Designing for the Stage: an Interview with Yumiko Takeshima

Ballet costumes play a key role in the evolution of the art form. From the early days in the lavish court of Louis XIV – the Sun King – to the highly individual designs created by artists like Chanel, De Chirico and Bakst in the golden age of Ballets Russes, costumes have transitioned from bulky and restrictive garments into eye-catching creations that allow for individual expression and freedom of movement. Good costuming can immediately add another visual dimension to the most basic of ballets. No surprise that some of Balanchine’s simple yet elegant designs (think his collaborations with Barbara Karinska) kept coming up as all-time favorites in a poll taken by NYCB on Facebook this week.

Yumiko Takeshima. Photo Joris-Jan Bos ©

We recently caught up with Dresden Semperoper Ballett Principal Yumiko Takeshima. Yumiko divides her time between dancing and designing. Revered by dancers around the globe, her famous leotards (affectionately known in the industry as YumisBTW: lookout for an exclusive giveaway at the bottom of this feature) can be spotted on Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis in the movie Black Swan. Here Yumiko discusses all things costume design, including her collaborations with choreographer David Dawson, who first commissioned her work ten years ago and once said “ballet should be more about concept and theater and design than just about steps”.

Yumiko Takeshima was born in Asahikawa, Japan and has danced with Universal Ballet (Seoul), Alberta Ballet and Dutch National Ballet. A Principal Dancer with the Dresden Semperoper Ballett since 2006, Yumiko launched a brand of high quality and beautifully designed dancewear in 2002. She has also designed costumes for choreographers like David Dawson, Jorma Elo and William Forsythe. Her work is considered “elegant, simple and among the most beautiful dance costumes in the European dance scene.”

TBB: How did you get into designing leotards and ballet costumes?

Yumi: I joined Dutch National Ballet in 1993. When I moved to Holland from New York, I had nothing with me and I had to start making all my curtains, bed and cushion covers, so I started to sew a little bit. A friend lent me a sewing machine and because I grew up in a kimono-wearing family, I always liked checking out materials. I used to shop for fabrics all the time in Amsterdam and one day I found some leotard material. I bought it and tried to figure out how to make a leotard. It took me about three days as I had no idea of how to sew one. I put it on for work the next day and my friends liked it, so they started saying “can you make me the same one?” and that’s how it all began.

TBB: How does one make a leotard; how long does it take?

Yumi: You need to come up with a good pattern, I cut them myself and place them on a mannequin, to test it. Then I go back, adjust it, so everything goes by the pattern you cut first. Some models can be done in one hour – as I’ve been doing this since 1993 – but some can take up to four months as I have to keep developing and redoing them.

Yumiko Takeshima Costume for David Dawson's "The World According to Us". Inspired by the art of Gilbert & George. Photo: Costin Radu ©

TBB: How do you juggle your dancing career with designing?

Yumi: I’m still dancing. I know I should quit but I love dancing. Both activities help each other. It’s funny because while I do have a busy schedule when I am working on my leotards I think a lot about dancing and when I’m dancing I think a lot about my designs as well.

TBB: How did you go from designing your first leotard to starting your own company Yumiko?

Yumi: Step by step. My colleagues were always asking me “can you make me something that I look good in?” so from there I started to design. Then my friends from Japan and San Francisco started to put in orders too and that soon became the “Yumi girls” network. It all happened organically like that. Finally my husband Mark set up a business for me, as he saw that I was getting so busy with it; the first year I was taking turns at home with an assistant and when I was not performing I would be sewing all night long. One day my husband went “You know what? You need to get your life back, let me help you out with this”. So we opened a workshop in Cazalla de la Sierra in Spain (where my parents-in-law come from) and that’s where it all began officially.

Yumiko Boutique in New York. Photos: The Ballet Bag ©

TBB: Besides running Yumiko you also design ballet costumes. How did that come about?

Yumi: It all started because of David Dawson who was choreographing his first piece for Dutch National Ballet in 2000. He asked very casually if I could do the costume design for him. “Why me?” I asked and he told me “Well, you are already designing leotards for a bunch of people and it is the same principle. You are creative and this is an extension of that”. So I started from there and now I design for all of David’s ballets and I’ve also started receiving commissions from other choreographers like Jorma Elo, who is such a great guy to work with and Krzysztof Pastor, who is now Artistic Director in Poland.

Yumiko Takeshima's Costume for David Dawson's "The World According to Us". Inspired by Louis XIV, The Sun King. Photo: Costin Radu ©

TBB: What inspires your designs? How do you work with these choreographers to come up with a concept?

Yumi: It really depends on the choreographer. Someone like David has a very clear vision from the beginning and he gives me plenty of information to read first. For instance there’s a new ballet coming up for Dutch National Ballet this June and he wanted to do a Greek-inspired story, so he asked me to research Greek history and mythology, to have a look at sculptures and to develop a very modern look from there. Some people give me a lot of information and my job is to work with these elements and then to make it all simpler.

TBB: Do you also have to communicate with the set designer?

Yumi: Yes, we are all in contact usually. Whenever the designer has decided or come up with a concept for lighting or set, they send it to me so I know what’s going on in the scene, what colour it is going to be lit. The only thing we don’t really know is the choreography, we have to imagine how that fits, but since I work with David Dawson so regularly I can guess, which is great.

Yumiko Takeshima's Costumes for David Dawson's "The World According to Us". Inspired by Monet's Water Lilies. Photo: Costin Radu ©

TBB: A few months ago we chatted to Amy Westcott about the process of creating the costumes for Black Swan, which of course included plenty of Yumikos. She described the same process for film: she sat with the director, the cinematographer and stage designers and this team would put together all the various visions. So we guess designing for ballet is not unlike designing costumes for movies!

Yumi: Yes. Well, all that coordination happens thanks to technology. I live in Dresden and the set designer lives in Berlin, the lighting designer is in Holland and we can all send the images to each other via email, which is great, so everyone has the same information real-time.

TBB: Have you ever designed tutus?

Yumi: Yes, I’ve done tutus for Jorma twice. He gives me lots of freedom and doesn’t brief me too much, the only thing he will say is something like “I want tutus”, very quietly, so I came up with some non-traditional, funky tutus for him.

Jorma Elo's Suite Murder with costumes by Yumiko Takeshima. Left: Terhi Räsänen and Eemu Äikiö. Right: Salla Eerola, Maki Kirjonen, Terhi Räsänen and Eun-Ji Ha. Photos: Sakari Viika / Finnish National Ballet ©

TBB: We have had some discussions about the relevance and the future of tutus. For us they look very strange. Romantic skirts, as in Giselle, might have a contemporary feel but tutus are somewhat anachronistic.

Yumi: I see what you mean. But they make such a statement and bring such strong focus to the body! They are actually like having an extra leg, in terms of propelling, they give you another kind of movement.

TBB: In the Jorma Elo piece, how did you give a “different spin” on the traditional tutu?

Yumi: They were based on a traditional look, but I made a bunch of small bags, gathered them and sewn onto the waist. They were made out of stiff material, like wire material so they did these interesting effects. I designed them for Elo’s Suite Murder which he choreographed for Finnish National Ballet in Helsinki.

Guillem Brull Bover, Yusuke Hikichi, Eun-Ji Ha, Eemu Äikiö, Maki Kirjonen, Terhi Räsänen and Salla Eerola in Jorma Elo's Suite Murder with costumes by Yumiko Takeshima. Photo: Sakari Viika / Finnish National Ballet ©

TBB: How do you see Yumiko growing as a company?

Yumi: It’s going better than I ever thought. It’s incredible, I would love it if I could spread it not only among professional dancers but also to a larger public, people who work out, who do yoga, etc.

