Get a Look into the Costume Shop for the Creation of Craig Davidson's World Premiere

For the world premiere of Remembrance/Hereafter on Atlanta Ballet's Black Swan program, choreographer Craig Davidson enlisted the help of Kate Venables for the costume and scenic design. A former dancer with Royal New Zealand Ballet, Kate is able to tap into that experience when creating costumes that provide dancers with freedom of movement and feel good on the body. In addition to her costume design work for ballet companies, she is a costume technician for film, working on projects like Elysium, The Hobbit, and Spectral. She also works as a motion capture artist for movies such as The Hunger Games, Avatar, Planet of the Apes, The BFG, Ghost in the Shell, and The Jungle Book.

Kate was inspired by the story behind Craig’s piece Remembrance/Hereafter, which explores the memories we hold after people pass on, the imprints they leave behind. It reminded Kate of a dear friend she lost and the special love of flowers they both shared. Based on this idea, Kate decided to use a transfer technique called bundle dying to imbue the fabric of the costumes with the colors, essence, and textures of flowers, which we give to one another as symbols of love, compassion, and sympathy.

The Atlanta Ballet Costume Shop spent quite a bit of time testing out the process to develop the right graphic balance and colors that Kate envisioned for her designs. The team started with a pre-treated silk/Lycra blend on which they skillfully arranged rose and butterfly pea petals (generously donated by Petals A Florist), Eucalyptus leaves, and onion skins. They then layered a piece of muslin on top before tightly rolling the fabric, tying it off with string, and steaming it for 2 hours.

After two weeks, the bundles were unfurled to reveal a kaleidoscope of organic patterns and colors. It was incredibly important for Kate to use a natural dying process and use real elements to convey the story of Craig's work. The final costumes offer a sense of relaxed classicism with flowing, gentle lines.

Photo by Shelby Gordon.
Photo by Shelby Gordon.

See these amazing works of art on stage during Atlanta Ballet's Black Swan, March 16-18, 2018 at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre!