Nashville Ballet's Kayla Rowser Keeps an Inspirational Letter in Her Dance Bag

May 31, 2016

This story originally appeared in the June/July 2016 issue of

Nashville Ballet dancer Kayla Rowser is one organized woman—her teal Lug bag is full of compartments. “That’s why I love it,” says Rowser. “I need a pocket for every little thing so that I can easily get to the bottom of my bag during five-minute breaks.” Her sturdy duffel houses everything from a day planner to trail mix to her favorite MAC lipstick. Rowser also keeps a Moleskine journal to jot down corrections she receives throughout the day. “It’s a good way for me to check in with notes I’ve received from previous rehearsals and to see places where I can take more risks.”

Rowser usually keeps a custom leotard by S-Curve Apparel & Design or Elevé Dancewear handy, too. “Both companies have been really wonderful about offering mesh that matches my skin tone,” says Rowser, who also has her performance tights custom dyed. “I switched to tan tights two or three years ago,” she says. “I remember seeing Houston Ballet’s Lauren Anderson on the cover of Dance Magazine, and it was the first time I ever saw a dancer in tan tights.” Anderson is still a source of inspiration for Rowser. “She wrote to me the first time I danced Sugar Plum to wish me good luck,” she says, adding that she keeps a copy of that letter with her at all times.

Photo by Karyn Kipley for Pointe.

The Goods

From left: Massage roller; mesh bag with custom Suffolk Solo pointe shoes; MAC lipstick and face powder (“If we’re doing a run-through, my lipstick gives me a little extra oomph”); quilting thread for pointe shoes; Meltonian Nu-Life Color Spray for her shoes; trail mix; S’well water bottle; TriggerPoint GRID foam roller; journal; day planner; family photo; Second Skin; Ultima electrolyte powder; wintergreen Altoids; duct tape; assorted Thera-Bands (“I have really flexible shoulders, so I do a lot of scapular exercises for stability”); ballet slippers; tie-dyed pouch with foot-care and shoe supplies; Lug brand duffel bag; letter from Lauren Anderson; jazz pants; leotards; RubiaWear legwarmers.