Short trip to San Francisco Packing List

Nicole Voris

I pride myself on being a light packer.  I try to make it a game with myself to see how efficiently I can pack without missing anything I need.  With ballet though sometimes it feels like I need to pack two wardrobes, one for the studio and one for the street.

Here is what I brought:

Here’s what’s on the packing list.

Dance clothes:

  • 2 Ballet Zaida Leotards
  • 1 pair of black tights
  • 1 pair of bootie shorts
  • 1 theraband
  • 1 tennis ball
  • 1 pair of warm up pants
  • 1 pair of legwarmers
  • 1 pair of pointe shoes in good condition (to last through two classes)
  • 1 pair of flat shoes
  • 1 set of toe pads/toe spacers (not shown)
  • 1 black sweater that I will also wear as “street clothes”
  • 1 bag to use as my dance bag (I chose my favorite giraffe print bag that my mom got for me)

Regular clothes list:

  • 1 black sweater (same sweater from dance clothes list)
  • 1 pair of black jeans
  • 1 pair of black leggings
  • 3 shirts (one crop top, one turtle neck long sleeve, and one white blouse)
  • 6 pairs of underwear
  • 2 socks
  • 1 bra
  • 1 set of warm pajamas
  • 1 leather jacket (San Francisco can be cold all year round)
  • 1 pair of flats
  • 1 pair of ankle boots


  • My cross body bag that I will use as a purse
  • A tripod for my iphone
  • Cosmetics/toiletry bag
  • My reusable water bottle

Electronics (not shown above)

  • Iphone 6 plus
  • Ipad Mini
  • Charger
  • Headphones
  • My reusable water bottle


When making my packing list I try to choose clothes that go well together and are in the same color pallet.  I chose to go with mostly blacks and whites so that I could mix and match.  I also chose shirts that are easy to wash in the sink and that dry quickly.  My brown jacket isn’t in the white and black family, but I don’t have a problem wearing brown and black together, I personally find it aesthetically pleasing. :)

How did I pack it?  I have recently switched to using a travel backpack.  I use an Ebags weekend mother loader.  It has a ton of pockets, can pack a lot, fits my frame, and gives me much more freedom when traveling.

I packed all of my clothes and toiletries in the main pocket for convenience.  It’s easier for me if everything is together.  There is a center divider so I packed all of the dance clothes on the left and the regular clothes on the right.

I didn’t pack my boots, leather jacket, or leggings because I will wear them on the drive up.

In the back pocket regularly reserved for a laptop I packed my dance bag.

In one of the front pockets I took advantage of the organization system to pack my electronics.

I also packed my purse in that pocket so I would only have to worry about carrying my backpack when we get to our destination.

Fully packed!  I still have tons of room in the backpack and could probably fit twice as much! San Francisco, here we come!

Beach Photos / Sep 2016


Oliver Endahl

Hey guys,

I currently have a beach theme happening on the Ballet Zaida Instagram account. ( I started the theme to promote the newest Ballet Zaida Film, The Tide )

As I'm sure you've noticed, there's a lot of dance photography on social media nowadays. And a lot of photos take place in similar looking urban areas. Something I enjoy about the beach theme is that I think it looks very California.

Here's some recent beach photos I captured at Venice Beach, & on a beach over at Palos Verdes. 


Dance photography on the beach is great. Whether you have no clouds in the sky, or a totally overcast day, the shots you get from the beach usually end up gorgeous.


The Grand Paradise

Nicole Voris

Oliver and I spent the weekend in New York City.  We had a wonderful time, got to spend time with family and friends, see art, and work with incredibly talented people.  I wanted to use this post though, to tell you about an amazing show we got to experience.

Oliver and I have been wanting to attend an immersive theater show for a while now.  When we planned our trip to NYC, one of the first things I did was buy tickets to The Grand Paradise.  If you don't know what immersive theater is,  it's a lot like what it sounds like.  As opposed to going to a theater, sitting in seats, and watching the show take place on the stage, with immersive theater, the entire building is the stage and you get to be in the story.  

Jessy Smith, foreground, and Erik Abbott-Main in “The Grand Paradise.”     CreditSara Krulwich/The New York Times

Jessy Smith, foreground, and Erik Abbott-Main in “The Grand Paradise.” CreditSara Krulwich/The New York Times

The Grand Paradise is a show set in a 1970's beach resort.  I don't want to give too much away, but the show explores themes of growing as a person, exploring desires, and the philosophy of being human.  The dancing, singing, and acting was incredible.  What I found so amazing about it is that the show blurs the lines of reality.  I didn't expect that I would lose the sense of being just an observer.  I truly felt that I was a guest at this beach resort and was interacting with their quirky staff.  

What to expect at an immersive theater show:

- Dress comfortably.  It goes against theater logic to not wear a fabulous outfit and heels, but you really want to be comfortable.  You'll be moving around a lot, and often in the dark.  I chose to wear a 70's jumpsuit to fit in with the theme of the show.  For shoes I chose to play it safe and wore white sneakers, but I would have been fine in flats or clogs.  Oliver wore nice jeans, a nice shirt, and nikes and was comfortable moving around. 

