Archive for November, 2011

Costumes

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Ballet’s origins date back to the majestic era of the 15th century Italian Renaissance Courts. Ballet costumes during this period were made of extravagant cloths with heavy brocades, huge ornaments and head pieces that restricted movement. As a result, during the 18th century, a shorter version of ballet skirts was introduced and caught the attention of ballet critics and audiences alike. Ballerinas donned calf length ballet costumes accompanied by pointed satin shoes making it easier for them to perform. Men on the other hand, wore tights and long sleeved shirts. These shirts were usually covered with shorter jackets. The sleeves of the ballet costumes for men and women were determined upon by the theme of the ballet. As a result, there were various styles of ballet costumes, a tradition that can be seen even today!
South Bay Ballet’s elaborate Nutcracker costumes – from Mother Ginger’s immense skirt that conceals a dozen children underneath to Dream Clara’s multilayered tutu embellished with hundreds of crystals – were created under the original direction of celebrated local set designer, Jenny Tomich. The fanciful costumes were brought to life for the inaugural 2004 performance by many trained hands headed by Diane Padelford, Diane Fresquez and Janelle Ozeran. Each season, most of the costumes receive small makeovers as parts begin to wear and fray; as well as new costumes fashioned for South Bay Ballet’s ever-increasing company of dancers. Measuring, cutting, sewing, ironing, and fitting an array of tutus, vests, jackets, coats and dresses, takes hundreds of hours of work by our faithful volunteers.

Understudying

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

What exactly is an understudy? An understudy is one who performs in a smaller role or roles while also training alongside cast members with a lead or feature parts. Understudies often fill a vital job in a production if called upon due to illness, injury or any number of unexpected events rendering a lead dancer unable to perform.
Being cast as an understudy is a privilege. It gives a dancer the opportunity to learn from those more experienced by watching and listening. Understudying is part of the process in developing a higher level of skill and the possibility of growing into a part. It is not however a guarantee the dancer will step in at intermission, should injury strike, or stake claim to the role in the future. Being an understudy is an opportunity for a dancer to improve.
As a member of the audience, you will more often than not ever know who the understudies are for a given production. All of the lead dancers in this year’s Nutcracker have at one time or another been an understudy. While all of the understudies in this year’s Nutcracker have been given the opportunity to hone their craft, even if they never have the chance to perform the role they have understudied.

Casting

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

South Bay Ballet’s Nutcracker provides an exciting opportunity for Lauridsen Ballet Centre students of all ages to perform in a professional atmosphere on stage. For many, it is an experience they will treasure for a lifetime. For others, it is so captivating that performing becomes an integral part of their childhood years. Participation requires a substantial time commitment from both parents and dancers. Being cast a part of the production provides a critical real-world environment of performing which is a key element in any dancer’s experience, knowledge and pre-professional training.
Casting is based on providing a challenge for every dancer while offering a role commensurate with their individual skill level. Every company member is given a part; some more than one, while others still have an opportunity for an understudy position.