Nine Dance Bag Essentials

From the obvious (all the pointe shoes!) to the odd (what’s guarana?), these professional dancers (who happen to be competition alumni) tell us what they can’t leave out of their dance bags.

Shoes! (Obviously)

‘It may sound obvious but pointe shoes are key – several pairs of comfortable, broken in shoes. I hate dancing in new shoes so I spend time weeks before lining up ones that are ‘show ready!’ Rosin, is also one of my essentials, not to stop me from slipping on the floor, but to make sure my shoes are securely on my feet. Once I have my tights on I rub my heels in crushed rosin to ensure the shoe doesn’t slip off.’ – Elizabeth Harrod, Soloist with The Royal Ballet (Finalist, 2003)

Energy bars

‘Energy bars, snacks, fruit. A variation of shoes in case you suddenly decide you hate the ones you’re wearing!’ – Alex Wong, Dancer, singer and actor (Bronze and Audience Choice Award, 2003)


‘Guarana (it helps with stamina and alertness), iPod for motivational music, and plenty of water’ – Valentino Zucchetti, First Soloist with The Royal Ballet (Gold, 2006)

Inner confidence

‘Your favourite leotard, pointe shoes, hairspray and inner confidence!’ – Lana Jones, Principal Dancer with The Australian Ballet (Silver, 1999)

As many shoes as possible

‘I always bring as many pointe shoes as possible! Same with tights; I bring as many spare pairs as possible in case of ladders and rips and in case someone else might be in need. My massage balls are essential for tight muscle release after long rehearsal hours, and my resistance bands for all my ankle, hip and abdominal strengthening and warm-up exercises. A notebook is great to carry around to an event like this too, to jot down all the pearls of wisdom you’ll learn throughout the week.’ – Isabelle Brouwers, First Artist with English National Ballet (Silver, 2013)

Nutri grain cereal

‘It probably sounds strange, and it’s not what I do these days, but I remember always taking some Nutri Grain cereal with me to competitions overseas! I liked the sugary hit and the consistency of having the same breakfast. Other essentials for dancers today: a Theraband, foot roller, water, banana or some sort of healthy snack, headphones, music to relax with, and Vaseline so your lips don’t get stuck to your teeth when you’re nervous and trying to smile!’ – Amber Scott, Principal Dancer with The Australian Ballet (Bronze, 1999)

Toe tape

‘My dance bag essentials are pointe shoes that range from soft, medium, and hard, which I alternate throughout my day from ballet class to rehearsals. I also always have toe tape, scissors, toe pads, a foot roller, leg warmers and water.’ – Céline Gittens, Principal Dancer with Birmingham Royal Ballet (Gold and Audience Choice Award, 2005)

Foot roller

‘I always carry around my pointe shoes and spares, of course, a ballet skirt, foot roller and a golf ball for rolling out, water, spare hairpins, a sewing kit, stretchy band, tape for toes, leg warmers and warm-ups to keep muscles warm between rehearsals.’ – Tierney Heap, Soloist with The Royal Ballet (Bronze, 2010)


‘WATER – BANANA – SPARE SHOES – TOWEL – POSITIVITY’ – Steven McRae, Principal Dancer with The Royal Ballet (Gold, 2002)