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!"
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."