- Be prepared to be separated from your group.  Embrace it!  For Grand paradise we generally were separated into groups of 2-4,  if you're lucky you may get a one on one experience with a performer, which a few people in our group (myself included), got to do.  I encourage you to embrace getting lost with a few strangers.  It helps make the world feel more real.  At the end you can all get together and relay what you got to do and experience!

- Push yourself out of your comfort zone.  Myself and all the people who attended with me were all performers, so I think we fell into the participation easier.  I could tell some other audience members weren't as comfortable.  I encourage you to embrace the strangeness and not to be self conscious.  It'll make your experience so much better!

Elizabeth Carena and Tori Sparks.  Photograph by Third Rail Projects.

Elizabeth Carena and Tori Sparks. 
Photograph by Third Rail Projects.

The Grand Paradise is now playing through December 31st.  I highly recommend seeing it!  If you do see it or have already seen it let us know what you think in the comments!  If you've seen other immersive theater shows let us know about your experiences there too!

To learn more about the show and buy tickets follow the link below:

The Grand Paradise

Bath, United Kingdom

Jeanette Kakareka

So, this was a while ago now but I wanted to blog about it anyway because it's a fond memory and I recommend making the trip if you ever can. During the long Easter weekend, my boyfriend and I stayed two nights in Bath.

We booked a hotel right by the train station which was super comfy and easy. We checked in about as early as possible then headed for a walk around, stopping into some antique stores and saw the Pulteney Bridge, the Royal Crescent, and the Assembly Rooms.

Outside of Train Station

Outside of Train Station

I was especially excited about the Assembly Rooms because I could imagine all of the Georgian parties and gatherings. It was also free.

Jin inside of the Assembly rooms

Jin inside of the Assembly rooms

Polaroids on the Bridge and around the Crescent.

Polaroids on the Bridge and around the Crescent.

I had heard recommendations to check out Sally Lunn's, which not only had great food and teas, but is also one of the oldest standing buildings in Bath.

I ordered a mushroom traditional trencher dish, and he ordered a steak with some sort of apple sauce.

I ordered a mushroom traditional trencher dish, and he ordered a steak with some sort of apple sauce.

We then went back to relax at the hotel and that was the end of day one.

Day two began with getting our breakfast from the hotel and then heading to the famous Bath Abbey. A free thing to do, although they do suggest a small donation.

The beautiful fan vaulting of the ceilings inside.

The beautiful fan vaulting of the ceilings inside.

The abbey was originally founded in the 7th century, but rebuilt in the 12th and 16th century. We both really enjoy going into churches for the architecture, and this was apparently a more unusual example of the Gothic style. The gravestones inside of the abbey floor and walls were really interesting to read and we enjoyed getting a close look at the stained glass. We definitely recommend taking a look inside and grabbing one of the free paper pamphlets, which can give you extra information on what you are seeing.

Next, we went to the Roman Baths, which is located right next to the abbey. It costed £15 per adult and everyone is given a free audio guide in a number of languages. There were many recovered artifacts from the Roman period of Bath's history, (when they called the town "aquae sulis"), including the Gorgon's head. The buildings that now surround them were built in the 18th century.

A shot of one of the stunning Roman bath pools.

A shot of one of the stunning Roman bath pools.

Inside the Pump Room, where you exit after the baths

Inside the Pump Room, where you exit after the baths

After lunch and coffee in a cafe, we went to see the Jane Austen Centre, which, as much as I love her work, I didn't love the museum equally. But Jin did enjoy writing with ink and it was nice being inside of the house that she lived in for five years. This was £11 per adult.

After we left, we took a long scenic walk around the town by all the shops and ended up by the river. Bath is a beautiful town to just walk around and enjoy the outside of its many historic buildings. We then got some dinner takeaway and hopped our train back to London.

We had a lovely weekend and definitely suggest it to anyone with the ability to take a small trip over.

DALIAN, CHINA -- A city by the sea

Jeanette Kakareka

During our two week holiday from working at English National Ballet, we decided to go back to visit my boyfriend's hometown! 

We took a 10.5 hour flight, had a 4.5 hour layover in the Beijing airport, and then another hour to Dalian. We were so tired and confused and hungry! It was my first time meeting Jin's dad, so this wasn't necessarily the best state to be making first impressions in. When we met him at the Dalian airport I tried to say "it's nice to meet you" in Chinese, but I totally panicked and Jin had to explain what I'd meant to say.

One of the very first days we went to have a sauna day--my first experience! They also had a pool so we swam for a while.

I had met Jin's mom before, and she is the sweetest! She made such an effort to make me feel at home and also made me special food when I got sick one day so I could have something familiar.

I met most of his immediate family including an aunt and cousin. Jin and I also got the honour of making his dad's parents their first spaghetti dish and witness their first attempt at forks! In turn, they gave us lessons on dumpling making since the Chinese New Year was coming up.

We also drove around the city so I could see all of the good sites and brave the outside temperatures. Thanks to Jin's dad who was happy to take a day off of work to drive around in the cold for us! When we were in the city of Dalian, we made it to the aquarium where they had some very happy animals swimming around, getting fed and pet by their handlers.

We even walked down to the beach and collected some sea glass and threw skipping stones.

Jin's family certainly is lucky to live here. It's a very clean place with lots of trees and mountains and beautiful views of the sea. And actually, we did climb to the top of one of the mountains right by their house!

Saying goodbye to our holiday and to his family wasn't easy, but I can't wait to visit again!