Inside Genevieve Penn Nabity’s Dance Bag

June 12, 2023

National Ballet of Canada principal Genevieve Penn Nabity’s dance bag is a trove of mementos. She carries an L.L. Bean Boat & Tote, given to her as an apprentice by Ballet Club Relevé, an NBoC donor group. “It’s perfect,” she says. “It stands up on its own and holds lots of pointe shoes.”

On the outside of her bag is a bracelet matching the color of her white Labradoodle, Coda. “I put it on my dance bag so that I can always have a little reminder of him while I’m at work,” Penn Nabity says.

Two other especially meaningful items came from her grandmother. “I carry a crossword book because my grandma and I like to do crosswords, and if I have time between shows or rehearsals, I’ll do one,” she says. Michigan native Penn Nabity also wears a swan necklace and loops it onto her bag before performing. “My grandma gave that to me after my first performance of Swan Lake last year.”

The Goods

Pointe shoes: “I carry four to five pairs, or more if I forget about them at the bottom of a bag. I like to rotate through them. I wear Freeds, size 5.5 Maltese Cross.”

Sewing kit: “I like to cut the shanks of my pointe shoes sometimes or Jet Glue them once they’re broken in the right position. I take out some nails, so I have a pair of pliers, an X-ACTO knife, scissors, a needle, and thread.”

Exercise bands: “I usually have a banded loop to do my glute exercises, and I have a TheraBand for my feet.”

Personal care: “I have 2nd Skin squares, 3M tape, and hair products in a bag by Love & Lore, and I have an acuBall for when I need to roll out.”

Photo by Kyle Froman.

Dancewear: “Trash-bag shorts are a must to keep the hips warm. I also love to wear Ballerina Couture leotards, so I have an extra one in my bag. That’s a brand that my fellow principal dancer and friend Tina Pereira designs. When she designs a new leotard, she names it after someone in the company, so I have the Jenna Savella. It’s one of my favorites.”

Practice skirt: “I have a Designed by Alice skirt that I’ve been using when rehearsing Romeo and Juliet. I always bring that skirt so I have something a partner can practice with.”

AirPods: “Before a show, I listen to this ‘get psyched’ mix that my mom made for me when I went away to ballet school. It has songs like ‘Don’t Stop Me Now,’ by Queen, and ‘Just Dance,’ by Lady Gaga.”

Snacks: “I’m always hungry in between rehearsals. I usually have a granola bar or piece of fruit.”

Water: “My water bottle is full of stickers that my siblings, mom, or friends have given me, or places I’ve gone. It gives me a reminder throughout the day of different things I’ve done.”