Ida Praetorius

Beth Dixson

Royal Danish Ballet Principal Ida Praetorius' Dance Bag is Filled With Glamorous Hand-Me-Downs

Ida Praetorius' dance bag is filled with hand-me-downs. The Royal Danish Ballet principal likes her warm-ups to come with a backstory. "It's what I wear all day. I never wear my normal clothes, so I like bringing the people I love with me," she says. Like most of what Praetorius carries, her striped legwarmers were handed down from a colleague in the company. "I borrowed one from a friend while in rehearsal for Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and then the next day when I went to give it back to him, he gave me the other one instead," says Praetorius. The frayed blue Repetto overalls that she wore throughout rehearsals for her recent performances at New York City's Joyce Theater are a last-minute addition to her collection. Praetorius snagged them from fellow principal Kizzy Matiakis, her dressing-room mate back in Copenhagen. "I love her wardrobe, and tend to steal from her," says Praetorius. "I just said, 'I'm going to New York!' and I grabbed a bunch of her stuff."




Praetorius shows the tag in her practice tutu.

Beth Dixson

Though she's the youngest principal in the company, Praetorius carries around a bit of RDB history in her two most-prized items. Her practice tutu used to belong to famed Danish ballerina Silja Schandorff, who retired from the company in 2009. "I like that it still has her name in it," says Praetorius of the faded label stitched inside. "I just keep sewing the tutu because it's falling apart."

Praetorius' favorite warm-up top is vintage Royal Danish Ballet.

Beth Dixson

To stay warm, Praetorius often throws on a large, button-down shirt that was once part of the RDB theater crew's uniform. Praetorius first saw it in a box in the costume shop being sent to storage. "I was like, 'Storage? How can you?' and so they said, 'Fine, just take it!' " she says. "It's very vintage. My friends are a bit jealous."

The Goods

Beth Dixson

Clockwise from top left: Freed custom pointe shoes ("I use these special ribbons from Paris. They're super-thin and stretchy, and almost become part of the leg line"), striped legwarmers, foot massaging ball ("My friend makes these from bouncy balls in the set shop at the theater"), Bang & Olufsen headphones, box cutter, Bloch booties, embroidery thread for darning, Bunheads Stitch Kit, Compeed Blister Plasters, nail polish ("I wear Klaus Schreck tights and they're really thin, so these are for runs. If tights are too thick, I think it looks like a Barbie leg"), scissors, Sansha slippers, Sommeren er ikke helt forbi by Maria Gerhardt ("I like to have a book when I stretch after rehearsals, when I need my brain to switch off. This is a Danish writer. It's a collection of columns and essays"), Hot Stuff glue, toe tape, Clif Bar.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

The History of Pointe Shoes: The Landmark Moments That Made Ballet's Signature Shoe What It Is Today

Pointe shoes, with their ability to elevate a dancer both literally and metaphorically to a superhuman realm, are the ultimate symbol of a ballerina's ethereality and hard work. For students, receiving a first pair of pointe shoes is a rite of passage. The shoes carry an almost mystical allure: They're an endless source of lore and ritual, with tips, tricks and stories passed down over generations.

The history of pointe shoes reveals how a delicately darned slipper introduced in the 1820s has transformed into a technical tool that offers dancers the utmost freedom onstage today.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

How Coming Back to Ballet After Years Away Has Saved Me During the Pandemic Shutdown

I was 4 years old when I took my first ballet lesson. My mom had dressed me in a pink leotard with matching tights, skirt and slippers. She drove me on a Saturday morning to a ballet academy in downtown Caguas, the town in Puerto Rico where I grew up. I don't remember much from the first lesson, but I do recall the reverence. My teacher Mónica asked the class if someone wanted to volunteer to lead. She was surprised I—the new girl—was the one to raise my hand.

I made up most of the steps, mimicking the ballerinas I had seen on TV and videos. At one point, Mónica stepped in and asked me to lead the class in a bow. I followed her directions and curtseyed in front of the mirror with one leg behind me and a gentle nod. I looked up to find myself in awe of what I had just done.

This was the same feeling I had when, after years away from dance, I finished my first YouTube ballet class at home in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
La'Toya Princess Jackson, Courtesy MoBBallet

Join Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet for Its 2020 Virtual Symposium

Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet, founded in 2015 by writer and activist Theresa Ruth Howard to preserve and promote the stories of Black ballet dancers, is offering three weekends of interactive education and conversation this month through its 2020 Virtual Symposium. The conference, titled "Education, Communication, Restoration," encourages participants to engage in candid discussions concerning racial inequality and social justice in ballet. While it is a space that centers on Blackness, all are welcome. Held August 14, 15, 21, 22 and 28, MoBBallet's second annual symposium will allow dancers to receive mentorship and openly speak about their personal experiences in a safe and empowering environment.

The first event, For Us By Us (FUBU) Town Hall, is a free community discussion on August 14 from 3:30–4:30 pm EDT via Zoom, followed by a forum for ballet leadership. The town hall format encourages active engagement (participants can raise their hands and respond in real time), but the registration invoice also contains a form for submitting questions in advance. The following discussions, forums and presentations include topics like company life as a Black dancer, developing personal activism, issues of equity and colorism in ballet companies, and more. Tickets range from free to $12 for each 60- to 80-minute event.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks