Feature Articles

What’s in your dance bag?

By Mary Callahan of Dance Informa.

Celebrity gossip magazines always include a star’s “What’s in my bag?” photo spread. But as dancers, we carry around a lot more than a designer purse, and the contents of our dance bags differ depending on a dancer’s style or particular job. Dance Informa got a hold of professional dancers from across the country to ask, “What’s in your dance bag?”

Madison Embry – Marvel Universe Live

“Artists have their paint sets, carpenters have their tools, and I have my makeup bag! I’m a firm believer that it’s worth it to invest in quality products since they’re on our skin for such long periods of time. Favorite product? Urban Decay makes a beautiful red lipstick! While I do have a passion for red lipstick, hairspray is my first true love. Anyone I work with knows that I’ve always got a bottle (or two) in my bag if they need it! I always keep toothpaste, a toothbrush and floss in my dance bag. I’ve found that brushing my teeth between shows is extremely refreshing and rejuvenating. On two and three-show days there isn’t a chance to shower, but clean teeth is a close second! The little mini bags of popcorn are my favorite snack to have in my bag. You can find the 100-calorie bags in any grocery store. They are a great pick-me-up. Not to mention, everyone loves the smell of popcorn backstage! Lastly, I have a bouncy ball! This little bouncy ball can be found at any toy store, and it’s the greatest for rolling out tight muscles. It hits all the little spots a foam roller can’t reach and easily fits in any bag. BONUS TRICK! See that tube of mascara in the makeup bag? It acts as the perfect roller for your feet, and helps relieve stress in your arches.”

Kenny Murray – Amy Marshall Dance Company

“I’m currently a Senior Dance/Business Major at Adelphi University—so I always have to keep a lot of items in my everyday dance bag. I always carry my tap shoes, LaDucas, and of course, my ballet shoes, because let’s face it, we all need some ballet in our lives. As dancers, we’re definitely athletes, so it’s important to take care of your body. In my bag, I pack a Thera-Band for stretching, a roller (mine has spikes to really dig into sore muscles) and IcyHot for those tough times where you find yourself in a lot of physical pain. And I seriously can’t live without my hairspray and brush. My hair always has to look perfect otherwise my day is completely thrown off. It’s silly, but hey, that’s me!”

Taryn Ohashi – Washington Redskins Cheerleaders

“It’s pretty obvious that my cheer bag always includes my uniform and pompons! I typically go straight from my office job to practice, so I keep a zippered pouch full of makeup and tools inside my cheer bag. I make sure to have everything necessary for a full face–lashes and rhinestone earrings included! I also keep safety pins, extra contact lenses and some ibuprofen on hand. Because runs in your tights are both inevitable and unsightly, I make sure to stash a spare pair in my cheer bag. Even if my tights make it through the night, one of my teammates’ may not! We are all about sharing and being sisterly, so having extra everything ensures a smooth practice. Our practices are long, so a snack is necessary to keep my energy levels up throughout the night. I love bananas because they are delicious, give me a little sugar spike and are dirt-cheap! I’m also constantly chugging water whenever we get a break, so I make sure to bring my reusable water bottle with me so I don’t waste 2-3 plastic ones each time we rehearse.”

Amy Ruggiero – Little Dancer at The Kennedy Center

“I am currently working as the Dance Captain/Swing on this new musical, so I always have a pair of pointe shoes, soft ballet slippers and my favorite well-loved LaDucas in my bag these days. This is also the reason for the notebook and pencils. (I wouldn’t dare write the choreography for a new production down in pen; too many minute-by-minute changes!) I am a creature of habit and cannot get going at the start of the day without a tennis ball, foot roller and theraband; they are as necessary to me as my morning coffee. To keep my feet going all day long, I love duct tape for my toes (it never budges), corn cushions (to provide pain relief for anything from blisters to bruised toenails) and Profoot Toe Pouches (cheaper than actual pointe shoe toe pads and available in the foot care section of most chain pharmacies.) To keep my hair in place all day long, I always have hairspray. My Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb rollerball perfume, a Revlon lip and Altoids are good for mid-day pick-me-ups. And at the end of the day, I give my hard-working shoes a spritz of Dr. Scholl’s Odor-X. I’m not sure how much good it works, but I figure it can’t hurt!”


Tommy Scrivens’ Dance Bag Contents

Tommy Scrivens  American Dance Machine for the 21st Century
“As a freelance dancer and teacher, my bag is filled to the brim. I always, always have my yellow beanie. I wear it everywhere and it is my favorite thing. It’s important for me to carry all of my shoes—tap, jazz, character and sneakers —for every situation and style. My toiletry bag that has everything from toothbrush to nail clippers, Aleve to Immodium, and arnica to allergy medicine. When you are on the go you have to be ready for anything. I bring along my laptop and chargers because I’m always editing music, learning new material and playing Pet Rescue Saga to pass the time on my subway commutes. Lastly, I pack Jelly Belly candy because I have to reward myself with some sort of sweet treat amidst all my running around. What can I say? Candy keeps me moving!” 

Jessica Lane Yammanee – Jubilee! at Bally’s Las Vegas

“I’m lucky that most of what I need for my show is already in my change room, so my dance dag is a combination of my everyday handbag and dance/performance gear. Needless to say, I still have so much stuff in here, from my makeup case, to Yogi energy tea, device charger and my iPad for reading or watching videos between shows. Living in Vegas means I live in sunscreen, and what dancer doesn’t have a piece of fruit and spare pair of socks in their bag? I’ve always got a purse filled with everyday necessities, and the pièce de résistance: Sombra natural pain relieving gel. There is one item in my bag that I just cannot function without, and I’m sure you all think it is my iPhone, right…? Nope, my Lucas’ Pawpaw ointment goes with me everywhere.”

Photo (top): Dreamstime.com

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top