TBB: Can you tell us a little bit about the “Alicia”, the new design you are launching?

Yumi: Over the years I have been asked for v-necks, because that’s something I’ve never done. I decided to work very hard not only on the v-neck but in bringing a touch of kimono to the look. It took me so long to come up with this pattern; over a year because I tested it, I wore it myself and initially it wasn’t good enough. The “Alicia” has this little crossing in the front and at the back, a nod to how you cross over a kimono. And it’s a two-color piece. I also wanted to do it with different sleeves and styles, so that people could choose non-sleeve or short, long, 3/4, semi-unitard or unitard. There are all these options.

Alicia Leotard by Yumiko. Photos: Frank Leusner / Yumiko ©

TBB: Incidentally Daniil Simkin told us a while ago that there was a Yumiko design after him!

Yumi: That’s right, we’ve introduced it in the NY shop, it is not in the catalogue yet, but it’s one of my favourites. It took me about 8 months to come up with a good pattern. It is made of two-colour pieces, you can choose different colours for the top and bottom, it has a triangle shape at the back, a little bit hard to sew but it comes out very nice!

TBB: As a dancer, what are your plans for the future?

Yumi: I am trying to not tell anyone my age but I am quite up there…I was hesitating if I should do another season but I decided to continue because it gives me such pleasure to be on stage, plus the older I get, it becomes easier to dance and I can do so much more research in dance. I don’t know exactly for how long, but I just want to keep doing it for a little bit.

TBB: Are you very selective as you approach this different phase in your career? Do you focus on certain styles in the company’s repertory?

Yumi: Actually my director Aaron [Watkin] has given me options. For instance I don’t dance Sleeping Beauty anymore, nor Coppélia. In Dresden we have lots of choreographers coming in, making new work so there are still different challenges that I get to experience. If I can keep researching new movements and working with different choreographers, that would be great!

Yumiko Takeshima in David Dawson's Giselle. Photo: Costin Radu ©

TBB: Your designs and David Dawson’s ballets look very unique, they are minimalist and modern. How do you see the future of ballet generally, do you see it going the minimalist route or will the past still play a big role?

Yumi: Ballet has developed so much, especially technically and physically, in terms of what people can do these days. So it seems body has taken over the costume bit more, the way I see it. Before this evolution, sets, designs and costumes were a very important part of dancing but now more and more people have started to focus on physical expression and that means the costume has to be simpler in order to suit the individual dancer’s physicality and expression. I think it is helping the movement to come up more, when you do simpler designs.

It also seems that when dancers are more exposed they naturally tend to work harder with their muscles and every part of their body. They know nothing is hidden under a costume so they also discover more movement within themselves, you can see every contour, which is interesting. For instance, Russian dancers, when they join Western companies and they start to do more contemporary choreography they are very exposed, I can see them develop so fast, they really change the approach to their dance, it is incredible to see that.

Yumiko Takeshima's costumes for David Dawson's Giselle, Act 2. Photos: Costin Radu ©

TBB: How do you feel about big stage productions and lavish costumes in ballet?

Yumi: Well you know what, I really like it, personally, I love big productions and costumes in general, like the Swan Lake costumes, I love them. I think they should stay, there should be options…

TBB: Would you ever design a full Swan Lake?

Yumi: I’d love to design for those grand ballets one day.


Yumiko is giving away TWO exclusive Alicia leotards to celebrate the new model launch, in stores from Friday 1 April. Lucky winners will receive made to order pieces in the size they wear.

How to enter:

Use comment form below or email us at theballetbag [at] gmail.com by 21 April and let us know:

What is your favorite ballet costume and why? (add image links if you like)

You can pick any ballet costume, from traditional glitzy tutus to the Forsythe look. Just tell us why that one catches your eye. Entries from all over the globe are welcome. Be creative & good luck!

