Show and Tell: Inside Zenaida Yanowsky's Dance Bag

Published in the February/March 2014 issue.

Photo by Kyle Froman

Being both a principal dancer at The Royal Ballet and a mom of two young children is enough to keep Zenaida Yanowsky pretty busy. So it’s not surprising that the most essential items in her dance bag are organizational tools. “My phone is my life,” she says. “I have at least 10 alarms set on it, to let me know that, Oh, I have to talk to the school teacher about so-and-so, or, Oh, right, that doctor’s appointment. All day I’m going ‘beep-beep-beep’!” If she misplaces her phone, plan B is her paper diary, which includes her own itinerary as well as those of her husband and kids.

Her jam-packed schedule doesn’t leave much time for shopping, which is why many of the items in her tote are gifts. “But I’m really backwards when it comes to brands,” she says, “and that can be a problem.” She was excited, for example, when a friend gave her a canvas Dean & Deluca bag—until she discovered the “name brand” was actually that of a grocery store.

The Goods
Diary, makeup bag, hairpins (“I’m notorious for showing up at rehearsal without any, and then digging through my bag like a weasel trying to find one or two”), warm-up booties (“They were actually a present from a guy friend! I have big feet, but they’re still four inches too long for me—not that that stops me from wearing them every day”), pointe shoes (“obviously, otherwise I’d be sacked”), hand wipes (“If you have kids, you always have wipes on you somewhere”), therapy ball (“Every night I read to my kids while rolling out my back with it, killing two birds with one stone”), legwarmers, mints, antacid, phone, Dean & Deluca bag, tote bag (“The green lanyard is so I don’t lose everything—it’s attached to a little cardholder with my hotel key and my dance class pass”).