Last August I was asked if I would consider collaborating on writing an original ballet as well as visually designing it. Being that the academy, Dance East Ballet Academy is local and 2 of my young kids were attending, how could I say no.
Dana Hart, who runs the academy, has a heart of gold and can inspire kids to attempt things I can hardly pronounce i.e. – Croisé, Pirouette, Échappé etc.
The story revolves around the struggle between a young girl, Sophia, and her Mother.
Taking place at the eccentric Grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve, Sophia searches for a lost gift, she stumbles across a a magic door in Grandmother’s bookcase. The portal leads to the secret world that is inhabited by Gremlins, Spiderwebs, Evil Witchy Things their Queen and the Mastermind Stephen Von Breckenbocker. Sophia must summon her strength from the Christmas Angels, Faith, Wisdom, and Perserverance. They help Sophia see the qualities in which her Mother has struggled to instill. Will Sophia be able to wrangle from the dusty grasps of the Evil Queen and Brockenbecker? Or will her spirit be swallowed up by confusion and fear?
Pretty cool stuff for a Christmas Ballet don’t ya think?
here is a nice little documentary of the production, showing rehearsals, costuming, make up and a few highlights of the ballet. the documentary was filmed and produced by Rebecca Elayne Dixon
For me, the challenge was how to create characters that help tell the visual story without any dialogue. Designing costumes that enhance movement of the dancers and not hamper it proved to be the biggest challenge. Seeing a costume on paper and on a body was one thing, but if that character couldn’t move like they needed to, things had to be modified.
below are the plans and progress shots of the magic bookcase-
this is a rehearsal shot of the Gremlins (my favorite characters) streaming out of the bookcase and into Grandmother’s house.