When we prepare a program such as “Treasures of the Ballets Russes” we spend several weeks in the studio carefully rehearsing each ballet, making sure all will look good on the stage. And as always a big part of the production is the costumes and sets. Though the Artists have fittings as early as possible they are not united with the costumes and sets until we go to the stage just a few days before we open. So often the Ballet Masters visit the Costume and Scenic Shop to have David Heuvel, Costume Production Director and his staff prepare us to better prepare the artists for what is in store. I’ve made several trips for this show because there are many props and unsual costumes involved. It’s always fun for me to be there and I thought I’d share a little of it with you.
For this program Ballet West has found it more economical to rent sets and costumes. Even New York City’s presitgious American Ballet Theatre rents sets and costumes these days. ‘Polovtsian Dances’ is rented from Houston Ballet, ‘Les Biches’ from Oakland Ballet and ‘The Prodigal Son’ from Dance Theatre of Harlem and American Ballet Theatre. Since all of these productions were built twenty or more years ago, for ‘Polovtsian Dances’ our wardrobe masters are making completely new pants and tops for the Persian Slaves, new pants and hats for the Warrior Wives and refurbishing and making new costumes for the Warrior Chiefton, Warriors and Youths. They are making new costumes and refurbishing for ‘Les Biches’. For ‘The Prodigal Son’ they are updating the Siren’s cape, completely making her unusal tights and also creating all of the special effects for make-up and hair.
David Heuvel’s crew: Barbara Arcolio, Mary Kay Feicht and Katherine Fraser-Cross making new Persian Slave pants for ‘Polovtsian Dances’ and refurbishing the dresses for ‘Les Biches’.
MicKell Maddox working on the Persian Slave tops and Cindy Farrimond, Costume Shop Manager and Shoe Coordinator, making new sashes for the women in ‘Les Biches’. Not pictured are: Jacquelin Cintura Bryce – Wardrobe Supervisor and Barbara Lambert – Wardrobe Assistant.
Rented Polovtsian Warrior boots. Brand new Persian Slave pants.
Brand new Persian Slave Tops. Rented Polovtsian, Prodigal and Biches costumes.
The sets and props are also rented for this program but pieces need work. For instance the stairs for ‘Les Biches’ arrived but the platforms did not, so Ballet West will create them.
Carpenter Josh Belka in the early stages of creating the (missing) platforms.
‘The Prodigal Son’ tent is in good shape. You can also see the ‘Les Biches’ stairs and sofa.
Prop Master Cory Thorell will work on the ‘Les Biches’ sofa.