DIY Massage Kit
Dancers aren’t high maintenance; so they will also appreciate if you gift them a range of home massage items. They can either roll their muscles out with massage balls (or a lacrosse ball), a handheld massage stick or a foam roller. There are even foot massage rollers specially designed to revive tired feet. Otherwise, massage cushions or massage chair covers make a nice treat.
DIY Spa Kit
An at-home spa kit is a very sweet present for dancers, particularly dance educators. This is one of the most useful dance teacher gift ideas – and a lovely DIY gift for dancers. Create a little spa hamper with Epsom salts, some sugar scrub, scented bubble bath and a few candles. The Epsom salts will revive their achy bodies. The body scrub will gently exfoliate their skin, including the skin on their feet (which dancers will generally prefer over a pedicure*). And who doesn’t love bubbles, or a fizzy bath bomb, and candles during a relaxing bath session?
* This may be too much information – but during a pedicure at the salon, the exfoliation process may shave off more of the skin than the dancer needs to protect his/her feet.
Home Dance Studio Gear
Some dancers are lucky enough to have a home practice space. If they have a DIY home dance studio, you can help outfit it with these dance gift ideas. Those with a big budget can consider purchasing dance flooring or a ballet barre as a dance present. A portable speaker is another useful option, since it can provide better quality music than a laptop or cell phone. If your dancer loves to create videos – you can get them a tripod (to hold their phone or camera still during filming) or a gimbal (which stabilises a moving camera for smooth filming). Alternatively, there are special tripods that can automatically track the dancer’s movement – like a live videographer. Cool, right? The original is called a Pivo pod, but this smart shooting, rotating phone holder is more affordable.
Dance Class or Workshop
Your dancer may be enrolled in regular classes – or even regularly teach class. But there’s something special about taking a dance class with a renowned instructor or trying a new dance style. If there’s a famous instructor headed to town, consider buying your dancer a workshop ticket. You can even sign up for a dance class together. They won’t care about your skill – but they’ll appreciate your effort to participate in their favorite hobby! Otherwise, you can gift a private dance lesson to a pair of friends for the ultimate dancing couple gift.
Attending a dance show together can create fantastic lasting memories. There’s nothing more inspiring than watching a professional company on stage. You can search for ballet tickets, but your dancer may prefer watching a musical theatre performance with upbeat music, instead. You can also look for shows in other dance genres, such as tap dance, ballroom dance and modern dance. Why not make an evening out of it, too, with dinner beforehand or dessert afterwards?
Dance Photo Shoot
Dancers work so hard to perfect their craft, and photos are a good way to capture it. A dance photography session isn’t just good for supplying great social media pictures… An aspiring professional can use dance photos on their websites or business cards. If they opt to get headshots, instead, it could accompany their biography in show programs. Although dance photographer rates may be higher than standard photographers, their specialist expertise really will better showcase a dancer’s talent.
Dance Fitness Subscription
Yes, professional and pre-professional dancers get plenty of exercise. But some dance enthusiasts may love dancing – but may not dance all that often. You can get them an online dance cardio fitness membership, like BollyX or DanceBody, so they can take dance-inspired classes at home. This will give them an enjoyable excuse to workout, and they won’t need to memorize tricky choreography, which can be disheartening when you’re a little bit rusty.
We hope this list of dance themed gifts helped you to select the perfect presents for a dancer you love.
Now tell us, which do you think are the best presents for dancers? And is there anything we missed from the list? Let us know which dance teacher gifts and dance student presents your loved ones have enjoyed in the comments below!