New York City Ballet principal Lauren Lovette tries hard to focus on wellness despite her busy schedule. Her Hydro Flask water bottle—a gift from colleague Indiana Woodward—is emblazoned with the words "Be Here Now," a daily reminder to stay present. Lovette also keeps two doTERRA essential oils in her bag, and starts each day with Citrus Bliss. "I put it on my wrist at barre, and smell it," she says. "It just keeps me in a positive mood." Another scent, Balance, is reserved for days when she's feeling particularly frazzled.
Ida Praetorius' dance bag is filled with hand-me-downs. The Royal Danish Ballet principal likes her warm-ups to come with a backstory. "It's what I wear all day. I never wear my normal clothes, so I like bringing the people I love with me," she says. Like most of what Praetorius carries, her striped legwarmers were handed down from a colleague in the company. "I borrowed one from a friend while in rehearsal for Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and then the next day when I went to give it back to him, he gave me the other one instead," says Praetorius. The frayed blue Repetto overalls that she wore throughout rehearsals for her recent performances at New York City's Joyce Theater are a last-minute addition to her collection. Praetorius snagged them from fellow principal Kizzy Matiakis, her dressing-room mate back in Copenhagen. "I love her wardrobe, and tend to steal from her," says Praetorius. "I just said, 'I'm going to New York!' and I grabbed a bunch of her stuff."
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."
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."
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."
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
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.
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.
Get Pointe in your inbox
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
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."
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.
You could say that Victoria Hulland is Sarasota Ballet's resident corn pad dealer. The principal dancer keeps her bag stocked with special, extra-thick pads, which she uses between her toes. “A lot of the girls come to me if they have really bad corns," she says. “You can't buy these from CVS." Since she gets them from a podiatrist back home in New York, she either stocks up when visiting or employs her father to pick up multiple packs and send them down to Florida.