This story originally appeared in the August/September 2016 issue of Pointe.
You'd be hard pressed to find a pair of ballet slippers in Noelani Pantastico's dance bag. Instead, you'll find a pair of socks—and plenty of pointe shoes. The Pacific Northwest Ballet principal, who joined the company in 1997, ditched wearing slippers for class when she took a seven-year hiatus abroad to dance with Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo in Monaco. There, it was common to wear socks for class and contemporary rehearsals. “Now, I don't like to take barre in ballet shoes," says Pantastico, who returned to PNB last November. “Socks let my feet breathe a lot more—it's a comfort thing." Funny enough, when she came back to Seattle she noticed that other PNB dancers had started wearing socks in class, too.
Once in center, Pantastico switches to pointe shoes. But before she does so, she makes sure to wrap each toe with a special brand of contractor tape called Shurtape. “I've been using this since I started dancing professionally and I cannot use anything else," she says. “When I moved to Europe, I thought 'I can't switch,' so I started bulk ordering it! It really stays put."
Photo by Lindsay Thomas for Pointe.
From left: Longchamp bag (“It was given to me years ago by one of my mentors, Darla Hoover. I like that it has a tiny pocket for my needle and thread"); protein powder (“I have more of a plant-based diet, so I supplement with protein drinks to repair muscles"); snacks; legwarmers; socks; hair spray; Voltaren cream; Hot Stuff glue for pointe shoes; deodorant; Traumeel ointment for her muscles (“It's one of the best on the market. You can't get it in the U.S., so when I go back to France I order it on German Amazon"); shaker bottle; pointe shoes; thread; hairbrush; Shurtape; various massage balls (“For different body parts"); hairpins; scissors; Thera-Band; needle and thread.