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The Costumes of Coppélia

“Old, new, old, old, hmmm…new with old style pattern.”  This is what I hear as I peek over Alexey’s shoulder at his desk.

Alexy Korygin, Ballet Austin’s Wardrobe Master, is reviewing the costume inventory of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Coppélia, which we are receiving in a trade for our production of Light / The Holocaust and Humanity Project.

Along with the pages of Coppélia costume inventory we received, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre also sent us pictures. This is a rare occasion. Most rentals are like a giant mystery. We receive a detailed inventory list and little idea of what things will actually look like once we open the boxes. Many of the classical ballet performances throughout the dance industry are produced with leased costumes and scenery, the broad majority of which are 40 plus years old and originate from companies in Europe. The truck coming with Coppélia costumes and scenery is worth around $250,000.

The costumes for Pittsburgh’s Coppélia look great. As Alexey flips through the printed digital photos he tells me that some of the costumes due to arrive in a few weeks are around 40 years old and others are newer. I ask him how he can tell since to me it is so hard to spot the difference in a photograph. “Can you tell by the fabric?”

“No, you can tell by the pattern. The old style pattern is nicer and better.”

He’s right too. There is no comparison to the old style costumes in terms of beauty, durability and history. Although some of these costumes may be decades old, we work tirelessly fitting and perfecting each one so that every costume looks brand new on stage.  I bet you won't able to spot the difference on Mother’s Day weekend between “old, new, new, old?”

Click here for more information on Ballet Austin's production of Coppélia.


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