News: Backstage: How costumes and lights give dance life

Monday 25 April 2016 by Denise Drake

Northern Ballet 1984

From lighting and costume to the tactics of touring, dance offers a unique set of challenges.

Costume design and production tends to be a more involved process in dance, needing to take into account not just the look and fit of an item of clothing, but how it will respond to the considerable wear and tear of performance. As Head of Wardrobe at Northern Ballet, Kim Brassley has overseen the costumes for dozens of full-length productions and mixed bills over the years, from classical works such as 2011’s Giselle to modern presentations such as 1984.

“We try and make the principals their own costumes, but then when you’ve got a big corps [de ballet] scene, if you’ve got eight girls in it and eight boys, we probably make 11 or 12 costumes to allow for the different heights and sizes of the different dancers.”

Emma Wilson – Director of Technical & Production at Sadler’s Wells – and her team “pay particular attention to floors”, from flamenco floors with microphones fitted underneath them, to slippery hip hop floors that facilitate the spinning of bodies, while lighting designer Guy Hoare who designs for dance, theatre, opera and installation work, reveals that he “can be more prescriptive with a set designer [on a dance production] than I would necessarily dare to be with a theatre designer.”

Read the full article in The Stage 18 April 2016

Northern Ballet’s 1984 runs at Sadler’s Wells, London from May 24 – 28 2016

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