Show and Tell: Inside Ebony Williams's Dance Bag

Stilettos and more—inside Ebony Williams's dance bag at Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet.
Published in the Dec 2006/Jan 2007 issue.

Ebony Williams with her dance bag

Courtesy of Eduardo Patino

Although Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballets’s Ebony Williams—in her second year with the company—always has an extra pair of stilettos with her (“because you never know what is going to happen”), her dance bag is mostly packed with essentials such as leg warmers, pointe shoes and a sewing kit. You won’t find any pointe shoe ribbons, though. “We are not allowed to wear ribbon on our shoes, so I just wear elastic,” says the Boston native, “but you have to have really strong feet in order to do what we are doing. Unlike classical pointe work that puts you on top of your box, the choreography [at Cedar Lake] is contemporary, so we do a lot of going over the box.” Tights are also missing from her bag. “I don’t wear tights. I can’t stand them,” she says. “I usually wear shorts or some warm-ups, but no tights.” The company doesn’t perform in tights either, which means that Williams has to take extra care of the color of her shoes. “It’s mandatory for me to wear my shoes [to match] my skin complexion. The director hates it [if they don’t]. Not even for rehearsal.”

the goods

Stilettos, beanbag heating pad, sunglasses, makeup, washcloth, ibuprofen, Midol (in medicine bottle), lotion, deodorant, leotard, tank top, Rosebud salve (lip gloss), Band-Aids, leg warmers, pointe shoe bag, bubble gum, Sweet Tarts, nail clippers, scissors, needle and thread, Ace bandage, elastic and Gaynor Minden Dynamic Box Liners.