Dance Clothing & Shoes

Inside My Dance Bag: Sally Turkel of Ballet San Antonio

Sally Turkel. Photograph by Alexander Devora.

Sally Turkel. Photograph by Alexander Devora.

How many years have you been doing ballet?

I’ve been dancing for about 16 years.

What are some roles you’ve danced with Ballet San Antonio?

With Ballet San Antonio I have been very lucky to perform a wide variety of different roles and characters. Some of my favorites have been the title roles in Ben Stevenson’s Romeo & Juliet and Cinderella, as well as the role of Odette/Odile in his Swan Lake. I’ve also danced the lead in Balanchine’s Donizetti Variations. In February, I performed the role of Wendy in Peter Anastos’ Peter Pan. It was a very fun ballet with lots of silly moments…and, as Wendy, I got to fly!

What’s your favorite thing about ballet?

One of my favorite things about ballet is that it is always changing, and, as a result, ballet is always changing me as a person. Everyday I come into the studio and discover something new about my technique or learn a new approach on tackling a particularly demanding step. As a performer, I’m constantly learning new ballets and choreography. With each new piece, I learn new ways to understand musicality and search for the intention behind the movement. Throughout the rehearsal process I find myself growing as an artist, an actress, a dancer, and as a human being. And then I get to share everything I’ve learned and experienced on stage with the world! I feel incredibly lucky to call myself a ballet dancer and feel very fortunate to always be growing as a person through this beautiful art form.

What’s in your dance bag?

Freed Maple Leaf Variation pointe shoes – I have about 6 pairs rotating at a time which I keep organized in a reusable wine bag (this way they are organized by pair and not mixing with my other dance wear), toe spacers and gauze which I use instead of toe tape (it doesn’t slip off when my feet get sweaty!), foot roller, dense rolling ball, thera band, back warming brace, Rubiawear leg warmers and socks that I’ve cut into ankle warmers, shorts, Eleve and Tulips by Tracy skirts, aqua socks (they keep my feet so warm!), multiple shades of chapstick/lipstick, water bottle, and, for snacks, I usually like to have bananas or apples, nuts, and protein powder (mix with water for a quick and easy snack when you don’t have a long break!).

Sally Turkel Dance Bag 1

Sally Turkel. Photograph by Alexander Devora.

Sally Turkel. Photograph by Alexander Devora.

Sally Turkel  began her ballet training at the Cary Ballet Conservatory, in her hometown of Cary, North Carolina.  At age 14, she was accepted into the residential high school’s ballet studies program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Upon graduation, Ms. Turkel performed with Houston Ballet, HBII, Carolina Ballet and Steifel and Stars.  In subsequent years she joined Colorado ballet, where she danced for five seasons, performing a wide range of both classical and contemporary roles.  A few of her favorites include the Serenity Fairy and Puss and Boots in Sleeping Beauty, Little Swans in Swan Lake, George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Glen Tetley’s The Rite of Spring, Michael Pink’s Peter Pan and Dracula, Agnes DeMille’s Rodeo, Lynn Taylor Corbett’s Great Galloping Gottschalk, and Christopher Wheeldon’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

In 2013 Ms. Turkel joined Ballet San Antonio and was promoted to Principal Dancer the following year. While with Ballet San Antonio, Ms. Turkel has danced the roles of Odette/Odile in Ben Stevenson’s Swan Lake, Mina in Gabriel Zertuche’s Dracula, Cinderella and Fairy God Mother in Stevenson’s Cinderella, the Sugarplum Fairy and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, and the female lead in Balanchine’s Donizetti Variations. In addition, she has worked with choreographers such as Stephen Mills, Twyla Tharp, Michael Pink, Emery LeCrone, and Stanton Welch.

In February 2015, Ms. Turkel danced the role of Juliet in Ben Stevenson’s Romeo & Juliet.

“Turkel maintains the character arc from impudent and reluctant girl to the grieving and horror stricken widow-too-young, with a richness of feeling that goes beyond her obvious prowess as a dancer.” [Tami Kegley, The Rivard Report].


Inside My Dance Bag: Anwen David of Ballet Memphis

Anwen David. Photograph by JORAM MONDIE.

Anwen David. Photograph by JORAM MONDIE.

How many years have you been doing ballet?

