Lucas Chilczuk

Inside Ballet Hispánico Dancer Dandara Veiga's Dance Bag

At Ballet Hispánico, Dandara Veiga has to be part dancer, part chameleon. As she goes about an average day as an artist with the company, she shifts from ballet repertoire to contemporary works—and the contents of her dance bag help her ease from one style to the next.

"The way I move changes a lot when I change my hair or my clothes," she says. The Brazilian-born Veiga often switches up both completely as she works through her day, and doing so helps her to transition seamlessly through Ballet Hispánico's varied repertoire. And while the more casual styles put her a little out of her comfort zone—Dandara trained for some time at a strict ballet conservatory in Portugal—she's learning to enjoy it. "I don't do anything crazy, but I like to play a little. It's fun!"

Lucas Chilczuk

The Goods

Bloch booties: "I always go for black, because it's easiest to match with my leotards. I love for my leotards to be colorful, but I like to keep my warm-ups more neutral."

"I actually made my legwarmers in Brazil, with my grandmother, before I moved. When I first started dancing, I was on scholarship, so I had to build my wardrobe little by little. I'm very attached to these legwarmers, because my grandmother taught me how to make them. I wouldn't exchange them for anything."

Uniqlo vest: "I like this vest because it's ultra-light, so it doesn't take up too much space in my bag. It's black, of course, like all my other warm-ups!"

"I always have a small golf ball. Some of the other girls in the company introduced me to using it to roll my feet—we're always exchanging information about those things. I love how it feels on my arch," she says.

Gaynor Minden pointe shoes: "Now that I'm dancing at home, I've been darning the boxes of my shoes, because the floor of my apartment isn't ideal for dancing. It's pretty uneven, so I've found the darning helpful to give me a bit more stability. I'd hate to get injured dancing at home!"

Veiga holds photos of her family members in Brazil (Lucas Chilczuk)

"I always carry pictures of my family with me. I have a picture of each of their faces. I keep them with me all the time. I'm very nostalgic for home!"

Headphones: "I like to have my headphones to warm up before class. I try to listen to Brazilian songs while I'm warming up. They make me feel like I'm at home. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Iza. Her songs are very upbeat, which I like."

"I always have a bunch of extra clothes in my bag—leotards, skirts, shorts, tights, some loose pants. Changing clothes helps me to transition more quickly from classical to contemporary, so I don't lose time getting my mind and body ready for the next piece."

Kaiak cologne: "I have a little bottle of cologne from Brazil, which I like a lot. I like to have little things with me to make me think about home, and this cologne does that."

"I have a little container with hairpins, a headband and a little spray bottle of water. I change my hairstyle a lot throughout the day—like clothes, my hair can help change my mood for different styles of dance."

Vail Dance Festival bag: "Vail was one of my favorite places we've performed, so I love to carry this bag."

Latest Posts

Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Fancy Free" (1981)

In Jerome Robbins's 1944 ballet Fancy Free, three sailors on leave spend the day at a bar, attempting to woo two young women by out-dancing and out-charming one another. In this clip from 1981, Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was then both the artistic director of American Ballet Theatre and a leading performer with the company, pulls out all the stops to win the ladies' affections.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Bethany Kirby, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

An Infectious-Disease Physician on What Vaccines Mean for Ballet

As the coronavirus pandemic grinds into its second year, the toll on ballet companies—and dancers—has been steep. How long before dancers can rehearse and perform as they once did?

Like most things, the return to normal for ballet seems to hinge on vaccinations. Just over 22 percent of people in the U.S. are now vaccinated, a way from the estimated 70 to 85 percent experts believe can bring back something similar to pre-pandemic life.

But what would it mean for 100 percent of a ballet company to be vaccinated? Tulsa Ballet artistic director Marcello Angelini is about to find out—and hopes it brings the return of big ballets on the big stage.

"I don't think companies like ours can survive doing work for eight dancers in masks," Angelini says. "If we want to work, dance, and be in front of an audience consistently and with the large works that pay the bills, immunization is the only road that leads there."

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks