The Chaos within…my dance bag

One feature that I sometimes like from ‘Dance Magazine’ is the ‘inside the dancer’s bag’ scoop on what shoes, products, etc. professional dancers carry around with them. So I thought I’d expose mine. Enjoy looking at my junk. (Obviously, like most things from me, half of what I say is to be taken with a grain of salt)

My bag if magic tricks:

1.My blood sugar meter kit- with test strips, meter, and finger-pricker thing (I don’t know if it has an actual name or not) Also looks a lot like a game or cell phone to pretend-play with if someone is trying to talk to you and you want to look busy. Conversation avoided!

2. My insulin pen- it’s pretty handy, it stores a few days worth of insulin, and the ‘cap’ comes off to expose a needle that screws on that I can replace with other little needles after about three shots. There is a dial at the bottom that I twist to the number of units I want to give myself, inject the needle, then press the dial until it hits zero. Also a potential weapon should anyone steal the parts I want.

3. Neosporin- or the knock-off brand. I always seem to have cuts on my feet so I’m constantly slathering myself with this stuff. I should invest- I’m probably finding the empire. It also makes a nice lube.

4. IBprofen- again, the knock off brand. It’s the same active ingredient. Since I am so dependent on medication, I don’t like taking pills when I can avoid it. If I have a headache, I suggest getting peppermint extract (you can get in at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods) and putting a dab on your temples, drinking water, or using your thumb and pointer finger to squeeze the pressure point on your hand in the ‘y’ spot between the thumb and pointer on your opposite hand. If that doesn’t work, or if you have inflammation or joint pain, ibprofen is a lifesaver. But don’t take more than 9 a day. You’ll get ulcers. And go in debt. But of course, I just use the bottle as a cover for my stash of laxatives and vicodin.

5. Mints- dancers are usually up in each other’s faces so mints are a good thing to have. I like these for a few reasons: altoids are strong and peppermint is a natural way to settle stomach pain (as well as lower stress and aid digestion). These particular mints were a gift from my fellow company member, the lovely katie Gibbens. I keep the note she wrote in there, which says ‘present yourself as if you are a gift’- which puts a little smile on my face every time I open the box. Also good to offer pointedly to people and make them self-conscious. “whew….mint?”

6. Gum- backup to mints. Not to be chewed during rehearsal or class. Unless you want to either be kicked out for rudeness or your greatest ambition is a ‘death by fresh-breath’.

7. Burt’s bees lip balm- While attending Interlochen Arts Academy- which is in the northern part of Michigan- I developed a serious fear of chapped lips. I love this stuff- it’s functional and I like the minty flavor and tingling feeling it provides. It’s a nice pick-me-up.  Very handy should I ever play Juliet and have to kiss onstage -or if the mood strikes me in rehearsal.

8. Sephora roll-on perfume: This little thing came with a bunch of scents in sampler size and you can refill the container. I think the roller makes it easier to control how much you put on which is good because there’s not much worse than being in a hot sticky studio with someone who has a strong dose of a perfume that they may love- but you think smells like an old lady. At the moment, I have Marc Jacobs ‘Lola’ in there. I use it in place of deodorant and let me tell you, my armpits smell delicious.

9. Pointe shoes and toe pads- Those are Grishko Elite’s, size 4 (I have little feet). They are also dead-as-a-doornail (shoes that are too mushy or broken-in are called ‘dead’), and covered in calamine lotion from my last show. They cost about 75 bucks a pair, so I have coated them in super-glue in the mushy spots a few times, but really, it’s time to get new ones. Please notice my amazing sewing job with red cherry-flavored dental floss. (who flosses with fruit flavored floss? that seems counter-intuitive to me) Also, the badly frayed ribbons. I am not very handy with a lighter, which you SHOULD use on the ends to keep them from looking like this. What can I say? I’ve only being doing pointe for …..sixteen years. I’ll learn eventually. Also notice the giant blood spot on the inside. The toe pads are those jelly-ish ones with a fabric cover so they slide easily into the shoe. They also double well as ‘pasties’ for those pesky dresses and tops that are hard to wear a bra with.

10. Ballet shoes- canvas sansha brand, split sole. I lazily never sewed the straps all the way, and just wind them around the bottom of the shoe and tie that in a knot. These also, are ready for retirement with those holes in the toes. I don’t even like open-toed sandals. But maybe I’ll hold on to them; they are the perfect costume option for the new ‘homeless people ballet’ that I’m choreographing.

