Inside Anais Bueno’s Dance Bag

April 19, 2024

When it comes to her dance bag, Anais Bueno takes a practical, no-frills approach. “I don’t really need a lot, and I’ve always carried the same things,” says the Joffrey Ballet artist. She’s relied on her LeSportsac bag since she first joined the company 11 years ago. “It’s very durable, and I like the size, too,” says Bueno, who hails from Mexico. “It’s not too big and yet I can fit most of my stuff in it. And I like that it has shorter straps—it stays up by my shoulder and doesn’t interfere with my tutu when I’m backstage.”

Another item she’s had for years: a striped Juicy Couture pouch, which she uses to store hairpins, rubber bands, and small hair clips. “It was my sister’s and I thought, Oh, this fits my hairpins so well—can I have it? And she gave it to me. I have had it for so long, probably over 10 years. I don’t see myself replacing it anytime soon.”

Anais Bueno hols a pink and brown striped make-up pouch up to her face, covering her mouth and part of her nose, and smiles cheekily. She wears a mauve long-sleeved shirt and stands in front of a ballet barre and large window.
Photo by Kristie Kahns.

The Goods

Pointe shoes: Bueno has custom-order Freed Classics (Crown maker) with a three-quarter forte flex shank. “They fit really well that I don’t have to do much to them. I just sew the ribbon and then I take the nails out of the shank,” says Bueno. She usually keeps around four pairs in her bag and rotates between them.

Pointe shoe supplies: Bueno always keeps scissors handy, as well as a large spool of Aunt Lydia’s Crochet Thread, which she buys on Amazon. “I’m kind of superstitious about my pointe shoe thread, because I know it works,” she says. “I don’t borrow anyone else’s. I would be afraid of a ribbon popping.”

Jet Glue: “I glue inside the tip and around the shank of my pointe shoe, and the area around the ball of my foot.”

An array of dance bag items are neatly arranged on a dance studio floor and shown from above. They include dance shoes, booties, 2 zip-up pouches, a roll of pink crochet thread, 3 rolls of sports tape, various massage tools, ointment, scissors, mints and snacks.
Photo by Kristie Kahns.

Staying fueled and hydrated: Her Nalgene water bottle has measurements on it to help her keep track of how much she’s drinking. (She tries to drink two bottles’ worth a day.) Bueno sometimes adds Nuun electrolyte tablets to her water, and she packs a protein bar to snack on during breaks.

Extra essentials: Cooling foot spray, lip balm, Altoids. “I always have mints in my bag for shows and rehearsals.”

TheraBand: Bueno always packs a TheraBand for supplemental exercises. She uses the looped band pictured to help strengthen her shoulders, or she’ll wear it around her thighs during bridges for extra resistance.

Red Hot Ointment: “I’ll apply this when I’m achy or have a muscle spasm. It gets really warm and helps bring blood flow to the area.”

Massage tools: For knots and fatigued muscles, Bueno carries a TriggerPoint ball and Theragun massage tool. “I love the Theragun’s size because it fits in any bag and isn’t heavy, so it’s perfect on the go when we’re running from the studio to the theater.”

Anaisa Bueno, wearing a mauve long-sleeved shit and matching ballet skirt, stands in profile and looks over her right should to snile at the camera. She carries a black bag over her right shoulder and stands in front of a glass window.
Photo by Kristie Kahns.

Sports-tape trifecta: Bueno carries three rolls of sports tape. She uses the white and tan tapes to protect her toes, and the clear tape for securing down the liner inside her pointe shoes. “I just add two strips near my heel so that the liner doesn’t roll up and bunch under my arch.”

Makeup bag: She will sometimes pack mascara, lipstick, and blush to touch up on the go.

Socks: “I prefer taking barre in socks. I really like feeling the floor, and I think my toes get warmer.” She’ll change into her Sansha ballet slippers or pointe shoes during center.