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What Ballet Dancer Erica Lall Can’t Live Without

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hairspray and the electric toothbrush. We asked ballet dancer Erica Lall — who is currently a member of American Ballet Theatre’s corps de ballet — about the epsom salts, cookies, and electric toothbrush she can’t live without.

During our busiest season from mid-May until early July, we have eight weeks of dance and about eight different shows we do pretty much every day. Every week is basically a new ballet, but one week might even have two or three ballets in it. It’s hectic. After each show, I go home and immediately take a bath in epsom salts — sometimes I eat dinner in the bath, too. The Epsom salts help relieve any pain from dancing, relax my muscles, and make me feel better. Also, the lavender smells amazing and puts me in the mood for bed.

My mom is a dentist. When I was around 8 years old, she bought me a Sonicare toothbrush. It was the most exciting day of my life. We’re big Sonicare users in my family. Normal toothbrushes can’t get the grime and plaque and whatnot off my teeth as well as an electric toothbrush can. My Sonicare gets in crevices so easily. I was once on tour for a while and wasn’t using it; afterwards, I went to the dentist and they told me I need to work on my teeth more.

I eat these all day. One day, my friend had a pack of them, and I was like, Hold up. These are the airplane cookies that I’m obsessed with. So from then on, I’ve picked some every time I get groceries. They taste incredible.

I don’t remember why I started using men’s deodorant, but it has been six or seven years since I started using this. It works better for me, and I like that the scent isn’t fruity or flowery. It’s a nice mellow scent that still smells good. If I’m getting really sweaty during, say, Swan Lake or La Bayadère, then I definitely have to reapply. But if I’m not doing an intense show or practice, I can just put it on once in the morning and that’s it.

I typically wear kids shoes. I have some adult Nike shoes, but the kids ones actually work best for me, and they’re a little less expensive. I’m a women’s six-and-a-half, which means I’m a kids four-and-a-half. I’ve had so many pairs of Air Max 95s. I wear them every day and won’t stop wearing them until I’ve worn them out. Before COVID, I walked around Europe in a pair with my friend. We walked miles and miles every day and they really held up. As a ballet dancer, I have to be careful with what shoes I wear because I obviously use my feet for everything. These have never given me a blister and they support my arches, which is a necessity for ballet dancers.

My sister got me a S’well bottle a couple of birthdays ago. I use it for water or tea — it keeps drinks cold or hot for so long — but also as a roller for stretching. That’s not what it’s meant to be, but it’s a really hard bottle so it’s great at getting into my IT bands and glutes. I’ll use it as an arch roller for my feet, too. I have tried to use it on my back before, but it didn’t work. It’s a little too small and hard for that, but for everything else, it’s great.

This is so much more convenient to carry in the pandemic. I can fit my hand sanitizer, my wipes, a pen, my credit cards, and so much more in this little thing. When I’m traveling again, I can fit my passport and boarding pass and phone, too. And you know those mini water bottles you can buy at the drugstore? I can put one of those in there with everything else, and it fits perfectly.

I use it morning and night. It’s been a staple in my skin-care routine for two or three years now. It’s really hydrating and does a lot for me in one product. Sometimes I’ll add a little witch hazel into my routine, and I will use patches that reduce inflammation when I’m performing a lot and my skin needs some extra love. But usually this serum is the only skin-care I use. One of my friends gave it to me, I fell in love, and now I never want to use anything else.

I act like my house is a club with this speaker: It gets really loud, but it’s super-tiny. It stands shorter than an iPhone so it’s very portable. I always have the speaker in my bathroom when I’m taking showers, then I’ll bring it into my living area when I’m done. I’ll do the dishes and dance around my apartment. It’s also great for working out. And I can bring it on tour or anywhere else I go.

My mom is from Jamaica, and my dad is from Trinidad. Everyone is a big tea-drinker in the Caribbean. I only drink tea — I don’t like coffee, and I won’t drink it. Tetley’s black tea has the best flavor to me. I don’t put sugar or anything in it, I just drink it plain, and it tastes so good.

I’m a leg-warmer gal, so I have different pairs. But this is my favorite one. I wear them in class and in between rehearsals. You don’t want to have anything too tight or thick on your body while you’re dancing because it limits your mobility. These aren’t super thick, but they cover my whole legs and keep them so warm. You can still see muscle definition when you wear them, too.

This is the best underwear I’ve ever worn. A lot of seamless underwear isn’t actually seamless, but this is. And it’s so soft. I honestly have never worn a softer pair of underwear in my life. That said, I don’t feel the underwear when I’m wearing it and I can move in it easily. We actually don’t wear underwear when we dance because we have our leotards and whatnot. So this is more my going-out underwear. I’ll wear it with leggings or a dress or whatever needs something seamless, and you literally cannot see it.


I love seeing my sleep score. It tells me when I’m restless while I’m sleeping and when I’m awake and not in deep sleep. I am not the best at getting enough sleep, so the sleep log helps me because I’m more aware of my habits. I also love that I can track my water intake, which is very important for me. When I’m dancing, I’m drinking gallons of water throughout the day to stay hydrated, but when I’m not dancing as much, like right now, it’s really difficult for me to keep track of my water intake. It’s not second nature to keep drinking water, so I use this to help me. I chose this over other fitness trackers because it’s so thin and lightweight on my wrist. I can’t imagine sleeping wearing anything bigger than this.

My lips are always glossy, even if I’m not wearing any other makeup. I use this like a lip balm because it’s extremely hydrating and I hate having chapped lips. The gloss will last me a couple of hours before I have to reapply. It has a tiny bit of color, too. I wear it under my mask even though no one can see it because I like feeling moisturized and glossy. I feel weird without it.

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What Ballet Dancer Erica Lall Can’t Live Without