When last we left off, I was waiting for the tutu skirts. They’re here!
They are currently all hanging in the gondola (a big wardrobe box we use for storing and transporting costumes) with their bodices.
They do not arrive fully completed. We will finish and shape them as needed.
My next step is to have fittings with each dancer and mark where her hooks and bars will be placed on the skirt basque (the upper part of the tutu skirt with no tulle) as well as the placement of the buttons which will attach to the tutu bodice. The example below is the tutu that will be worn by dancer Rebecca Johnson.
Next week, I will start patterning the tail pieces, which will be pretty complicated, but I am excited for the challenge!
On April 9th and 10th, Ballet Austin II is proud to present its performance of Red Roses at Austin Ventures Studio Theater, choreographed by artistic director Stephen Mills. Recently nominated for an Austin Critic’s Table Award for Best Ensemble, the program also includes premieres by Jennifer Hart, winner of Ballet Nouveau Colorado’s choreographic competition and Nick Kepley, winner of Canton Ballet’s choreographic competition.
For more information and to purchase tickets, click here! April 9th performance is at 8pm; April 10th performance is at 3pm.
Currently, my major project in the costume shop is to build the six birds for The Magic Flute. These photo blogs I am keeping will follow my construction of the bird below, which will be worn by dancer Michelle Thompson.
I will use the rendering by designer Susan Branch to build the bird. The base is a teardrop shaped tutu and I am making the feathered front and tail to go on it.
After a fitting, the inside structure of the tutu bodice is finished out. The white elastics will eventually connect to the skirt.
The bodice is put on a dress form and covered in clear plastic for drafting a pattern.
The pattern for the feathered front piece is finished. The solid, pink line is the finish line for the piece.
The bodice front piece is cut out of three layers of fabric and will be covered in feathers.
Curious to see how the bodice turns out? I’ll have more for you next week!
Words and photos by Emily Cavasar, Wardrobe Assistant and Shoe Manager.
Check out this little sneak peek video of Nicolo Fonte’s Lasting Imprint from when he created it on Cedar Lake Contemporary ballet. In the video, Nicolo also discusses some of the thinking behind the work. We will perform this work as part of the upcoming Studio Theater Project!
For Tickets and more information about the Studio Theater Project, click here.
Associate Artistic Director Michelle Martin directing rehearsal for La Sylphide
Choreographed 1836 by August Bournonville, La Sylphide has been a staple of the repertoire of the Royal Danish Ballet for 170 years, and is generally considered to be the most important ballet created during the Romantic period. Though I have been looking forward to staging and coaching this ballet since Stephen announced this season’s programming last winter, I also found myself with some trepidation as he and I prepared to teach the dancers in early January.
When I work in the rehearsal studio with choreographers as they are creating new work, one of my primary responsibilities is to listen and observe, taking both written and mental note of the process and the product. Particularly crucial is that I have a clear understanding of the choreographer’s intentions so that I can help the dancers fully realize the choreographer’s expectations. Trying to apply that same process and sense of accountability to choreography that is nearly two centuries old is intriguing but also very daunting, and requires a lot of advance preparation and research.
Dancers rehearsing the sylph scene
Romantic ballets, in general, have unique aspects of shape and movement, but Bournonville’s work has a very specific aesthetic and theatricality. In setting La Sylphide, and working to fully capture the essence of this ballet, Stephen and I relied on our past experiences as dancers in Bournonville’s work, as well as notes and video recordings. We also had extensive conversations between ourselves and with the dancers about how to best interpret the narrative and tell this wonderful story.
Michelle Martin and dancers rehearsing the fortune-teller scene
Beyond my usual directorial responsibilities, La Sylphide has also given me the rare opportunity to participate onstage in the role of Madge, the Witch. As a dancer I was usually cast in the ingénue roles, so I’m enjoying the chance to portray a darker character. Bournonville’s emphasis on the development of the characters and their interaction makes this role particularly interesting for me and more complex than I’d originally anticipated.
While the responsibility inherent in staging a ballet like La Sylphide definitely offers some challenges, for both the dancers and our artistic team, the simple elegance of the storytelling and brilliant craftsmanship of the choreography have also made it incredibly fulfilling. All of us are looking forward to transitioning from studio rehearsals into the theater this week, anticipating the added energy and theatrical “edge” as we work with the Austin Symphony and the breathtaking scenery and costumes from the Boston Ballet. This marks the first time that Ballet Austin has presented La Sylphide and I’m certain it won’t be the last…
For Tickets and more information about La Sylphide, click here.
In our last installment of the La Sylphide video blog series before the performances this weekend, Artistic Director Stephen Mills and Associate Artistic Director Michelle Martin talked to us about August Bournonville’s penchant for lavish storytelling in his ballets. And La Sylphide is one of his shining examples, one of the greatest and oldest surviving Romantic classical ballets. See you at the theater this weekend!
For Tickets and more information about La Sylphide, click here.
“In recent years, women’s collections have included lightweight wrap cotton sweaters, leather ballet flats, skirts made from shredded fabric, feathered skirts and gowns with jeweled bodices — all of which are fashion staples for professional ballet dancers,” says fashion writer Marques Harper. His feature in today’s Austin American-Statesman Life & Arts section centers on the influence of ballet in current women’s and children’s fashion, due in part, he says, to the popularity of the Oscar-nominated Black Swan.
Marques explored this connection by visiting with Ballet Austin Company dancer Aara Krumpe and Wardrobe Assistant Emily Cavasar (both pictured in the gorgeous photo above that ran with the article). He dropped in and photographed a fitting for Aara’s costume for her principal role as the sylph in our upcoming production of La Sylphide. Click here to read the complete article.