by Emma Love Suddarth
Laptop… billfold… Ziploc bag of toiletries… socks… binder… normal Tuesday. Pointe shoes? Foot thongs? Tennis ball? I always wonder what the TSA security officers think when they watch our dance bags go through the x-ray scanners at the airport. Whenever PNB travels on tour, I’m careful to triple check that all those “necessities” we dancers just can’t be without make it into my carry-on—you know, just in case. Sometimes it seems that my carry-on somehow ends up heavier than my actual suitcase. On a normal day in the Seattle studios though, what’s in there?
Naturally, I have the number one ballet-company-related necessity: pointe shoes. Seeing as we are currently performing—meaning traveling back and forth from studio to theater—I have far more pairs in my bag than I should. Another example of the just-in-case. Of course, those pointe shoes come with the necessary accessories, such as toe pads, spacers, toe tape, and a sewing kit, ready for the next pair to enter circulation. A single pair of flat shoes is in there as well, to use for class and the occasional rehearsal. A pair of foot thongs has kept up residence in my bag as well, perhaps for far longer than they should. I used them for Petite Mort a couple seasons back. Nostalgically I find them hard to part with—I treasured dancing that ballet, a favorite, with my husband, another favorite. They might stick around a little longer.
Next, a dancer always seems to have a number of therapy-related items. We require so much of our bodies on a daily basis that the least we can do in response is care for them as best we can. In my arsenal I keep anti-inflammatory gel, Advil, a theraband, a couple of different-sized balls for rolling, and, a trusty pet store tennis ball. I find it comforting to be reminded of our two rambunctious dogs at home every time I pull that one out.
Lastly, there’s always a handful of warmups every dancer relies on. From my bag I pull a pair of well-loved legwarmers, a cozy turtleneck (the theater is always colder so it’s long-sleeves for now), my favorite—not to mention super thick—socks that just happen to be covered in sock monkeys, and a pair of bright orange sweatpants. Ask anyone at PNB and you’ll receive the same answer, “Emma does not wear bright colors.” It’s true; I’m a gray and blue kind of girl. However, I absolutely love my bright orange sweatpants. Maybe it’s related to the fact that Price—my husband—has always loved orange, or maybe they’re just great pants. Maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to doing pliés in those guys on a Monday morning—somehow they go just a little bit better.
Contributor Emma Love Suddarth is from Wichita, Kansas. She studied with Sharon Rogers and on scholarship at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and attended summer courses at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Ballet Academy East, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. She was first recipient of the Flemming Halby Exchange with the Royal Danish Ballet School and was also a 2004 and 2005 recipient of a Kansas Cultural Trust Grant. She joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 2008 and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2009.
While at PNB, she has performed featured roles in works by George Balanchine, Peter Boal, David Dawson, Ulysses Dove, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Mark Morris, Margaret Mullin, Crystal Pite, Alexei Ratmansky, Kent Stowell, Susan Stroman, and Price Suddarth. Some of her favorites include the Siren in Balanchine’s The Prodigal Son, Jiri Kylian’s Petit Mort, David Dawson’s A Million Kisses to My Skin, William Forsythe’s New Suite, and Price Suddarth’s Signature.
She is a contributor to Pacific Northwest Ballet’s blog. She is married to fellow PNB dancer Price Suddarth.