I have been doing ballet for 17 years. I took my first class when I was 5 years old.

What are some roles you’ve danced with Ballet Memphis?

This is my third season with Ballet Memphis. My favorite character role has been Clara in The Nutcracker. I have also enjoyed roles in Swan Lake, Peter Pan, Steven McMahon’s Confluence, Matthew Neenan’s The Darting Eyes, Gabrielle Lamb’s I am a woman: Moult, Mark Godden’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, and others.

What’s your favorite thing about ballet?

I love the process of becoming a character and sharing a piece of my soul with the audience through that character.

What’s in your dance bag?

Freed Wing Block pointe shoes, I am currently transitioning from a 3½ XX to a 4 XX to try to get a better fit. I like Maker A best. I keep several pairs of pointe shoes in my bag so I can rotate them and wear different pairs for different rehearsals. I also have a pair of flat shoes (Sansha size 5), toe pads, toe spacers, two kinds of toe tape, a sewing kit with needles, thread, scissors, toe nail clippers, Thera-band, trash bag shorts, two wrap skirts, a tin of hairpins, two balls for massaging, and a water bottle. I often bring my phone and sometimes headphones as well. Finally, I try to keep some nuts or fruit with me for energy during long rehearsals.

Dance Bag Anwen David 1



BDancewear Clothing Review


Cotton Shrug

by Catherine L. Tully

The staff over at BDancewear asked if I would like to check out some of their merchandise and write something up for our readers.* When I agreed, they shipped me a nice box of goodies to try out, and I’d like to share some of my favorites with you. But first, I wanted to mention a little bit about the company itself, as I think some background is always nice…

One thing I found fascinating about this business is that they offer items in 200+ different colors. The ability to get a piece you like in a shade you love it pretty impressive. And the pieces are all made in the USA, which to me is another selling point. Add to that the fact that you are supporting a small business when purchasing from them, and it stacks up to be a pretty good deal overall. Especially since the items I sampled were very well made.

High-Waist Pants

High-Waist Pants

By far my favorite item in the package was the pair of high-waisted pants. I got the cotton ones, and they are excellent quality, lasting a very long time. I washed and dried them repeatedly, and since they are a bit on the long side (which I love, because I have long legs and my pants always shrink too much), they stood up to it just fine.

I’ve had many types of pants like this – all name brands – and these held up better than any other one to the wear/tear and wash cycle of a dancer. No splitting seams, no see-through spots, no loose elastic. I’m still wearing them, many months later. The only caveat is they are long, so shorter people may have an issue with the fit. They also make a high-waisted brief that is very comfortable.

I love shrugs, and the ones offered by BDancewear are no exception. Besides keeping my arms warm in a tank top or sleeveless leotard, they look pretty. I find these are one of those “optional” pieces, like a dance skirt, that makes you feel more like a dancer. Decorative/fun pieces. And again, the ability to dial in the fabric and color is a nice touch.

High-Low Skirt

High-Low Skirt

The company sells a full compliment of skirts as well, which can be a good choice for dance school students, or possibly instructor attire. I find the high-low skirts appealing, but there are a variety of choices, including angle skirts, circle skirts and longer skirts. To me these were better suited for the casual student, not as much geared toward the pre-professional or professional dancer. Studios with a color-coded system will find they can get any shade they need here.

In addition to the different colors available, BDancewear also offers a number of fabric choices, including lycra, velvet, cotton, mesh and more. They also stock sports bras, gloves, tank tops, briefs, leotards and other items.

To learn more about the company and take a look at their full range of offerings, visit them on the web at BDancewear.

For additional information on the company and more clothing reviews, visit our friends at Dance Advantage for their take on BDancewear.

*BDancewear has purchased ad space with 4dancers in the past. Review items were sent at no charge. This is not an advertorial.



Inside My Dance Bag: Alabama Ballet’s Tricia Bianco

Tricia Bianco. Photograph by Emily Orcutt Photography.

Tricia Bianco. Photograph by Emily Orcutt Photography.

How many years have you been doing ballet?

I began training when I was two and half, so I’ve been dancing almost nineteen years.

What are some roles you’ve danced with Alabama Ballet?

My favorite role with Alabama Ballet was the Cowgirl in Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo. I also loved performing Lead Marzipan in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and as a Blue Girl in Sir Frederick Ashton’s Les Patineurs.

