Inside Jose Manuel Carreno's Dance Bag

Published in the August/September 2009 issue.

Photo by Nathan Sayers

Jose Manuel Carreño’s dance bag is all bare-bones basics. “I just carry the stuff I need for my everyday routine,” says the American Ballet Theatre principal. Amid his pile of black dance clothes (“For some reason I always buy everything in black!”) are various items for pain relief. “Whenever we tour to Japan, I pick up these heating patches which are great for dancers. I keep them on for days at a time,” says Carreño. He also swears by ATOMO DESINFLAMANTE, an anti-inflammatory cream from Argentina, which he gets through his close friend Julio Bocca.

For downtime during rehearsals, Carreño packs his iPod (which he leaves on shuffle, playing everything from classical to salsa) and a book. When Pointe caught up with him, he was reading The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama, which he borrowed from girlfriend Melanie Hamrick, an ABT corps member. “A book is always good company in the dressing room,” he says. Though he travels light, he does have a few essentials. Picking up his ballet shoes and dance belt, he says, “If it’s a working day, these are two things I can’t go without.”