Dancers & their Ballet Bags: A Visit to Ballet Black

“Always be knolling”, says American sculptor Tom Sachs. Knolling is the art of sorting out objects in an organized way, recently made famous by such digital projects as The Burning House and Things Organized Neatly. Over here we like things neat, so we could not pass up the opportunity to try our hand at knolling with dancers’s bags on a recent visit to the HQ of one of our very favorite ballet companies, Ballet Black. Here’s the result:

Cira Robinson's bag

Senior artist Cira Robinson earned an honourable mention in Pointe Magazine’s “Favourite Performances of 2009” for her performance in Antonia Franceschi’s dance theatre piece, Pop8. She also teaches regularly at the Ballet Black Junior School. You can tell pink is Cira’s favorite color:

Cira's bag contents

  1. Arnicare
  2. Tea Towel & pastry roll – not for cooking!
  3. Rosin

Damien's bag

As the longest serving member of Ballet Black, senior artist Damien Johnson has been featured in a wide range of works by choreographers that include Irek Mukhamedov, Antonia Franceschi, Liam Scarlett, Richard Alston and Bawren Tavaziva. He created the title role of Orpheus in Will Tuckett’s 2011 production for Ballet Black. We love it that Damien had an “I heart Ballet Black” t-shirt in his bag (we wish these were available to purchase):

Damien's bag contents

  1. Gum
  2. Green leg warmers
  3. Lots of green gadgets (his fave colour!)

Kanika's bag

One of the first Company Apprentices (2010), junior artist Kanika Carr trained at the Central School of Ballet, where she worked with choreographers like Christopher Marney, Kit Holder and Christopher Bruce. Kanika’s pointes had just been shellac’d and were drying out at Ballet Black’s sunny Marylebone studio:

Kanika's bag contents

  1. Sewing kit
  2. Cool t-shirt
  3. Little packs of sugar to sweeten drinks on the go

Jazmon's bag

Senior artist Jazmon (Jazz) Voss hails from Utica, New York. Jazz received an honourable mention in Pointe Magazine’s “Favourite Performances of 2009” for his performance in Antonia Franceschi’s dance theatre piece, Pop8. Spot us below, reflected in Jazz’s very cool shades:

Jazmon's bag contents

  1. Back support
  2. Tube pass
  3. Loose change

Jacob's bag

Jacob Wye is a first year apprentice with Ballet Black. In 2012, he received the Classical Ballet Award from Central School and danced at multiple venues for the London 2012 Olympics including a solo at the Wembley Arena, choreographed by Sara Matthews and Leanne King. You can tell Jake is a techie:

Jacob's bag contents

  1. Stitch kit
  2. Recharger
  3. USB key

Joseph's bag

Born in Brazil, junior artist José (Joseph) Alves started ballet at the age of 13 at the Adalgisa Rolim Ballet School. In 2007 he joined the Bolshoi Theatre School in Brazil and graduated in 2008. This is his first season with Ballet Black. It was his birthday when we visited, so we helped him celebrate by eating a slice of his delicious cake (not pictured)!

Joseph's bag contents

  1. Spare shoes
  2. Pain relief gel
  3. Hand knitted booties

Sarah's bag

Senior artist Sarah Kundi joined Ballet Black in 2008. One year later, she earned her first Critics’ Circle National Dance Award nomination for Outstanding Classical Female Dancer for her stand-out performances in Martin Lawrance’s Pendulum and Will Tuckett’s Depouillement. We reckon the secret to Sarah’s fabulous hair is literally in the bag:

Sarah's bag contents

  1. Hair products
  2. Brolly (it’s London!)
  3. Snacks

Sayaka's bag

Sayaka Ichikawa was a member of the Ballet Black Associate Programme for several years before becoming a senior artist in 2011. Since joining the Company, Sayaka has featured in ballets by Jonathan Watkins, Henri Oguike, Martin Lawrance and Christopher Hampson. She had, by far, the biggest collection of objects to photograph, so we had to split them into 2 shots:

Sayaka's bag contents

  1. Green tea sweets
  2. Compeeds
  3. Panadol
  4. Wood lock oil for tight muscles
  5. Cute bag from Chacott
  6. Exercise ball

Ballet Black performs Chris Marney’s War Letters and works by choreographers Ludovic Ondiviela, Robert Binet and Javier de Frutos at the G-Live in Guildford, Surrey on 6 June. For booking and further information, visit Ballet Black’s website.

We started The Ballet Bag in April 2009 with the mission to prove that ballet is not stuffy, old fashioned and inaccessible; that it is quite the opposite: relevant, fresh and topical. With the aim to Give Ballet a New Spin we try to show it under a different light. When writing our capsule biographies, ballet fact cards, review roundups and commentary on social media, we cross it over with other art forms and cultural references (pop culture, cinema, rock music – ie. other things we love!).


  • May 7, 2014


    It’s to loosen muscles – for rolling on calves, thighs, etc…

  • May 3, 2014


    what is the pastry roller used for?

  • [...] Dancers & their Ballet Bags: A Visit to Ballet Black [...]