Erina Takahashi, a principal at English National Ballet, totes a mesh Capezio bag, “because it’s light.” It’s a good thing, because her pointe shoe preparation ritual requires a range of tools (see list below). Takahashi is an avid reader in both English and Japanese and can’t be without a book in her bag. On this day, she was reading Hokkaido Highway Blues: Hitchhiking Japan, by Will Ferguson. In her dressing room at the theater, she always arranges several items with special meaning for her for good luck, such as a lapis stone and charm, photos of her parents and her brother’s child, and, most importantly, a “teddy toy” that she’s had since she was a kid. “I always, always put it up at the theater,” she says.
Book, two to four pairs of pointe shoes, makeup bag, Isotar tablets (a sports drink mix to add to water), legwarmers, scissors, shoe scraper, three types of tape for her pointe shoes, hairbrush, Stanley knife (similar to an X-acto knife) for cutting down the shanks of her pointe shoes, ribbon, needle and thread, lotion, a train timetable, her ENB schedule for the week, umbrella (“Obviously, for London!”) and a fan (“I was rehearsing Don Q last week for a triple bill, and it’s still in my bag!”).