What’s your favorite thing about ballet?

My favorite part about dancing is working hard and seeing the results. It’s so gratifying and there’s always something to work on and perfect even further. And there will always be another goal ahead of me to tackle. I also love the feeling when I’m onstage. We spend so much time in the studio for maybe three minutes on the stage, but when I’m up there I feel so alive.

What’s in your dance bag?

Bloch Heritage pointe shoes, jumper, cover-ups, leg warmers, Tiger Balm – a dancer’s best friend for achy muscles, sewing materials and new pointe shoes – to sew on breaks, Abigail Mentzer and Bulletpointe skirts, bobby pins, hair elastics, hairbrush, supportive athletic tape, and Kenesio Tape – I had a Deltiod sprain last season, so it supports my arches on long days, and, for snacks, I usually keep an apple and some seasoned almonds in my bag for sustainable energy, and, of course, H2O to keep hydrated!



Tricia Bianco. Photograph by Melissa Dooley Photography.

Tricia Bianco. Photograph by Melissa Dooley Photography.

Tricia Bianco began dancing when she was two and a half years old at Alabama Dance Academy under the direction of Pamela Merkel, Michael Vernon, Jamie Hinton, and Tammi Carr. She has received and accepted scholarships to summer programs with Boston Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Alabama Ballet. In 2011, Tricia competed in Youth American Grand Prix and was Top Twelve in the Southeast region. Tricia was offered an apprenticeship when she was seventeen with the Alabama Ballet in 2012, and is excited to be returning for her fourth season and first year as a Company Member.

Since joining Alabama Ballet, her favorite roles have included Showgirl in Roger Van Fleteren’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Juliet’s Friend in Van Fleteren’s Romeo and Juliet, the title role in Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo as Cowgirl, Lead Marzipan in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, and Blue Girl in Sir Frederick Ashton’s Les Patineurs. She also teaches at Alabama Ballet, and is a teacher for the Ballet’s outreach program, City Dance. Tricia also teaches at Westwood Ballet. Tricia feels very blessed to be a member with the Alabama Ballet, and is looking forward to her first season as a company member.


Inside My Dance Bag: Miami City Ballet’s Samantha Hope Galler

Samantha Hope Galler as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Miami City Ballet’s "George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker". Photograph by Daniel Azoulay.

Samantha Hope Galler as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Miami City Ballet’s “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker”. Photograph by Daniel Azoulay.

How many years have you been doing ballet? 

I began ballet at the age of five, so twenty years now. 

What are some roles you’ve danced with Miami City Ballet?

I joined Miami City Ballet in 2014. Since then, I have performed roles such as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and as the Harp Soloist in Balanchine’s Raymonda Variations.

What’s your favorite thing about ballet?

Being completely swallowed by light on stage.

What’s inside your dance bag?

I usually have about 6-7 pairs of Capezio Arias to rotate, gel toe pads, second skin, toe spacers, Sansha ballet slippers, two rollers, stretching stick, headphones, iPad, grey theraband, shoe scraper, fashionable duct tape, band-aids, Oragel, scissors, towel, hand cream, alcohol wipes to clean my feet at the end of the day, alcohol spray for pointe shoes, extra rosin, perfume, garbage bag pants, purity face wash, wine holder for my pointe shoes, Salonpas deep relief roll on, pliers, sewing kit, red stretch strap, and, for snacks, I always have Gu Brew and Quest bars to get me through my day if needed, plus tic tacs or mints.

Samantha Hope Galler Dance Bag Contents 1


Samantha Hope Galler. Photograph by Daniel Azoulay.

Samantha Hope Galler. Photograph by Daniel Azoulay.

Samantha Hope Galler, a Bedford, Massachusetts native, spent 13 years training with The Ballet Academy, Inc., under the direction of Frances Kotelly in the Cecchetti Method. She performed six seasons with The Northeast Youth Ballet under the direction of Denise Cecere. She continued training, on scholarship, with Boston Ballet School and received the PAO Merit Trainee Scholarship. She received the NFAA Honorable Mention Award in Ballet. Galler spent summers training at Boston Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Boston Conservatory. She danced with Cincinnati Ballet in their 2008-2009 season under the direction of Victoria Morgan.

