Inside Boston Ballet Principal Ashley Ellis' Dance Bag

March 31, 2016

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Boston Ballet principal Ashley Ellis has a crafty side. When she started making herself legwarmers a few years ago, her colleagues took notice and started asking her to make some for them, too. “I started creating a design and realized I wanted to do it more professionally,” says Ellis, who officially launched her legwarmer website,, a year and a half ago. “I have a little following now,” she says. “I post my designs on Instagram, which is mostly how I’ve gotten the word out.”

One of the perks of being a designer, of course, is that she can pack her dance bag with fun assortments of legwarmers. “I always have different options with me to wear,” she says. Ellis also keeps a collection of homemade skirts on hand, as well as an extra sweater. And while she fits all of her essentials in a Betsey Johnson shoulder bag at the studio, she’s more innovative at the theater. “I recently bought a small pink backpack to use backstage,” she says. “It’s great for when I’m wearing tutus, since it hangs a little higher.”

Photo by Liza Voll

The Goods

From top left: RubiaWear legwarmers; resistance band; Chacott stretch band (“You can put your feet in each end and do the splits—it gives a nice extra stretch”); Bloch Inc. ballet slippers; Tulips by Tracy skirt; Freed of London pointe shoes; pouch with lambswool toe pads; super glue; zip-up bag with masking tape, foot care items and sewing supplies; sewing kit; hand-painted pill box; headphones; iPhone (“I usually put on Spotify. My play­list depends on my mood—sometimes it’ll be top hits, other times classical”); extra top; tennis ball; warm-up jumper; booties; foam roller.