Ballet Stars

Inside The Joffrey Ballet's Jeraldine Mendoza’s Dance Bag (Plus, Why Her Pup Loves Spending Time in the Studio)

Quinn Wharton

The Joffrey Ballet's Jeraldine Mendoza is a minimalist. This is evident from her well-organized sewing kit to her slim Goyard wallet, which she bought in Paris while on tour with the company last summer. "I never carry cash; all that's in there is my ID and my credit cards," she says. She keeps her wallet, phone and keys in her red Kenzo bucket bag, and her pointe shoes and other dancewear and accessories in her Baggu duffel. "I like things in order," she says. "Knowing where everything is is a priority for me."


One of Mendoza's most coveted items is her DIY roller, which she made six years ago from a piece of PVC pipe covered in cork. "It's super-hard, but it's really good for you," she says. "A lot of the company members use it." Mendoza's Boston terrier, Kahlua, may not fit in her dance bag, but she's still a frequent guest at The Joffrey's studios. "I know it sounds crazy, but I think she loves classical music," says Mendoza. "As soon as the music starts playing for class, she falls straight asleep for the full hour and a half."

The Goods

Quinn Wharton

Clockwise from center: TriggerPoint massage ball, Bunheads' Ouch Pouch toe pads, hair tie, Goyard wallet, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups ("These are my favorite things in my bag. There's always a bowl of candy outside the office, and I always take the Reese's"), bobby pin container, Altoids, Beats by Dr. Dre earbud carrying case, Raf Simons for Adidas slide sandals ("If I'm not in pointe shoes, I'm in these slides"), iPhone, keys, Sansha Pro ballet slippers, Kenzo bag, Joffrey ID, homemade roller, subway card, Capezio custom pointe shoes ("Every year I experiment with other shoes, but I always go back to these Capezios. I go through at least three new pairs a week"), sewing kit ("It holds my darning yarn, different kinds of needles, Jet glue, dental floss and pancake makeup"), Secret deodorant, Sony Handycam ("I use it to tape myself in rehearsal. I like using it more than my cell phone").

The Conversation
News
Ma Cong in the studio with Tulsa Ballet. Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Without him we wouldn't have The Nutcracker, Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty. But how much do you know about Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the man behind classical ballet's most recognizable music? Did you know that the Russian composer hid his homosexuality for much of his life? He also struggled with depression; there's been speculation that his death in 1893 was in fact a suicide.

Tulsa Ballet resident choreographer Ma Cong dramatically recounts his life in a new full-length ballet titled Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music, premiering March 29-31. If you think a story ballet about the most renowned composer of story ballets set to, yes, a Tchaikovsky score, is a bit meta, you wouldn't be wrong. But considering the renewed importance of LGBTQ rights in society, it's a ballet perfectly timed to our era. In Russia, censorship still asserts that Tchaikovsky was not gay. The subject also calls to mind backlash surrounding an LGBTQ-themed work at Louisville Ballet just last month.

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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