You may not know this but January is International personal self-defense awareness month as well as national stalking awareness month. In that stead, I wanted to write a post with some tips on how to stay safe while gigging and also hopefully to avoid stalkers. These tips can be applied to all traveling professionals and artists, not just to dancers.

1. Do not have someone you don’t know walk you to your car. I know that it can feel safer and why not let that sweet guy help you with your bags? If you do not know the person, they could be nefarious and you had no idea. Another twist on this scenario is that the person is just fine but after walking to your car, decides to head over and pick up a pack of cigarettes. Then returns to the place where you just danced an hour later and proceeds to tell everyone that they were with you the entire time. This can not only damage your reputation but also plant the idea in the heads of others and you’ll have the wrong kind of help walking you to your car.

2. Carry an emergency kit in your trunk. I purchased one from Walmart some time ago:
It contains flashlights, a poncho, jumper cables, flairs, all kinds of things. You never know if you’re going to get stuck on your way to or from a gig and it’s a good idea. 

3. Don’t post your every movement. I understand that we post about where our gigs are and want our friends and fans to show up but that also opens us up to stalkers knowing where we will be. Perhaps post about your weekly gigs but don’t post about your private parties until after. Or turn off the Geotag so your location isn’t known. it may seem like overkill but I have heard far too many stories about dancers being followed from place to place.

4. Use a texting system. I have to text my honey when I leave, arrive and are on my way home. Mostly this is so something hot and yummy to eat can be waiting for me when I get home but it’s also for safety. If he doesn’t hear from me, then he will touch base to make sure everything is ok. It could be because I was delayed at a gig or it could be because I got stuck on the road. Either way, it doesn’t take much effort to shoot him a text and have that added layer of security.

5. Be aware. Take a look around as you are rushing to and from gigs. Is there anyone else in the parking lot? Around your car? Try to park in a well lit area. If I can, I park right under a street light. Even if it means I need to walk a little farther, at least I can see all around my car and it’s harder for someone to hide.

6. Check your auto unlock. I purposely only unlock the driver’s side door. If I’m the only one getting into the car, there’s no need to unlock all of the doors. Again, this may seem like overkill but it lessens the chance of anyone else being able to jump in the car. Also, they can’t open the door to grab one of your bags either!

I hope that these tips have been helpful to you and will keep us all safe in the future. If you have additional tips, please feel free to share them in the comments section below. Anything to keep us all safe while we share our art is a plus!