Burning Man Survival Guide for Dancers

Burning man port de bras

Burning Man stands à la seconde, with allongé arms

Will there be ballet at Burning Man this year?  Ballet to the People interviewed some veterans who passed on these survival tips for dancers:

Dancing in that low humidity can be lethal: hydrate well. Coconut water is the fashionable hydrating drink right now, very high in potassium, but you lose a lot of sodium in the desert too and coconut water doesn’t have enough of it. You can make your own hydrating drink with water, a few tbsp of lemon juice (for potassium) and a pinch or two of salt. Flavoring syrups optional, but fun – my personal favorites are Robert Lambert’s Yuzu, Rangpur Lime, and Blood Orange syrups.

Dust masks and goggles – essential for those sudden dust storms. Wrap-around sunglasses. A sinus rinse kit.

A portable barre.

A Marley floor makes a superior surface – not just for dancing – it rolls up, and wipes clean easily.

A solar charger for your iPod.

Pointe shoes can come in handy for hammering tent stakes. (Though ballerinas are not known for their mechanical skills.) But keep pointe shoes in Ziploc bags when not in use.

Keep everything in Ziploc bags, unless you like your things coated in alkali clay dust.  This is not ordinary dust, it can corrode metal and crack the skin, especially the feet if you’re dancing barefoot or not wearing shoes and socks during the day. Soak your feet in a 3:1 water/vinegar mix at the end of the day before applying moisturizer. All Good Goop organic healing balm is great for cracked heels, chapped lips, sunburn, you-name-it.

Theory: there is no such thing as an over-supply of Ziploc bags, especially at Burning Man. Put ice in Ziplocs & strap to your knees & ankles with Therabands after dancing to relieve sprains.

Parachute pants and unitards made of ripstop nylon for protection from wind and cold when dancing at night.

For God’s sake, keep the frilly costumes with lots of sparkly stuff at home… poorly glued feathers, sequins, ribbons and other elements of frou-frou that can easily become detached create MOOP (Matter Out of Place) and become a headache at clean-up time. This is no excuse for dancing naked – though naked is a much-used costume at Burning Man, ballet technique requires that certain body parts be restrained, for health and safety reasons, and in order to create those aerodynamic body lines. The truth is, costumes in ballet are generally more erotic than the naked body.  So there.

Lightweight headlamps – very cool, low-tech lighting effect when dancing at night under the stars, and practical, too – strap one to your forehead and others to your wrists, ankles, thighs, arms, etc.

Rule for partnering: if you’re responsible for lifting another person more than 6 inches off the ground in a dance, you must stay sober. DUI (Dancing Under the Influence) happens a lot at Burning Man but lifting is a serious matter.

Aleve. More Aleve.

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4 thoughts on “Burning Man Survival Guide for Dancers

  1. Erm… so maybe I’m just not cool, but I don’t know much about Burning Man. I hear it’s like… burning stuff and getting drunk. Is there more to it?

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