Ballet Stars
Kyle Froman

Houston Ballet principal Chun Wai Chan's dance bag doubles as a portable dressing room. "We sweat a lot in class and rehearsal, so I always have a few different shirts with me," he says. When looking for dancewear, Chan focuses on items that are comfortable and will stand up to lots of wear, mostly in dark colors, like black, blue and gray. In a mix of dance and athletic brands, his navy Prada belt stands out. "My mom got bedding from Prada, and this was used to tie up the box, so I turned it into a belt to keep my tights up." says Chan. "People in the company think it's so funny."

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Ballet Stars
National Ballet of Canada's Heather Ogden. Karolina Kuras.

After 20 years with the National Ballet of Canada, principal Heather Ogden has her dance bag essentials down to a science. "My bag is usually pretty heavy," she says. "I always like to be prepared." And as a mother of two, organization is key. Ogden keeps her Lululemon bag in order by storing like items in small pouches. "When you need something, you don't want to take forever," she says. "I like to be able to see everything easily."

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Ballet Stars
Quinn Wharton

The Joffrey Ballet's Jeraldine Mendoza is a minimalist. This is evident from her well-organized sewing kit to her slim Goyard wallet, which she bought in Paris while on tour with the company last summer. "I never carry cash; all that's in there is my ID and my credit cards," she says. She keeps her wallet, phone and keys in her red Kenzo bucket bag, and her pointe shoes and other dancewear and accessories in her Baggu duffel. "I like things in order," she says. "Knowing where everything is is a priority for me."

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Ballet Stars
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo's Albert Pretto. Items from left: Victoria's Secret bag, practice skirt ("I got this at a boutique in SoHo"), Deuserband resistance band, AlbyPretty biketard, hand-knit legwarmers, AlbyPretty t-shirt and skirt, Ballet Maniacs bag ("It has pockets on the side for pointe shoes and it's big enough for practice tutus"). Photo by Quinn Wharton for Pointe.

Alberto Pretto, a dancer with the all-male comedy troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, keeps his two dance bags stuffed with extra practice clothes, tutus and props. "I'm a total bag lady," he says. While rehearsing as his Trocks alter ego, Nina Immobilashvili, it's crucial for Pretto to get into the character's mind-set by wearing the right-length tutu for Giselle or practicing with his Esmeralda tambourine. "It's important with partnering to feel the same way that you would in a costume," he says. Switching his clothes during the day also leaves Pretto feeling refreshed, and it gives him a chance to model his newest creations for his dancewear line, AlbyPretty. "Sometimes it's good to bring a little color into the studio."

Pro Pointe Shoe Hacks From The Trocks' Alberto Pretto youtu.be

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Ballet Stars
Kyle Froman for Pointe

Not only is Daphne Lee a member of Dance Theatre of Harlem and a graduate student, but she's also a pageant queen who just finished her reign as Miss Black USA. Lee became involved in pageants to win scholarship money for school and promote cancer awareness. She's currently getting her MFA in dance at Hollins University through a low-residency program. "I'm always carrying a book," says Lee. She's also sure to keep her student ID with her. It works internationally, which can be helpful in getting student discounts on tour. Balancing her busy schedule isn't easy. That's why the most important item in Lee's dance bag is her planner. "I keep everything in here," she says.

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Ballet Stars
Kyle Froman for Pointe.

Doing the same show eight times a week isn't easy. But New York City Ballet soloist Brittany Pollack, currently playing the dance-heavy role of Louise in Carousel on Broadway, keeps her dance bag stocked with ways to get through. She always takes one chewable B-12 vitamin before the show and one during intermission for an added burst of energy. "They taste like Starbursts," she says. She also carries a banana and Luna bar for a pre-performance snack, and applies Love's Baby Soft body spray throughout the show to feel refreshed. "I've worn this since I was a little girl," she says. "My mom still wears it too."

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Ballet Stars
Kyle Froman

When it comes to studio attire, The Washington Ballet's Venus Villa loves to have choices. While at home in Washington, DC, her bag usually overflows with skirts and warm-ups in all different colors. "I am more girly than sporty," she says of her style. She's also never without multiple lipsticks, and she selects the right shade to match her leotard each day. On tour in New York City for a Guggenheim Works & Process showing, Villa pared the contents of her dance bag down to the essentials: only one skirt, but still three lipsticks.

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Ballet Stars
Sasha De Sola wearing a orange shawl. "It's a hand-me-down from my good friend Madison Keesler," she says. "It's so warm and comfortable!" Photo by Quinn Wharton for Pointe.

Among the pointe shoes and fitness tools, San Francisco Ballet principal Sasha De Sola's dance bag is home to mementos from past travels. While on tour to Washington, DC, during her first year with the company, a fellow SFB dancer bought De Sola a patch from Florida, her home state. "I've been carrying it in my bag for 10 years. It has good memories and a little home-state pride," says De Sola. Her travel mug comes from a trip she took to Walt Disney World with friends after the season ended one year. "It brings me a little bit of happiness," she says.


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Ballet Stars
Photo by Kyle Froman for Pointe.

Much of what Ballet West soloist Katlyn Addison carries around in her (two) dance bags has been repurposed. She wraps her toes in black hockey tape which her brother, a National Hockey League player in their home country of Canada, ships to her, and she keeps her bobby pins in an old glass salsa jar. "I like to reuse things," says Addison. She totes everything around in shopping bags (one for pointe shoes and sewing tools, one for everything else) from the clothing store Free People.

Pro Pointe Shoe Hacks From Ballet West's Katlyn Addison www.youtube.com

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Ballet Stars
Photo by Kyle Froman

Peek inside Devon Teuscher's pointe shoes and you'll see a discreetly placed number. "I want to see how many shoes I go through in a year," says the American Ballet Theatre principal. "Last year it was close to 200 pairs." Teuscher keeps a Sharpie handy for this season's count in a small pouch containing other shoe accessories like ribbons and elastics. It's one of a handful of carefully organized pouches stored in her red mesh bag. "I'm definitely not a pack rat," she says of her no-frills style. Teuscher's bag came from Ascot + Hart, a California boutique that her sister introduced her to. "I love that it's breathable and lightweight and it can pack quite a bit. It's also easy to wash."

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Ballet Stars
Photo by Kyle Froman for Pointe

Spanish ballerina Lucia Lacarra left Bavarian State Ballet, her company of 14 years, in 2016 for life as an international guest artist, accompanied by her husband and fellow dancer, Marlon Dino. As an artist on the move, she packs her roomy dance bag with only the bare necessities. When she's home in Germany, however, the rest of the space is reserved for supplies for her 2-year-old daughter, Laia. Along with snacks, a changing bag, water, a pacifier and baby wipes, Laia requires her favorite toy lamb named Baa Baa.

In New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix gala, Lacarra pared her dance bag back down to the essentials. "As you mature as an artist you learn what you need to carry and how to limit yourself," she says. When she was younger, Lacarra would tote multiple brands of the same product, but now she knows exactly what she likes. Some items even pull double duty: Tan tape protects blisters and secures her wedding ring, which Lacarra wears when she performs.

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Show and Tell

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."

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