Packing for Tour

Here’s a “throw-back” blog post written by Nina Gershy as she prepared for the 2020 Cirque Us tour! In the midst all of the crazy things happening in March, we never got to post this blog, but it is full of helpful information we wanted to share! 

Although there isn’t lots of touring happening right now, we want you to be fully prepared for when they do!  

-Cirque Us

Hey everyone!

My name is Nina and I’m thrilled to be joining the cast of RagTag for the Spring 2020 Tour. Rena and I were both in the original cast of RagTag (Summer 2019), and we are both very excited to welcome the new circus artists to the Cirque Us family.

This blogpost is about how to pack for tour! I traveled all over the country last year teaching and performing circus arts, and I have a few tricks that I thought I would share with you.

RagTag 2019 Cast at a homestay in 2019.
  1. Pack Light.I am proud to say that my clothes and shoes fit into 1 carry-on suitcase. Yes, 1 carry-on. How? The trick is roll the clothes! Something *new* that I’m going to try this year is packing into compression packing cubes, which should help keep my clothes organized. Last year, I didn’t even need all of the clothes that I brought in my carry-on. The reality is, you’re either traveling, on site, or performing. So, I would recommend packing a “travel outfit”, warm-up clothes that you can *easily* put over a costume, some training clothes, and one nice outfit for when you go out on the town. LESS IS MORE!
    1. Travel with a towel. Be prepared.
    2. Don’t forget a laundry bag!
    3. The more underwear, the better
    4. You will make it with two pairs of shoes.I highly recommend 1 closed-toe option, as it’s important to keep your feet covered for load-ins and load-outs. 
  2. Embrace your inner bag-lady. People say when traveling, you should dress in layers. I also recommend packing in layers. For example, I have one normal size rolling suitcase, which is my Circus Bag. Within my Circus Bag, I have smaller bags that I can easily pull.
    1. My Trapeze, Rope, hardware, rosin, and chalk will always live in this suitcase. This suitcase will always live in the Uhaul, which means I won’t have access to it when I go to homestays/Airbnbs.
    2. Self-Care Circus Bag! When we performed at Circus Culture last year, the amazing owner (Amy Cohen) gave us these nice big Circus Culture schlep bags. In this bag, I pack things that I would normally have access to at a circus studio: jumprope, yoga blocks, foam roller, therabands, lacrosse balls, and ankle weights. I also have some personal items in there such as, bluetooth headphones, backwarmer,  and slippers. 
      1. SLIPPERS!!!!Wow. These are definitely a game-changer. Slippers make all the difference for warming up. You never know what the temperature will be like in a theatre, and it’s an easy way to keep your feet warm, and clean!
    3. Costume Bag. Since I need many nude undergarments, I carry them in a separate bag to keep them clean. I also like carrying my various costume pieces in that bag so I can keep track of everything. Don’t forget a portable mirror– you never know what your backstage is going to be like. I also have my show makeup in this bag.
RagTag 2019 Cast Performing at Circus Smirkus Camp! – Photo Amira Silverman
  1. Buy a good back-pack
    1. I finally invested in a nice Patagonia bag. It has two pockets on the outside. You’ll find my nalgene water bottle on one side (hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!), and my to-go coffee cup and umbrella on the other side. 
    2. What else can you find in my backpack?
      1. Computer, ipad, glasses, journal, planner, headphones, ibuprofen, fanny pack (really great for when you’re rigging in a grid), ear plugs, and my PJs. Sometimes if I prepare well, I pack my outfit for the next day in my backpack so that way I don’t have to go through all of my belongings in my carry-on. 
    3. Something *new* I’m trying this year is clipping a neck pillow to my backpack. I’m hoping this will be good for napping in long car-rides!
  2. Reusable bag for Food
    1. You don’t need the smoothie blender or the protein powder. As a circus artist and an athlete, I consume a lot of protein. I own a one-serving-size-blender and brought it with me on the road last year. Turns out, you don’t train as much when you’re traveling/performing. It was so unnecessary. As soon as my parents came to a show, I handed it off to them.
    2. Travel with a food bag & a cooler! I like to eat healthy, and I was very lucky that the original RagTag cast liked similar foods. We were able to cook for each other and meal-prep together. We each traveled with 1 reusable bag with perishables. Additionally, there was a cast cooler, but I’m hoping this year we can get a bigger one. We ran into a lot of “eating ice-cream at 10am because we needed to make room in the cooler” situations.
    3. What do you generally find in my food bad?
      1. Pour Over, coffee filters, coffee, peanut butter, tea bags, reusable cutlery, assorted snacks, bread, bananas, apples, and TUPPERWARE.
  3. Shower Caddy (throwback to college dorm days) and Toiletries 
    1. It’s so much easier to keep toiletries in a shower-caddy. I’d recommend buying  soap and toothbrush containers because then you can put the showercady into the reusable bag with the perishables. Just pray you don’t have a shampoo spill!

Happy Packing! 

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