Isabella Boylston

Quinn Wharton

Inside ABT Principal Isabella Boylston’s Dance Bag

Though Isabella Boylston meticulously keeps to-do lists and writes down her commitments in her well-loved planner, her dance bag is far less organized. "I'm pretty haphazard with my stuff," says the American Ballet Theatre principal. "I leave things behind in the studio after every rehearsal." Nevertheless, the contents of Boylston's bag show off her colorful, sophisticated style. Her collection of lipsticks in different shades lives next to her threadbare warm-ups and skirts. "I just love vintage knitwear," she says. "I get a lot of my ballet gear out of the giveaway pile."


A self-described bookworm, Boylston usually carries two to three books, on the off chance she has a free moment to read in the midst of her busy days. "My favorite genres are fantasy and sci-fi," she says. "But right now I'm reading The Body Keeps the Score, about the mind–body connection and healing after trauma, which is fascinating."

Contents of Boylston's dance bag laid out in a square format on a grey studio floor.

Quinn Wharton

"I like to carry my Leica film camera. I go through phases where I'll take a lot of pictures of my colleagues backstage."

"I'm always cycling through various brands of natural deodorant. Recently I've been using Native."

"I like backpacks because you can just fit more, and you don't wind up tilting over on one side."

"This skirt is handmade from Designed by Alice. I just love colorful things!"

Boylston customizes her Bloch European Balance pointe shoes with an unusual trick: "I use one elastic ribbon and one normal ribbon on each shoe," she says. "I find it gives the perfect amount of elasticity."

'80s throwback: "I love scrunchies, much to the chagrin of my friends," says Boylston.

"I carry portable speakers for when I'm rehearsing on my own."

Latest Posts


Gavin Smart, Courtesy ROH

Calling All Ballet Lovers! World Ballet Day 2020 Is on October 29

While very little about this year has felt normal, we're excited to share that one of the dance community's landmark events is returning despite the pandemic. October 29 marks World Ballet Day 2020.

This year's iteration of the annual social media extravaganza features three of the world's leading companies: The Royal Ballet, The Australian Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet. Additional participating companies, which include American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, National Ballet of Canada and Boston Ballet, have just been announced. Last year's World Ballet Day was the biggest yet, reaching over 315 million social media users around the world.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Yan Revazov, Courtesy Staatsballett Berlin

How Staatsballett Berlin Pulled Off "Giselle" in the Age of Coronavirus

It's 8:24 am on a Tuesday. Even though morning class isn't for another hour and a half, Daniil Simkin is already at Staatsballett Berlin's studios; tests for the coronavirus, a biweekly requirement to dance with his partner, Iana Salenko, need to be submitted before 8:30 am—an inconvenient time, if you ask him. "It's annoying, but I'm just really grateful to be performing again," he says. "You do what you have to do."

Staatsballett Berlin has been back onstage since August. Return has been slow and steady, with dancers first performing solos or pas de deux (composed of people who already live together) in galas. On October 28, the company presented an adapted version of Patrice Bart's Giselle, its first full-length production since March. Pointe took a virtual behind-the-scenes tour to learn what goes into mounting a ballet during a pandemic, including safety precautions, adjustments to choreography, and what it feels like to be back onstage.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Ava Rikki, Courtesy Mondesire

I'll Never Forget My First Pair of Flesh-Tone Tights

I remember when I encountered the color cinnamon. Such warmth and comfort instantly saturated my soul. It was the summer of 2015, a time I will never forget, and I was trying on my first pair of flesh-tone tights. The band fit perfectly on my waist with such a calm gentleness. They were tights that looked like me—not ballet pink, the color that many were taught could be the only one in the ballet world. It was me, all the way from my head to my toes. No breaks, perfect continuity.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks