Show and Tell: Inside Ashley Murphy's Dance Bag

Published in the August/September 2013 issue.

Photo by Nathan Sayers for Pointe

Just call Ashley Murphy “MacGyver.” The Dance Theatre of Harlem member’s bag is full of ingenious solutions to everyday problems. She carries her pointe shoes, for example, in a Trader Joe’s wine bag—each compartment is just the right size to hold a pair. “It caught on with the other DTH dancers,” she says. “Everyone was buying a lot of wine for a while.”

Or you can do as the other DTH dancers do and call Murphy “Duane Reade,” after the NYC drugstore chain. Whatever her colleagues need, whether it’s a Band-Aid or a snack, odds are she has it—packed neatly into one of the many organizational bags that fill her rolling backpack. “I get teased a lot because I carry so much,” she says. “But then anytime anybody needs something, it’s, ‘Go ask Ashley!’ ”

Her can’t-live-without-it item, though, isn’t an item at all: It’s her year-old dog, Minion. “I named him that because he’s everybody’s minion—he just likes to follow people around.”

The Goods
Trader Joe’s wine bag with pointe shoes, booties, warm-ups, honey (“I eat a spoonful before rehearsing a hard piece for that last boost—it’s quick energy”), oatmeal packets, socks, shoe makeup bag (“At DTH we have to paint our shoes to match our skin, and I speed up the process by taking the shoe polish out of a shoe polish applicator and putting my foundation in so it’s easier to apply”), massage tool (“It’s probably actually a dog toy”), foot supplies bag, pointe shoe scraper, toe pad and waist belt bag, medicine bag, iPad, hair supplies bag, Degree body spray, backpack (“with a  bow on it, of course—I always have to have my little girly touches!”)