Samantha spent five seasons with Alabama Ballet under the direction of Tracey Alvey and Roger Van Fleteren. During her tenure there, she was promoted to principal dancer. She had the honor of performing some of her dream roles including Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, The Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, The Sylph and Effie in La Sylphide, Myrtha and Moyna in Giselle, Dryad Queen and Mercedes in Don Quixote, and the Rancher’s Daughter in Agnes De Mille’s Rodeo. Her Balanchine roles included Dark Angel in Serenade; The Sugarplum Fairy, Arabian and Lead Marzipan in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™; and the principal roles in Allegro Brillante and Tarantella. She has also performed in Jiří Kylian’s Sechs Tanze, and Van Fleteren’s Shostakovich and Romancing Rachmaninov, both world premieres. Samantha joined Miami City Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 2014.

Follow Samantha on her website and blog.


Designing For Dance: Hogan McLaughlin

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 9.15

Costume sketch and concept by fashion designer Hogan McLaughlin for
Fluence, choreographed by Robyn Mineko Williams. Courtesy of Hogan McLaughlin.

I can’t recall the exact year I first came across Hogan McLaughlin, but I can tell you that he made quite an impression on me. I was photographing a dress rehearsal for the high school dance company that he was a part of–and whenever I looked through the lens–I kept coming back to him. He exuded energy and charisma, and he was a true pleasure to watch.

Last I had heard he was in New York, but I didn’t know that he switched careers and had become a fashion designer. And I certainly wasn’t aware of the fact that he had produced pieces for Lady Gaga. But then…I can’t really say I was that surprised either.

Some people are lucky enough to have many talents. Hogan is one of them.

On October 10th I’ll attend Hubbard Street’s opening night and get to see his work in person. He has designed the costumes for a new piece by choreographer Robyn Mineko Williams titled Fluence.

Here’s a little peek behind the scenes to see how this project came about. It’s so fun to watch an artist evolve…


How did you wind up designing costumes for this particular piece?

I met Robyn almost 10 years ago, a few years before I joined Hubbard Street 2. After dance, I tried for a career in visual art, but sort of unconsciously fell into a career in fashion instead. I think we’ve always had similar aesthetics, stylistically, so it sort of seemed like a no-brainer for me when she asked if I would be interested in designing her costumes. We had collaborated before on her piece for this past summer’s danc(e)volve: New Works Festival, so I think that was the jumping off point.

What was the design process like in terms of working with the choreographer Robyn Mineko Williams?

It’s an absolute pleasure working with Robyn. She puts all of her trust in her artistic team so I was pretty much given free reign to do whatever I felt best fit the piece. I sat in on a few rehearsals to get a sense of the movement and feel, as well as the relationships that began evolving between the dancers in the work.How does your design flow work? Do you sketch? Use the computer? Walk us through your process…

I’m an idiot when it comes to computers and technology so I prefer to sketch things out. I start with just drawing a body, and then let things come naturally from there. It helps that I know most of the dancers in the cast pretty well, so I tried to highlight each individual in a subtle way.


Hubbard Street Dancer Emilie Leriche and ensemble in
Fluence by Robyn Mineko Williams. Photo by Quinn B Wharton.

What about color selection? How do you decide on that?

For my line, and my personal wardrobe, I tend to go straight to black or grey tones. It’s a tough habit to break but luckily the darker metallic tones fit the mood of Robyn’s work nicely.

How did the dancers feel about the costumes?

I hope they like them–ha ha. It was definitely a long process with multiple fittings, especially for the women.

What is next for you?

I’m not sure!  These past few months have been especially busy, so I haven’t even begun to think about it- hopefully another cool project!

Hogan McLaughlin - Photo by Cheryl Mann

Fashion and costume designer Hogan McLaughlin. Photo by Cheryl Mann.


Hogan McLaughlin is an American fashion designer, artist, dancer, and musician. McLaughlin grew up outside of Chicago, where he spent his childhood drawing and training in ballet. He joined Hubbard Street 2 in 2006, and was promoted to an apprentice position with the main company in 2008. In 2010, he moved to New York City and garnered acclaim in fashion after meeting and collaborating with brewery heiress Daphne Guinness, who became a champion for his work. He later went on to produce a number of pieces for Lady Gaga, sparking interest and recognition within the fashion community. He released his first full collection in 2011 and has since been profiled by media outlets including Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily and The New York Times.


