Inside Asuka Sasaki’s Dance Bag

May 6, 2022

Colorado Ballet principal Asuka Sasaki has conquered a range of ballets, from Firebird to The Wizard of Oz and beyond. But she recently added a new role to her repertoire: mother. Sasaki gave birth to her daughter, Emika, in October 2021. “If I have time, I’m always staring at her photo on my phone,” she says. “It gives me more energy, and it makes me feel calm and happy.”

The back of Sasaki’s phone holds another memento: “I have a pendant from Paris that my sister gave me,” she says. “This is good luck for me. I can’t really wear it on a necklace, so I put it here. I’ve had it for almost 15 years.”

Sasaki's daughter is wearing a cream-colored hoodie with bear-styled ears, and pajama pants. She is smiling and holding an elephant stuffie. Her photo is on a smartphone placed atop floral-print diapers and a pink pacifier.
Photo by Jamie Kraus
Sasaki is holding a small golden pendant encased in plastic, on a blue card with French writing. Sasaki's hands are over her ankles, and her pointe-shoe ribbons are visible.
Photo by Jamie Kraus
Dance bag and its contents (described in the story).
Photo by Jamie Kraus

The Goods

Bag: “My physical therapist told me to switch to a backpack to become more even in my body. This one is by Marc Jacobs. I’ve been using it for almost 10 years. It’s really strong and I love it.”

Shoes: “I wear Grishko Maya I. I always put leather on the toe, with glue. It’s like my lifesaver, so I don’t slip onstage. It also makes turning more comfortable and keeps the fabric from ripping, so the shoes last longer.”

Must-have accessories: “Tape. My toenails just fall off, so I have to tape them! [I also carry] my warm-ups.”

Staying camera-ready: “I always have my makeup case in my bag for impromptu photos and filming.”

Maintaining energy: “I make sure to have Skratch Labs hydration powder to put in water. I drink it before rehearsal and after, for recovery.”

Muscle relief: “I have a massage tool. After rehearsal, I use it on my calves and thighs.”

Most unique items: “Probably diapers! I also have a really cute, pink stuffed-animal keychain. My husband got it for me and I put it on my bag. It’s kind of like a good-luck charm.”