Show and Tell: Inside Viengsay Valdés' Dance Bag

Published in the December 2013/January 2014 issue.

Photo by Kyle Froman

Don’t be fooled by Viengsay Valdés’ dance bag full of warm-ups—it’s not her usual haul. We caught up with the Ballet Nacional de Cuba prima ballerina when she was performing at the Youth America Grand Prix Gala in New York, and she was still getting used to the Big Apple’s relatively chilly weather. “Here I am cold all the time!” she says. “In Cuba, I carry none of these warmers—I don’t need them.”

But one thing you’ll find in both her New York and Havana dance bags is a bottle of perfume. “I always, always carry perfume to use in class and rehearsal,” she says. She frequently switches brands for variety, but her current pick is by Elie Saab. “I have to smell fresh, yes, but wearing perfume also makes you feel elegant and inspired,” she says. “Plus your partner appreciates it!”

The Goods
Red duffle bag (“It’s my travel dance bag—I have a Longchamp bag I use in Havana”), sweater, vitaminwater, warm-up booties, warm-up pants, warm-up socks, jazz shoes (“I wear them for technique classes, because they protect my feet better than ballet shoes”), Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, Elie Saab eau de parfum, Thera-Band (“Foot exercises with it are the beginning of my day, every day”), toe tape, exercise band.