Profiles

Six Ballerinas Share the Quirkiest Item in Their Dance Bag

Getty Images

Dancers are famously resourceful and particular when it comes to the products that they keep around to get them through the day. And we all know where those items live: the dance bag. While most dance bags are filled with basics like leotards, pointe shoes, Therabands and granola bars, we rounded up some of the quirkier items that dancers carry with them to provide comfort, inspiration and organization.

These snippets come from longer stories on the contents of each ballerina's dance bag—click on each dancer's name for more.


Howard with Christopher Gerty in Balanchine's "The Four Temperaments," Photo by Edwin Luk, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada

Tanya Howard

This National Ballet of Canada first soloist keeps a hand-carved wooden ballerina with her that her husband made in his high school woodworking class. After they married, Howard added her own little touch—a little rhinestone stuck onto the figurine's finger to mimic a ring. "They had to pick characters out of a book, and he chose the ballerina," she says. "It was so serendipitous! When I see this, I think about how that was years before we even met."


Jordan-Elizabeth Long

Miami City Ballet soloist Jordan-Elizabeth Long spent years dancing in Europe before settling in Florida. One of her holdovers from her time abroad is a red and white polka-dot wine bottle holder with multiple compartments that she uses to organize her pointe shoes. Now that's inventive!


Kayla Rowser

When Nashville Ballet dancer Kayla Rowser danced the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker for the first time, her mentor, former Houston Ballet principal Lauren Anderson, sent her a letter to wish her good luck. Rowser keeps a copy of that letter in her bag at all times as an inspirational reminder.


Webb and Ian Casady in "Swan Lake," Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy of Houston Ballet

Sara Webb

Sentimental totems can help many dancers put aside their fears when things get tough. For Houston Ballet principal Sara Webb, that's a colorful wooden block made by artist Kelly Rae Roberts. Given to her by a friend, it reads "Kindness Changes Everything." "The dance world can be kind of tough," says Webb. "Sometimes we get a little selfish in our profession, so it's a reminder to be humble."


Marianela Núñez

Royal Ballet principal Marianela Núñez keeps it classy: She's never without a bottle of Coco Chanel perfume. "You always have to have perfume with you!" she says. Not only does a bottle live in her dance bag, she keeps one in her handbag as well.


Victoria Hulland

Sarasota Ballet artistic director Iain Webb brings principal dancer Victoria Hulland her favorite candy, Percy Pig gummies, back from his trips home to the UK. After enjoying the sweets, Hulland repurposed the pig-shaped tin as a hairpin holder, now a smiling staple in her dance bag.

Instagram

Are you a total bunhead who loves to write? You might be the perfect fit for Pointe. We're seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about ballet and journalism.

Keep reading...
News
Manuel Legris at the Vienna State Opera. Michael Phon, Courtesy La Scala Ballet.

Former Paris Opéra Ballet etoile Manuel Legris has just been appointed artistic director of La Scala Ballet in Milan. Legris, who has directed the Vienna State Opera Ballet since 2010, posted on his Instagram page that he will assume his new position in December 2020. He replaces outgoing director Frédéric Olivieri. According to French news sites, Olivieri, who has led La Scala Ballet School since 2006, will continue to serve as the academy's director.

Keep reading...
News
Aran Bell and Catherine Hurlin in Of Love and Rage. Erin Baiano, Courtesy American Ballet Theatre.

This spring, American Ballet Theatre unveils Of Love and Rage, a new evening-length work based on an unlikely source: a tale of love and adventure written in the first century AD. We're all aware of Greek mythology, of the tragedies and of the Greek philosophers. But it is much less widely known that a writer by the name of Chariton penned what is likely the first romantic novel in Western literature, or at least the oldest that has survived: Callirhoe.

Keep reading...
Viral Videos

Earlier this month, 15-year-old American dancer Ava Arbuckle was one of eight scholarship winners at the Prix de Lausanne. For her classical selection, Arbukle, clad in an ultra-feminine, rosette-covered tutu, performed Flora's variation from The Awakening of Flora, Marius Petipa's 1894 one-act ballet about the Greek goddess of Spring. Back in 2007, historian and choreographer Sergei Vikharev reconstructed the work for the Mariinsky Ballet, with Evgenia Obraztsova, then a soloist at the Mariinsky and now principal at the Bolshoi Ballet, originating the titular Flora.

Keep reading...