We started The Ballet Bag in April 2009 with the mission to prove that ballet is not stuffy, old fashioned and inaccessible; that it is quite the opposite: relevant, fresh and topical. With the aim to Give Ballet a New Spin we try to show it under a different light. When writing our capsule biographies, ballet fact cards, review roundups and commentary on social media, we cross it over with other art forms and cultural references (pop culture, cinema, rock music – ie. other things we love!).

52 Comments

  • December 2, 2011

    Madison

    My favorite costume would have to be, the costumes in the ballet Harlenquinade. they are a different breed of costumes. It breaks the stereotype of flowly,pure, feminine tutus and bodices. I like the Harlequinade costumes because they are different , and very interesting. The colors are bright and loud and the designs are new and edgy. Totally different from your Balanchine and swan lake costumes. the costumes also represent The ballet so well and bring a little bit of fun, and imagination to the story.

  • [...] a favourite ballet costume. In this slideshow we look at some of your top choices. And some of the quirkiest ones [...]

  • April 22, 2011

    Ally

    Although I thoroughly enjoy costumes from classical ballets, I would have to say that Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet, After the Rain, had costumes that I will always remember. In the first part of the ballet, the dancers are dressed in gray to make a connection between the backdrop covered in raindrops. Part two of the ballet, or the pas de deux section, is what really stood out to me. Even though the dancers are dressed in simple costumes, it captures the movement between the relationship of the man and the woman. I had the opportunity to see New York City Ballet perform this ballet at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and I will never forget the deep connection made between the dancers. I was honored to see one of the original cast members, Wendy Whelan, perform. These simple costumes capture the beautiful lines of the human body.

  • April 21, 2011

    Emily

    The Mariinsky’s version of the Firebird lead princess(from 1971) costume is my favorite I love the almost armor like qualities added to the shoulders and torso of the costume, and yet the designer kept it so romantic as it flows with the dancer. I hope one day I will get to dance this role and maybe in a similar costume to this one.I am not sure who the designer is(I wish I did).

    I have 1 black yumiko (Easter present ) and a dip dye (birthday present) on the way and I adore the alicia model and want many more yumikos since each yumiko is unique like each dancer

  • April 21, 2011

    Emilia

    Hi Mercedes – the beautiful Black Swan tutu worn by Nat in Black Swan was designed by the Mulleavy sisters (from the label Rodarte) – in case you want the full story on the movie’s costume designs check out this i/w:

    http://www.theballetbag.com/2010/10/12/black-swan-interview-costume-designer-amy-westcott/

  • April 18, 2011

    Mercedes

    I don´t know who designed it, but I really love the black swan costume that Natalie Portman wears at the movie whit the same name…. so classy and elegant, love it!

  • April 18, 2011

    classicalballetteacher

    My favorite costume right now is the corps de ballet’s skirt leotard from Balanchine’s Square dance. I think PNB gets it just right with the perfect shade of light blue and the panel chiffon skirt.

    http://www.pnb.org/AboutPNB/Repertory/SquareDance.aspx

  • April 15, 2011

    lauramac95

    I’ve never had the opportunity to see “Jewels” in performance, but based on pictures I’ve seen, the dresses from “Rubies” are just beautiful. Red is my favorite color anyway, and those costumes are such a bold, pure red — the prettiest shade of red in the world IMO.

    Also, the “Giselle” costume above gave me a chill when I saw it. It perfectly combines the images of a bride and a ghost… amazing work!

  • April 14, 2011

    MaySze

    Tutus from Australian Ballet’s divergence is one of the best costume that I ever seen. It was designed by Vanessa Leyonhjelm in 1994. And now, when I looked at it again, I still think the design is very up-to-dated. It is well made tutu that can impress me when I first saw it. It’s chic, contemporary, beautiful and yet practical. The ballet and the tutu work so well together, the ballet helps to showcase the beautiful tutu and yet the tutu helps to bring the essence of the ballet. For me, it’s my favorite!
    http://www.behindballet.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/fb_divergence.jpg

  • April 12, 2011

    Caroline Mac

    One of my absolute favorite tutus I’ve seen is the royal blue tutu worn in Oregon Ballet Theatre’s production of Raymonda. The color is beautiful and the cut is wonderfully designed. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful tutus I’ve seen.

    http://www.obt.org/gallery_pages/2007-2008/russian/russian_08_1.htm

  • April 11, 2011

    Parisa M.

