What's In Your Dancebag?

Neema Bickersteth

Water bottle and Thermos cup
I get very thirsty singing and dancing, so I need lots of water, regular cold tap water and hot water. The singer in me wants something warm, and the dancer in me wants something cold.
As I’m not trained as a dancer, I need to record myself doing the movements so I can reference what has been done and take notes.
Snacks (in the container)
My snacks at the moment are nuts, for protein without feeling too full, and fruit for hydration.
Lip balm
Always! I’ve got big, dry lips, so I always have a jumbo Chap Stick with me.
My go-to orange backpack
It is my only non-professional looking bag, so it sees a lot of wear. I bought it while riding my bike in Montréal. The strap on my previous bag broke. I needed a new one and, being unfamiliar in the city, I opted for a very visible, very bright orange one. Now, though, it looks more well-loved and dirty.
Sheet music
I use the score to write down and keep note of the movements I perform. I jot them right into the music.


In her new solo performance, Neema Bickersteth explores womanhood and music in the twentieth century by inhabiting the identities of various historical women through song and dance. Directed by Ross Manson and choreographed by Kate Alton (artistic director of Crooked Figure Dances), Century Song is a physically challenging piece, which, according to Bickersteth, is akin to singing while running on a treadmill for an hour. The Dance Current chatted with her, while her one-year-old daughter was napping, to ask what she keeps in her bag to help with this ambitious performance.

Century Song runs January 19th through 23rd at The Theatre Centre in Toronto, before going to Calgary and Vancouver.



Neema Bickersteth / Photo by Jacqui Jenson-Roy

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