What's In Your Dancebag?

Alvin Erasga Tolentino

  • Photo courtesy of Tolentino
  • Tolentino / Photo by Kiku Hawkes

When packing my backpack for studio work and rehearsal, I include the following:

Comfortable dance clothes: sweatpants, shirts and a light sweater. I often prefer organic cotton.

Gadgets: my cellphone, laptop, power cord and extra hard drive. These come in handy if I’m reconstructing a dance or want to document a choreographic phrase. They also provide a score.

My notebooks and sketchbooks are useful for making new notes, looking at old ones and sometimes, if I am inspired, I will sketch the dancers moving in front of me.

My glasses for reading.

Tiger water bottle: I fill it with tea or warm water.

Snacks: fruit and some nuts in case I get hungry.

Spiky massage ball roller for foot massages or sore muscles.

My malong: A tube of fabric from South Asia, malongs are multi-functional. I’ve been carrying one since I started to make a dance piece to honour Filipino Indigenous fabrics and their relation to contemporary time and the body.


As the artistic director and force behind Co. ERASGA, Alvin Erasga Tolentino is an Asian-Canadian dance artist who aims to provoke and fascinate audiences through his cross-cultural hybrid dance creations. Tolentino is a regular contributor to Vancouver’s cultural sector. Presently, he is remounting an ensemble creation entitled Collected Traces and Still Here that pays homage to South Asian traditional arts and a Filipino Indigenous fabric – the malong – as part of his year-long residency at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Burnaby, British Columbia. The piece will be performed again April 18th through 21st, travelling to Powell River, Bowen Island and Salt Spring Island.

Tolentino / Photo by Kiku Hawkes

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