What's In Your Dancebag?

Crista Aguinaldo

  • Photo courtesy of Crista Aguinaldo
Similar to an infinity scarf, but running almost the full length of my body, the malong is a garment native to the Philippines. It has many functions: a prop to dance with, a fashion accessory and, a few times, a baby carrier when I’ve had to accommodate my youngest son who wanted to be carried during my rehearsal. 
Arnis sticks 
I’ve just recently made these a staple in my bag. They’re used for arnis, a form of Filipino martial arts. We had incorporated arnis into our choreography this past summer but I’ve become addicted to training with them. There are actually some surprisingly great stretches I can do with them as well. So, just like my malong, they’re multi-purpose.
This is a staple any time I have to bring my kids to rehearsal with me. Though they are pretty good about staying in a corner, watching and not being disruptive, for extra long rehearsals, if there aren’t any extra hands around to help preoccupy them, I whip this out for the last leg of practice so we can get through what we need to.
I’ve been super conscious about keeping hydrated and making sure I have this with me.
Very simply, I’m addicted to gum. I always like to have it on hand. I do, however, make sure that I am never chewing during a rehearsal.
Waist trainer
I have diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles), so I always have this with me in case my core is feeling particularly weak. I try not to be dependent on it, but it is a great tool, especially when I feel my lower back starting to ache on me.
Lip balm
Dancing and talking all through my work can definitely make my lips feel dry, and I quite honestly can’t focus on anything if my lips are dry!

As a mother of three young children and co-founder of Hataw Performing Arts, a modernized dance group based on the folk dance of the Philippines, Crista Aguinaldo is always on the go. “I often have no time to pack a proper dancebag,” says Aguinaldo, “so it ends up being my purse that I lug around daily (even with my dance stuff in it). I either have nothing or everything with me at any given time.”


Crista Aguinaldo in High Blood presented in collaboration with Datu at SummerWorks (2016) / Photo by Bo Fajardo

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