    I love the female costumes from Serenade by George Balanchine. The costume is so simple, yet has a great effect on the ballet. The costume is not only beautiful on its own but it fits so well with the choreography and under the lighting. I love how the skirt just flows with every movement the dancer makes. It makes it that much more beautiful.

    http://www.ballet.co.uk/images/nycb/pk_serenade_misa_kuranaga_patricia_delgado_arms_blue_tuile_500.jpg

  • April 11, 2011

    Emily

    I love the costumes for Ben Stevenson’s Four Last Songs. They are just nude unitards but they really allow you to focus on the lines and shapes of the dance and as the lighting changes the costumes take on the color of the lights and give the same effect as a costume change so as the mood changes from love to death the costumes always reflect the mood.

  • April 10, 2011

    Emilia

    Yes Maria, we got your entry, thanks. Just saw your Tumblr post on newspaper tutus, they’re cool :)

  • April 10, 2011

    maria

    i love the look of newspaper tutus.it is a new sensational material used, they flow with the body of the dancer. last week in art class i descided to make one, it didn’t work out as planned because the newspaper was to heavy,so then i put light wire under and it seemed to hold up even though noone would be able to wear it.anyways news paper tutus are incedible sight to be seen

  • April 10, 2011

    maria

    hi
    is this how to enter to win the leotard?
    i only have one yumiko and desperatly want more!!
    some of my friends have the coolest color combinations that i could only dream of getting

  • April 10, 2011

    Jennifer Nelson

    I am a very traditional person, and like classic styles. For this reason, I love Natalie Portman’s costume as the Black Swan. It is a beautiful, classic tutu and very elegant. The intensity of her makeup also compliments the look.

  • April 10, 2011

    Molly

    My favorite costume :)

    http://www.ballet-dance.com/200803/articles/images/KirovLaBayadere.jpg

    I think that this scene from La Bayadere is so beautiful. It is such a classic and simple look and when you see all the girls in their perfect, white tutus I think that its just breathtaking.
    ps. sorry the link is so long!

  • April 9, 2011

    seenfromafar

    From your own site, one of my favorite pictures of this dress:
    http://www.theballetbag.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Onegin-2.jpg

    How can any woman not want to at least try on this red dress? Yes, there are a lot of costumes I love, but this one… this is so close to being real… but is still a dance costume. In this seen, we now see not a young girl, but a grown woman, elegant, sensual, real, and aware of her place. Yet this dress…. I mean, if your former flame was coming to town, wouldn’t this be the dress you’d want to be seen in? No wonder Onegin realizes his loss! This dress is perfect for that sentiment, perfect for the women Tatiana has become, fits the time period/setting, and yet, is still covet-able by the rest of us… truly gorgeous.

  • April 9, 2011

    Keiko S.

    http://tutulove.wordpress.com/2010/08/27/lilac-fairies-and-lavender-dreams/

    I love this tutu for its elegance and simplicity.

  • April 9, 2011

    Jocelyn

    I love the classical tutu. It is long and elegant. Tutus were used by royalty and they make me feel royal,too. My favorite classical tutu are the tutus used La Bayadere.(in the dream scene) They are simple yet elegant.At my dance school this year we got to wear these costumes and they were sooooooo cool!!!!!!!!!!! I love wearing the costume this year and I hope this will help me to win that leotard.

  • April 7, 2011

    Raechel S.

