Show and Tell: Inside Peng-Yu Chen's Dance Bag

American Repertory Ballet's Peng-Yu Chen shows us her bag—and her little dog too.
Published in the August/September 2006 issue.

Show and Tell: Inside Peng-Yu Chen's Dance Bag

Courtesy of Sarah Silver

When Peng-Yu Chen packs her dance bag for classes or rehearsals at New Jersey’s American Repertory Ballet, she usually fills a second one—with her 11⁄2-year-old Yorkie, Sushi. “She calms people down in the mornings,” says Chen, who is a graduate of SUNY Purchase College. “She’ll go say hi to everyone, and every hour we take five minutes, and that’s her playtime.” Chen’s more dance-related items include her pointe shoes (one new pair, one broken-in pair and one flesh-toned pair for contemporary works) and medicinal patches for sore muscles (which she brings back from her native Taiwan). For makeup, a little face powder, eye shadow and mascara go a long way. “When you are rehearsing, you sweat so much,” she says, “so there’s no point wearing makeup. Everyone sees everyone in every kind of glory. When I go onstage, I have another kit, but I don’t normally carry all that stuff. And when I don’t have time to remove my makeup after shows, I just wear my sunglasses home!”

the goods

Wallet, schedule book, train ticket, water bottle (for tea in the mornings), makeup kit, sunglasses, headband, knee pads, leg warmers, leotard, slippers, three pairs of pointe shoes, ribbons, needles, granola bars, chocolate, Airborne (“because I always get sick”), Altoids, hand lotion, lip gloss, Tommy Hilfiger perfume (“so I don’t stink for partnering”), Counterpain (analgesic balm), muscle patches from Taiwan, baby powder, cuticle cream, hair brush, bobby pins and Sushi the dog.