11. Leg warmers- I don’t even remember how old I was when I got these. They’re short, and only really good for warming up your feet, ankles, and calves. Unless you’re a midget from the eighties, and then they’re just right.

12. Sunglasses- I have a pretty long car drive to and from the studio. And I need them for those days when I show up hung over.

13. Phone- useful for calling fellow company member Caitlin when I’m running late or when they close the only way I know how to get to the studio and I need directions. Also good for taking pictures of my cat and then forcing everyone to look at them.

14. CDs- I am behind the times, and though I do have an ipod now I dont know how to hook it up in my car. Plus, I like making mix cd’s. And then making ridiculous cases for them. This one picture features a ‘Get Fuzzy’ cartoon (my favorite, besides Calvin and Hobbes) that my best friend Katie/Laura Flavin sent to me. I also have a strange love for books on tape, especially ones read by David Sedaris. This is the  newest book, but I strongly recommend everyone listen to ‘Holidays on Ice’ on tape for his rendition of ‘Away in a Manger’ Billie Holiday style. And on this, I’m not joking.

15. Speeding ticket that I have yet to take care of. I’m sorry but it’s hard NOT to go 80 on the highway. Everyone does it, I was just the unlucky one that day that got caught. I totally know how Lindsay Lohan feels.

16. Water bottle- ok, it’s actually a vitamin water bottle which is good if you need electrolytes. It’s actually  not a good idea to reuse plastic bottles but this bottle makes the gross tap water smell fruity. And it’s not like they’ve invented reusable bottles yet.

17. Clementine- I always have a snack with me in case my blood sugar goes low. These are delicious, easy-to-peel, and because liquid raises blood sugar more quickly than solid food, a juicy fruit is a good option for me when I need something quick. PLus it makes my hands smell like I just played patticake with Mr. Clean.

18. Chillis coupon- Ok, I don’t know why I have this. Someone needs to clean their dancebag more frequently. Oh, I remember, this was from that time back in november when the company and I went to eat there and I told the waitress that the food was disgusting and we all got these $5 coupons. I guess I’m keeping it as a souvenir of a time when I was bold enough to express my true opinion, since it’s such a rare happening in my life.

19. Exacto-knife- this is an art tool,  but I use it cut the shank of my pointe shoes. It makes the shoe bend and conform more easily to my arch. Also, I can cut a b*tch

20. Book- I usually have some paperback novel with me in case I’m not immediately needed in rehearsal or to read on breaks. This one, ‘The Little Prince’, is one of my favorites. I can’t and won’t even make a joke about that. Some things are sacred.

21. Keys- I have a big key chain with a mini-painting done by my Grandfather, Herbert Ruhlin- it is a small ‘Brooklyn study’ on a big @ss piece of wood because that makes it easier to find my keys in my bag. I also have those swipe cards for: Borders, Panera, dunae and reade (a convenience store in NY), Ailey studios, and Steps on Broadway (studios in NY). They are really helpful things to have, being that I live a million miles away in St. Louis.

22. Wallet- it holds the insurance card and licence for when I’m pulled over. Also, gas money. And a huge I.O.U. from the universe. I’m expecting to be paid in full any day now.

23. Headband- good for holding back bangs that are growing out. And since being a professional ballerina isn’t enough of a little girl’s dream, I like to dress like one too.

7 thoughts on “The Chaos within…my dance bag

  1. Love love love. Cute bag too – you never said where it’s from! I remember someone stopped me once on Millikin’s campus and asked why so many people were trying to make a fashion statement with the ballet tights… and I said it’s because we all had class at 8am and didn’t have time to change! If I make it out to STL this summer I am definitely coming to visit you!

  2. “They also double well as ‘pasties’ for those pesky dresses and tops that are hard to wear a bra with.”

    “PLus it makes my hands smell like I just played patticake with Mr. Clean.”

    “Also good for taking pictures of my cat and then forcing everyone to look at them.”

    You crack me up. 🙂

  3. Neosporin makes a good lube? Does it also kill STIs? Ibuprofen is the active ingredient, Silly. I knew a dancer that swore by vicks vapor rub. She put it on everything: her temples, her toenails, her blisters…i think she was trying to get high off the vapors.

  4. Does the cherry-flavored dental floss sewing help counter-act the smell of sweat and pointe-shoe glue? God I don’t miss that smell!

  5. “They are really helpful things to have, being that I live a million miles away in St. Louis.” …and that Borders is now out of business.

    And, I can’t tell you how many past-due invoices I have sent to the universe without any response!

    Love you!

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