Ballet Stars

Why Multiple Shades of Lipstick Are a Must in Venus Villa's Dance Bag

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.


Villa grew up between Cuba and Italy and danced with companies in London, Rome and Vienna before joining TWB. Her camouflage-patterned dance bag is a souvenir from her travels; it was a gift from a gala that she performed at in Puglia, Italy. Every pocket of the roomy duffel holds a few black hair bands, which always make Villa think of her 4-year-old daughter, also named Venus—she uses them to put up her hair as well.

Kyle Froman

The Goods
Clockwise from top left: Camouflage dance bag, socks, ballet slippers, green pouch for hair accessories, black flowered bag to hold pointe shoe prep kit ("It was a present from a friend at TWB"), foot roller, scissors, dental floss for sewing pointe shoes, 2nd Skin Gel Squares for feet, Hypafix Tape for toes, assorted lipsticks, Airborne, oral pain reliever ("I apply it to my toenails when I have pain. It's an anesthetic"), Zim's Max Freeze Muscle & Joint Pain Relief Roll-On Formula, hair bands, Gaynor Minden custom pointe shoes with elastic ribbons ("I had really bad Achilles tendonitis, but once I started using elastic ribbons the pain went away. And they're great for quick changes!"), phone charger, iPhone, head- phones, Michael Kors down warm-up jacket, Sansha overall warm-ups.

The Conversation
Ballet Stars
Réjean Brandt Photography, Courtesy Royal Winnipeg Ballet

After growing up in Florida, how did you adjust to the climate when you moved to Winnipeg, Canada?

It was shocking. The winter is brutal! Now I know what to expect, but it's still a bit of a shock. I think the first day of snow was September 26th.

Do you have a go-to anecdote about company life?

Once we were on tour in Arkansas for Nutcracker. We got to the finale, and the music cut out. There was a womp-womp moment, the curtain came down, and we had to restart from the top of the coda. But the audience was excited they saw it twice—they felt like they got double their money!

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The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

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