Show and Tell: Inside Simone Messmer's Dance Bag

The contents of American Ballet Theatre corps member Simone Messmer's dance bag have sentimental value.
Published in the February/March 2008 issue.

Show and Tell: Inside Simone Messmer's Dance Bag

Courtesy of Nathan Sayers

American Ballet Theatre corps de ballet member Simone Messmer’s black dancewear doesn’t reflect the dancer’s flair for fashion. “I don’t really do the funky dancewear,” she says. “I feel it distracts when I’m working. I like to keep it simple.” Messmer is equally particular about her pointe shoes—going through three or four pairs in a day of rehearsal. “I don’t wear ribbons on my shoes in rehearsal because I go through too many pairs,” says Messmer, who receives 10 new pairs each week. “I like my pointe shoes very specific.” Messmer customizes her shoes by cutting a 3⁄4 shank herself, but she will soon start special ordering to her specifications. Her jewelry box—a gift from her sponsor at ABT—contains an earring from her very first performance (she lost the other) and merde gifts. “It’s nice to have those memories with me,” she says. “Most of the things in my bag have sentimental value.”

The Goods
Sewing kit (ribbon, black elastic, clear elastic, Band-Aids, toe tape), makeup bag (toothbrush, toothpaste, Jean Paul Gaultier Classique perfume, hair bands, mirror, nail polish, lipstick), The New Yorker, tennis ball, calf support, stretching device, Vivienne Westwood bandanas, pointe shoes, ballet slippers, unitard, black leotard, black stirrup tights, black skirt, turtleneck, plastic shorts, gray T-shirt, leg warmers, deodorant, hairbrush, glucosamine/arnica cream, Tiger Balm, gum, ibuprofen, iPod and jewelry box.