Ballet Stars

Inside Lia Cirio's Dressing Room: Why She's Never Without Her Elephant Collection

Photo Courtesy Cirio

A dancer's dressing room is often her "home away from home." In our August/September issue, we went backstage with three ballerinas, including Boston Ballet principal Lia Cirio. Below, she shows us how she personalizes her space and walks us through her pre-performance routine.


Cirio snaps a selfie at her dressing room spot.

The setup: Boston Ballet principal Lia Cirio shares her dressing room with fellow dancers Misa Kuranaga and Kathleen Breen Combes. "We all personalize our spaces," she says. "It's about making it comfortable." Cirio keeps her spot as organized as possible. "But after a full-length, it's a disaster area! Makeup, hairpins, curls everywhere—it's a mess."



Photo courtesy Cirio.

"Merde" gifts galore: Her brother, American Ballet Theatre principal Jeffrey Cirio, gave her an oversized My Little Pony before her debut in Theme and Variations. "It's pretty silly, but it puts a smile on my face," she says. The tiny ballerina box (just left of the My Little Pony) has special meaning—it was given to her by stager Florence Clerc before her debut as Nikiya in La Bayadère. "I had just been promoted to principal, and it was my first full-length," says Cirio.


Photo courtesy Cirio.

The good witch/bad witch magnets, a gift from Breen Combes, was a "merde" gift for Swan Lake ("You know, white swan, black swan?").


Photo courtesy Cirio.

Hair and makeup must-haves: TRESemmé No. 4 aerosol hairspray. "My hair is really frizzy, and it's the only thing that keeps it slick. I also only use big hairpins—the smaller ones don't work." Her favorite lipstick is MAC's Lady Danger. "It's great for Balanchine ballets." Laying a towel down helps keep her makeup and toiletries organized.


Photo courtesy Cirio.

Favorite scents: "I'm a stickler for smelling good," says Cirio. She alternates between Chanel Chance perfume (above) in spring and Le Labo's Thé Noir in winter.


Photo courtesy Cirio.

Good-luck charms: "Elephants are really good luck for me—most of these are from friends or family members over the years."


Photo courtesy Cirio.

Pre-show routine: "I don't like to be rushed," she says. Cirio usually does her hair and makeup an hour and a half before curtain so that she has time to warm up. Before she goes onstage, she says a little prayer, then checks her ribbons "incessantly" to make sure they're secure.

Pre-show music: Cirio listens to Top 40 hits to get pumped. And she can't live without her Bragi wireless headphones. "There's no cord, it's just Bluetooth, so I can do a barre and they don't fall out of my ears. They're awesome!"

Post-show routine: "I'm not one for sitting around," she says. "I'll take a shower if it's a full-length, but normally I just get out of makeup and leave the theater."

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