In rehearsal, we are always jumping from one ballet to the next and one role to the other. I like to keep one long wrap skirt and one short wrap skirt to switch between, depending on the role I’m rehearsing.
I carry multiple pairs of pointe shoes depending on the repertoire we are rehearsing. They are all broken-in to a certain degree, so I can alternate between a softer, suppler feel for the contemporary pieces and a stronger, more supportive shank for more classical ballets.
I have a smaller bag that I carry inside my dancebag that I call my emergency kit. It’s filled with all the little things that I may need on a whim. I have a small roll of toe tape, sewing supplies (which include small scissors, a needle and dental floss that I use as thread), nail clippers and a nail file, lip balm, ibuprofen, all-natural Gravol, a hydrating facial mist, deodorant and, last but not least, a pair of toe spacers and two pairs of toe pads.
I have a pair of booties that I will throw on between rehearsals to keep my feet and ankles warm. As well, I keep a small pair of socks for when I want to give my feet a break from shoes but not walk around barefoot.
I always keep my phone with me. We have a private link set up on Vimeo where all of the season’s repertoire is kept so you can always refer back to it if you have questions about timing or choreography. I also like to film certain parts of my rehearsals so I can review it and correct myself.
I always carry my water bottle with me, as hydration is crucial in this line of work, especially in Winnipeg because the winters are very cold and dry. I try to drink about five to ten full bottles a day.
My dancebag is very important to me. I usually use the same bag until it’s falling apart. This particular bag is from a former dancer who retired from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She had bags made for all of the dancers with our initials on them. I’m a pretty light packer for the most part. I always think to myself, ‘Bring only what you need.’ These are all of the items I keep in my bag.
Originally from Pompano Beach, Florida, Jo-Ann Sundermeier trained at Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s Professional Division, becoming an apprentice with the company in 2003. In 2012 she was promoted to principal dancer. Sundermeier is also a founding member of Q Dance with founder and choreographer Peter Quanz.