    This is my favorite ballet costume! It is the costume of Giselle in the second act when she becomes a Willi. ‘Giselle’ has always been my favorite ballet and my dream role as a dancer. Giselle’s character is so innocent and pure, and playing the role of Giselle is such a joy!
    The costume itself is also beautiful. The way that the tulle skirt flows so gracefully really gives you the illusion that you are seeing the ghost of Giselle. The white, muted colors of the costume can also pertain to the pain that Giselle has gone through, which really makes the costume relevant to the story.
    Overall, every time i catch a glimpse of this costume, it gives my chills! (sorry for the long link)

    http://calitreview.com/images/sfb_02102011_Kochetkova_Giselle.jpg

  • April 7, 2011

    Rebecca Brady

    I especially love the costumes designed by Maurice Sendak for Pacific Northwest ballet’s production of the Nutcracker. My favorite is This one: http://blog.seattlepi.com/alltheworldsastage/files/library/chapman-nut.jpg

    They are all so artistic and inspirational, but I really love the different creative approach/ interpretation.

  • April 6, 2011

    Lea Gonzalez

    I love the yellow desing in David Dawson’s ballet, is very unique and looks like freedom
    http://www.theballetbag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Giselle-1st-act.jpg

  • April 6, 2011

    Bryn

    I have three favorites but they are from the same ballet, Jewels by Balanchine. Each costume represents its own section perfectly, the music and the dancing all work in harmony with the costumes themselves.
    I love the diamonds costumes because they are so classic, and just simple white tutus with a tiara of course. http://oberon481.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341c4e3853ef0120a8ca0cd2970b-800wi
    I love the emeralds costumes because of the romantic length and the color. I feel like green is a color you don’t see as often on stage, and it looks absolutely gorgeous and should be shown more often. Romantic is also my favorite length because of the emphasis it places om the feet of the dancer. http://seattlest.com/attachments/seattle_michael2/PNBJewelsEmeralds2.jpg
    I love the rubies costumes because they are so modern, as oppose to the other two which take the word classical to a T. They are also so fun and flirty to go with the ballet, and they are a cherry red so that they really pop on the stage. http://seattlest.com/attachments/seattle_michael2/PNBJewelsRubies1.jpg

  • April 6, 2011

    Amy

    My favorite costume would have to be Giselle- 1st act. :)

  • April 6, 2011

    Megan Y.

  • April 6, 2011

    Ellen Barlow

    This is a tough one. I think it’s tied between Balanchine’s Serenade and Balanchine’s Rubies from Jewels. The long romantic tutus used in Serenade are so elegant and match the music perfectly. The simple and few layers of blue tulle move with the dancers as they move to Tchaikovsky’s brilliant Serenade in C, exposing their grace and beauty. I’ve never felt so beautiful as when the curtain opened on us and we had our hands blocking the light to our faces and were wearing those gorgeous costumes. The Rubies costumes are simply decadent. The color is rich, the skirts are short and sensual, and the curtain opens on dancers drenched in red. So gorgeous.

  • April 6, 2011

    Meghan Fitzpatrick

    I have a tie between my two favorite costumes. The first one is the costume used in Balanchine’s Serenade. I think that color blue looks wonderful on everyone and both on and off stage there is a certain ethereal quality to them. I also love the costumes from Rubies in Balanchine’s Jewels. Even though this costume is completely different than the costume in Serenade, I still love it. There is something just so eye catching about these costumes and they fit so well with the music that it is almost impossible not to fall in love with the costumes when watching Rubies, unless you are a die hard classical ballet lover and do not like more contemporary ballets.

  • April 6, 2011

    Caitlin Herring

    My favorite costumes are the ones in Emeralds from Balanchine’s Jewels. I think they are a beautiful shades of green and capture the look of an emerald perfectly.

