agreed, the best outfitting I found for my dancer was a riot glide
just kidding, the dancer was a great way to learn, but it really is big and hard to get around when you're headed downstream, kind of a point it and go that way.
I'd say the best thing to have would be good hip pads, like betty said, maybe even a lip above your hips (long as it doesn't cut into your side) if your hips will stay put you can do most anything better!
but I also agree that a smaller, even slightly newer boat would be the best way to move up in competency. Riots were my next boat of choice after the dancer because all my gear (read: my skirt) fit them. an old dominatrix, disco, or probably any of the newer ones would go for around $200 easily. keep an eye up here in CO, durango etc., but I see some coming from NM as well!