Show and Tell: Inside Piotr Stanczyk’s Dance Bag

National Ballet of Canada dancer Piotr Stanczyk's dance bag is always packed for class.
Published in the February/March 2009 issue.

Show and Tell: Inside Piotr Stanczyk's Dance Bag

Courtesy of Colin Fowler

National Ballet of Canada principal Piotr Stanczyk is so passionate about his training, he doesn’t let a day go by without going into the studio. “I’m class-obsessed. I always do class, even Sunday,” says Stanczyk. He used to have to go to the theater to practice, but he recently bought a house. “I’m going to make a little space in the basement and put in a mirror and a floor,” he says. “I can’t wait.”

Growing up in Poland, Stanczyk switched from swimming to ballet when, at age 13, he was told he was too short (he’s now 6'1"). He hated it. “It was like, what am I doing here?” He recalls some classes having 20 boys and only 4 girls. “But then you sort of grow up,” he says. “I discovered a love for dance. I have a huge passion for it. It’s not about money or fame; it’s about where you are. I just love being onstage and having the audience watch your every move.” Stanczyk also enjoys teaching. “I didn’t know I was going to have such a huge passion for teaching until I started doing it,” he says. “I teach boys grade10 to grade 12 at Canada’s National Ballet School. I tell them, ‘Listen guys, it doesn’t matter how much it hurts, or how much you don’t want to do it. This class today that you do, you’re going to have to do every day of your career, every day. You’ve got to do it.’”

As far as his own dancing goes, 2009 should be an exciting year. NBC’s winter season features new works by three Canadian choreographers. “I’m very interested in Crystal Pite’s work. She’s trying to show something completely new, and that’s what it’s about—breaking ground,” says Stanczyk. And in June he’s looking forward to the company première of Davide Bombana’s Carmen. He has one of the leads.

The Goods
Lululemon bag (he’s an ambassador), canvas ballet slippers, prescription Voltaren, aspirin, Biofreeze, Rub A535 (a Canadian analgesic), Gatorade, two deodorants, Sigg water bottle, down booties, jazz shoes, running shoes, sweat shirt, two extra T-shirts (one sleeveless), Footsie Roller, Thera-band, iPod, tennis ball, CD with ballet class music, DVD of a role he has to learn for Pro Arte (a small Toronto-based company), Toronto Magazine, The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky (edited by Joan Acocella), Save the Males: Why Men Matter, Why Women Should Care, by Kathleen Parker