  • April 6, 2011

    Alicia F

    I have so many favorite tutus its hard to choose! But I recently saw this picture in Pointe magazine and fell in love. It is so elaborate, yet it looks so simple. The detail is amazing, I can only imagine how many hours went into creating this tutu. It is the perfect Aurora tutu!

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/features/alice-in-wonderland-the-ballet-2187778.html?action=Gallery&ino=4

  • April 6, 2011

    Olivia

    For me it is definitely the Clara dress in PNB’s Nutcracker. There are costumes I have fallen in love with as an adult too, but none in the same way. As a kid I got really familiar with how it worked (at the time I thought it was fairly complicated – the dress/nightgown layer and the way it was almost sheer in some scenes because of the lighting) and I just thought it was the most magic costume out there – it still holds onto a bit of that when I go back to see that production every couple of years.

    Here’s a link to a photo: http://subscribe.seattlemag.com/0p184b18be231/qa-eileen-kelly-pnbs-clara-in-the-nutcracker/ Wish I could find one in motion, but unfortunately no such luck.

  • April 6, 2011

    melissa

    A single favorite? That’s tough to come up with! I love detail work on the older classical tutus. It is amazing to see the gorgeous details up close and to know so much has gone into creating and maintaining these costumes. So much of the detail is not visible from the audience.

  • April 6, 2011

    Julie Barban

    Love the costuming in Matjash Mrozewski’s A Delicate Battle; simple, beautiful, stunning!

  • April 4, 2011

    Elle

    My favourite costume is the zebra from Penguin Cafe http://www.photographersdirect.com/buyers/stockphoto.asp?imageid=2789941
    Its just full of character, and looks elegant too. Fun but sassy.

  • April 4, 2011

    MuLan

    Swan Lake…I am in Love with Traditions~ Tutus have always been the staple of Ballet & the styles I have seen Odette/Odile wear are not only Classic & Flattering it takes the Feathers to give each dancer Her Moments & Swanesque~ It’s the only lead role I Truly Desire to do someday~ ^_^

  • April 4, 2011

    Jazzi

    My favorite ballet costume although a very difficult choice has to be the simple elegance of Balanchine;’s four tempermants is my favorite. It really exposes the dancers to where you cannot hide behind layers of tule or distracting sparkles. He was one of the first to do this and i really think it is ingenious.
    http://www.voiceofdance.com/images/HPImage/vodimages/SFB09_FourTemps1.jpg

  • April 4, 2011

    Molly

    I am a ballet student in Pittsburgh, PA. Each year, we perform the Nutcracker, and while I am aware that there are so many other ballets out there with lavish and eccentric costumes, I love the “magic” of tradition that these costumes have. Watching from the wings, when I see the scenery and lighting change to a darker blueish color, I always get excited for the next scene. As the girls at my school dance enter in the pure white costumes, I cannot help to be fascinated due to the similarity to a winter wonderland. They really look like snowflakes! My favorite part by far is when the snow queen comes on in her glittering white tutu, letting the subtle snowflake costumes be part of the backdrop, a compliment to her own dazzling tutu. You can’t keep your eyes off her! So while I understand that there are many costumes with more sparkles and modern touches, the costumes in the Nutcracker’s snow scene are my personal favorite due to the magic they bring to stage each year- the magic that will continue to inspire other dancers to work hard and become snowflakes someday… just like me.

  • April 2, 2011

    Nicole

    http://dancenet.s3.amazonaws.com/images/i354/550799.7461.jpg

    I love that while this remains a modern take on a classical tutu, it does not push the envelope too far. At times when costumers attempt to be so innovative the costume becomes more eye catching than the dancer themselves. It’s nice to see here that they were able to design something unique without calling so much attention to their work over what’s being presented on stage.

  • April 2, 2011

    Julie

    The costumes designed by Christian Lacroix for the Paris Opera Ballet’s Jewels. All three are amazing, the diamonds are absolutely beautiful, the color green he used for emeralds is so pretty but the rubies costume is my fave. It’s so gorgeous you could almost wear it as a dress.

