Best of Costumes – Our Readers Pick Their Favorites

We recently wrote about how many different elements have to come together for one of *THOSE* perfect evenings at the ballet. Designs and, in particular, costumes, play a big part in creating a mood, helping dancers express themselves and inhabit their roles. They come in all shapes, colours and fabrics: from vaporous Romantic skirts to Balanchine’s Black & White “leotard ballets” and everything in between, including tutus, of course. Despite being notoriously impractical, classical tutus have been around for over 100 years and they continue to retain their allure. When we asked costume designer extraordinaire Yumiko Takeshima how she felt about them, she said:

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…

We also asked each of you to pick a favourite ballet costume. In this slideshow we look at some of your top choices. And some of the quirkiest ones too!

Yumiko Alicia Leotard Promotion Results:

Thanks to everyone who participated in this competition! We received many wonderful entries via email and comment. As usual, it was hard to pick only two entries, yet, after much deliberation we are pleased to announce the winners:

1) Wiebke Schuster who emailed the following entry:

My absolute favorite costume lately, is from the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of Mark Morris’ Pacific, currently part of the Contemporary 4 program.  I love how everything underlines the heritage of the Northwest, from the music to the colors of the costumes, to the movement and how the fabric moves. The skirts for the male dancers, maybe a gutsy choice but then again – it’s Mark Morris! Talk about gutsy! The man is seriously one of the great ones in our generations who is not afraid to take a risk to push the development of classical ballet as well as modern dance. The costumes might be simple, but the purity and flow complement the complex structure of the choreography perfectly well. They flatter the beautiful dancers of PNB, who have such striking athleticism and glowing artistry (…)

2) Ellen Barlow who posted the following comment:

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.

Congratulations Ladies! We’ll be in touch by email soon.

If your entry was not picked this time, don’t worry. Check back for further Yumiko promotions soon!

With special thanks to all ballet companies credited in this slideshow.

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!).


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  • May 6, 2011


    Good point – although we did mention some of them, we glossed over others when copying the quotes from readers – we’ll have to owe one to Rose, Walker & Co.!

  • May 6, 2011

    Katherine Barber

    Hi ladies, love your post, as usual, but the costume DESIGNERS are artists in their own right and merit a mention by name, don’t you think? e.g. Jurgen Rose for Onegin, David Walker for The Dream.