Like most busy, type-A ballerinas, Miami City Ballet principal Tricia Albertson tends to stress out—a lot. That’s why one of the most important items in her dance bag is Be Free Where You Are, by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. “A couple of years ago I went on a Buddhist retreat, and now I’m a total wannabe Buddhist,” she says.
Albertson also carries items that alleviate the stresses her body faces—tennis balls to roll out sore hips and calves, Advil for aches and pains. She uses her triangular sponges not as makeup applicators but as toe spacers, to take pressure off her bunions. “I’ve tried Dr. Scholl’s pads, everything,” she says. “Nothing works as well as the sponges.”
But the best way to ease stress, Albertson finds, is to make sure she’s totally prepared for every role. “I like to rehearse a lot on my own, but it’s hard to see yourself objectively,” she says. “So I’ve started videoing myself with this Flip camera. If I’m having trouble with a step, I’ll go back and look at the footage to see what I’m missing.”
Packable bag (“It folds up into itself, which is awesome”), iPod, pointe shoes, sewing supplies, superglue, Advil, energy bars, Be Free Where You Are, tennis balls, Music for Ballet Class CD (“Sometimes I like to give myself a class, especially when we’re traveling”), Flip video camera, trash bag hip warmers, hand sanitizer, leotard, deodorant, makeup, sunglasses (“In Miami, you’ve gotta have ’em!”), makeup sponges, Emergen-C, Traumeel