What’s in my dance bag?—Elizabeth Dugas of The Metropolitan Opera

Lincoln Center is one of the most spectacular stages in New York City.  But ballerinas and modern dance companies aren’t the only ones who get to grace the stages of Lincoln Center.  The Metropolitan Opera also employs many dancers—of all styles—for their famous productions every season. Jo+Jax got to speak with Elizabeth Dugas, a dancer performing in her fifth season with the Met.  Dugas is currently kicking up her heels in Susan Stroman’s production of The Merry Widow.

“I’ve been dancing at the Met for five seasons now in operas requiring various forms of dance—from ballet/contemporary to musical theatre,” says Dugas.  “I remember during my second season a fellow dancer mentioning that Susan Stroman was going to be directing and choreographing The Merry Widow the following season and I just knew I had to book that job. Being a tall, leggy dancer in this industry, becoming a “Stro girl” is definitely a dream and since that first round of The Merry Widow (at the Met 3 years ago) I have been fortunate enough to work on three of her fabulous productions. I’m so happy to be revisiting The Merry Widow this season with Susan, her phenomenal creative team, and the crazy talented performers I get to share the stage with.”

Dugas spends her days hopping from ballet class to rehearsal to a last-minute audition and finally to perform at the opera!  How does she keep it all together? Well, here’s a look at her dance bag:

All the shoes! The most important content of my dance bag is my shoes. I have ballet slippers for daily class, broken in LaDuca heels for rehearsal, and tap shoes…just in case! You can never be too prepared (and dancing without the right shoe is like trying to canoe without a paddle!)

Change of clothes Sometimes morning class gets you a little sweatier than you intended. I always pack an extra leotard for a fresh rehearsal outfit…I mean, no one likes a sweaty, stinky partner (also, note the deodorant!).

Headshot and resume The life of a freelance performer means last minute castings and callbacks all the time! I always carry a headshot and resume (or a few!) in my dance bag just in case I get one of these last minute calls.

Snacks Fuel, fuel, fuel! I can’t emphasize enough the importance of snacks in my bag. Being a dancer is a demanding profession both physically and mentally and that is made 10x more challenging when you’re dehydrated and hangry!

Planner I’m so old-fashioned when it comes to this, but I still live by my paper planner. If I write it down, I remember it! (And I also never have to worry about my technology dying and then losing my schedule!)

First aid kit I typically carry “no-slip” pads, Neosporin, band-aids, and new-skin. Blisters are common—especially when breaking in new show shoes—and I take all the necessary precautions to keep my feet blister-free (because—let’s be honest—there is no worse pain than dancing with badly blistered feet!).

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