This story originally appeared in the February/March 2015 issue of Pointe.
Bolshoi Ballet leading soloist Olga Smirnova has performed the world over, and nowhere is it more apparent than inside her dance bag. First, there's the huge bag itself, a souvenir from the annual Dance Open Festival in St. Petersburg. And she picked up her red T-shirt when Jean-Christophe Maillot came from Monte Carlo to create The Taming of the Shrew on the Bolshoi. “Wherever I go, I take my foam roller and a mat to sit on for when I warm up," says Smirnova. For the company's New York performances of Swan Lake last summer, she made sure to bring her swan-themed mat to match.
But her most prized possession? Her Japanese muscle spray. “In case you pull something," she says. “It warms your muscles." Smirnova stocks up on six or seven bottles every time she tours to Japan, sometimes even fulfilling requests from dancer friends back home. “No ballerina can live without it."
Dance Open Festival souvenir bag, warm-up mat, ballet slippers, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes (“I usually have three pairs: one for jumping, one for center, one that's extra-soft"), towel, foam roller, Thera-Band, spiked massage roller (“I use it before class to massage my muscles, especially when I have a lot of work that day"), smartphone with headphones (“I like American, French and Russian music. Chopin sometimes. But no Tchaikovsky!"), pointe shoe supply kit (“the usual stuff—Band-Aids, scissors"), vitamin C tablets, Japanese muscle spray.