Legwarmers For Dancers: échauffe

Today we have Cameron Dieck with us from échauffe – a company started by dancers, for dancers. Specifically–legwarmers…something they realized there was a real need for in terms of quality product. Read more about how they wound up business owners…

dancers in studio

Lauren Lovette and Taylor Stanley

How did the idea for échauffe get started?

Caitlin and I have always heard complaints about legwarmers during our collective years spent training and dancing in the ballet world. After hearing a colleague at New York City Ballet complain about their legwarmers about two years ago, I just said to myself, “I can do this better”. It just occurred to me, if I don’t do this, someone else will.

In creating our line, we drew inspiration from our surroundings in New York City. NYC is a fashion Mecca and the place where many fashion houses’ creative departments are located. We really drew on this for the creation of our line. It was also extremely important to us that along with producing in the USA (to support the American economy) that we created products that were sustainable as possible. Aside from choosing raw materials that are Eco friendly, our yarn and factory are towns apart in NJ. The close proximity of our factory and yarn distributor cuts down on emissions and wasted fossil fuels in production. Another sustainable aspect of our garments is that they are all produced in whole garment manufacturing. Each garment is one piece of yarn from top to bottom, there are no seems, which cuts down on waste in the manufacturing process. This is something that both échauffe and our customers can be really proud of!

Was it difficult to get all the pieces in place to have the legwarmers made once you had the idea?

It wasn’t easy, I will say that much!  It took about six months to find people that I was comfortable working with and to sort out our production supply streams.  The hardest part in finding suppliers is finding people who value quality and that are agreeable to working with you.

What makes your legwarmers different from traditional ones?

Legwarmers have notoriously been considered by professionals and students alike to be poorly manufactured, leaving the ballet dancer with an often bulky and cumbersome product that just doesn’t cut it. We wanted to create a solid product that achieved the following…

– A new unibody seamless design. Through our research, we found that legwarmers fall apart along their seems. By constructing a garment that has no seems, a stronger more stable product has been achieved.

– A lightweight wear, which allows the wearer to see muscle definition. One of the largest complaints we have heard over the years is that legwarmers are bulky and thick, they get in the way of getting into fifth position. Our legwarmers are thin, yet warm!

– A 3/4 inch elastic band that eliminates slippage. You won’t have to pull up échauffe legwarmers up every two minutes.

– A moisture wicking design to keep the wearer dry.

All of this has been achieved while creating a beautiful design that is superior to other legwarmers made in the United States. Our mission is to design products that delight the spirit and enhance the dance performance of our clients.

dancer on pointe

Lauren Lovette

How many different designs do you have?

We currently carry two designs, the Bambu™ Legwarmer and the Puma Stretch Calfwarmer.  The Bambu™ Legwarmer is a full length legwarmer that incorporates our new unibody seamless design with a lightweight wear, which allows for wearer to see muscle definition.  The Bambu™ Legwarmer comes in two styles, a striped and a solid, both boasts natural moisture wicking qualities due the use of 100% Bamboo yarn in its construction.  Our Puma Stretch Calfwarmers helps to compress and warm the gastrocnemius muscle; like our Bambu™ Legwarmers, the Puma Stretch Calfwarmers are lightweight, allows their wearer to see muscle definition, and employs our new unibody seamless design.

What has been the most difficult part of running this business?

The most difficult part of running this business so far has been keeping up with the demand from our customers and finding the time to run a business while dancing with New York City Ballet and attending Fordham University.  There have been many late nights in the process of founding and running échauffe Inc but I love the challenge. I find when one is passionate about what they are doing, they find the time to do whatever it is. Échauffe is a passion, so I make time!

What is next for the company?

Our ultimate goal for échauffe is to continue developing products that enhance the dancer’s experience and performance. In the near future, we will remain focused on warm-ups, more specifically knitwear. We are committed to making the best knitwear on the market for dancers!

We are also extremely excited to begin offering wholesale contracts in the near future.  We have received an overwhelming number of requests from retail stores who are interested in carrying échauffe products and we will be rolling out that side of our business in the months to come!

Connect with échauffe:, Facebook, or on Twitter at @EchauffeInc


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