  • April 2, 2011

    Emilia

    Hi Alexandra,

    it’s because we use comment moderation, sometimes it takes a couple of hours until they get posted. But it’s there now. Many thanks for the entry, also got your email. Best of luck :)

  • April 2, 2011

    Alexandra Weir

    How come it’s not posting my comment?

  • April 2, 2011

    Alexandra Weir

    ABT’s Midsummer Night’s dream. I performed in this ballet with Ballet West, and I fell in love with the costumes.
    Especially this one.Although this costume was “The Dream” With Ethan Stiefel and Alessandra Ferri, reminded me of Midsummers, and I think this costume is outstandingly beautiful. It has the scarf and the flowers draped all down it.
    The dress flows with every move and sparkles to all the audience. It takes my breathe away and I dream of wearing it!!!

    Btw…I bought a Yumiko recently, I will NEVER buy anything else. Amazing :)

  • April 2, 2011

    Natalie Schull

    I really love costumes for the jewel fairies in Sleeping Beauty. They are so elegant and dainty and are very pretty!

  • April 1, 2011

    mdrivel

    The costumes for Helgi Tomasson’s new ballet for SFB were gorgeous. Here’s a link to a photo from the NYT review:
    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2011/03/08/arts/SUBJPBALLET/SUBJPBALLET-popup.jpg
    And a link to a different pic from another section of the ballet, from the California Literary Review:
    http://calitreview.com/images/sfb_03012011_TRIO_Kochetkova_Nedvigin.jpg
    Beautiful fabric, beautiful on the dancers as they moved.

  • April 1, 2011

    Nina Werdine

    RB’s Aurora’s costume for the Rose Adagio. It is the perfect shade of pink and just represents all that Aurora is at that stage in the ballet: Pure, girly, young, sweet, romantic, and above all, a magical princess!

  • April 1, 2011

    Emilia

    Just fixed link for you :) We actually saw this costume in London during V&A Ballets Russes exhibition – we wonder how the dancers negotiated it!!!! it’s rad indeed. Tx for entry.

  • April 1, 2011

    Adult Beginner

    Oh, holy-moly, looks like the link didn’t work. My apologies! Ug! The French Manager by Picasso is the rad-est costume evar!

  • April 1, 2011

    Adult Beginner

    This!

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_CwSYMd9KuCE/Sd1lBRT2jkI/AAAAAAAADtY/tLEBlM8pPaY/s1600-h/DSC_1228.JPG

    Oh man,I hope that link works.
    It’s called The French Manager, designed by Picasso for the ballet, Parade. It’s amazing. I have no idea what the ballet looks like, but in the photo you can see that all that is visible of the dancer is the legs and one arm, the other being faked as part of the exaggerated costume structure, holding a pipe in a jaunty way. So, all the dancing must be in the legs and that one real arm. The costume, with it’s two faces, one scary and one scarier, lays the character out in such a way that the dancer must surpass, the dancer must wear this costume lest the costume wear him.

  • March 31, 2011

    Juliane

    My favorite costume would have to be from Serenade! They’re very simple yet so elegant. It almost seems that they’re integrated into the choreography because of the way they linger after different movements. The way dancers swoosh them just works so well with the piece! Those long, pale blue tutus make the ballet even more perfect! A great example of music, choreography, costumes, and even lighting coming together to make a glorious ballet!

  • March 31, 2011

    Carahe

    The Australian Ballet has this series, Bodytorque, (in particular the one choreographed by Alice Topp, “Trace”) and the costumes for it are nude, and thus almost invisible, yet so integral to the ballets, because they are sort of shredded and layered and the choreography completely incorporates and relies on the costumes because in the pas de deux both dancers sort of wend in and out of their partners’ costumes as if they were crawling in and out of each others’ skin in a really intimate, sexy (not creepy) way, which totally make it my favorite set of costumes.