Show and Tell: Inside Arionel Vargas's Dance Bag

Saints watch over English National Ballet dancer Arionel Vargas's dance bag.
Published in the October/November 2006 issue.

"I carry a knapsack because it’s easy on my shoulders,” explains Cuban-born Arionel Vargas. Trained at the National Ballet School of Cuba, the English National Ballet principal moved to London in 2004 after dancing with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet for eight seasons. On average, he carries three to four pairs of slippers in his bag. “It’s the shoes I would say I can’t be without... and a dance belt!” For good luck, Vargas carries an array of small images of Catholic saints that he places at his dressing room spot. “It has to do with the culture in Cuba where I was raised,” he says. “They bring good luck. Everyone has their own saints, so that’s why I keep the images.”

the goods

Ballet shoes, sweater and pants for warming up, Mycil powder for athlete’s foot, sunglasses, Red Bull drink, titanium magnetic necklace and ankle bracelet, deodorant, hand cream, Cartier cologne, hair gel, foot tape and an umbrella.