The Dancer's Guide to Sustainability

November 15, 2020

In many ways, the planet we live on is like a dance partner. It provides for us, inspires us, and supports us. And like in any good duet, both partners benefit when support and respect go both ways.

Did you know that there are choices you can make as a dancer to lessen your impact on the environment? Here are some of the best ways that you can dance towards a more eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle.

Carpool to class, competition, and convention

Fact: Car rides (like most things) are more fun with friends. Organize a carpool with your #DanceSquad to your next competition or convention, or even just to the studio. Fewer cars on the road means less gasoline used, and you can use the time spent in the car to catch up with your besties—instead of getting busted for whispering at the barre or during warmup.

Invest in reusable accessories

If you’re not on the #SaveTheTurtles bandwagon yet, consider this your formal invitation. Single-use plastics like sandwich bags, plastic straws, and yes, even your precious Starbucks cups, account for around 10% of all waste we produce. Half a million plastic straws are used in the world every day.

Invest in reusable containers for your snacks and lunches and keep your water in a refillable bottle. Customize them with stickers for an accessory that’s as cute as it is eco-friendly. Trust us: Your PSL will taste just as good from a reusable coffee mug.

Reuse dance costumes

Did you just love your large group contemporary costume from last season, or were you super jealous of the fierce small group jazz costume that the older girls wore? Instead of cracking open that costume catalog to select a look for your new solo, try shopping in your own closet (or someone else’s). If you can reuse a costume from a previous season, or buy one secondhand from a teammate, you’ll be saving all the resources it takes to manufacture and ship a new dance costume (and you’ll save some money, too).

Look into sustainable dancewear

Who said recycling can’t be stylish? More and more uses are being found for recycled single-use plastics, including Repreve, a new form of polyester made from recycled water bottles. Rezonance Athletics, founded by ABT dancer Betsy McBride, uses Repreve as well as recycled nylon to make leotards, bike shorts, and hair accessories. Consider investing in an ethically and sustainably-made piece the next time you shop for dancewear.

Follow the golden rule

It might be tempting to dump all your single-use plastics and old leos in favor of your new sticker-covered thermos, or your trendy new dancewear made from recycled materials, but remember the number-one rule of sustainability: The most sustainable and eco-friendly products you can use are the ones that you already have. Instead, focus on replacing finished or worn-out products with ethically made and eco-friendly choices.