Monday, August 24, 2009

En Pointe

Ballet is way cooler than you think.

I started volunteering for the ballet over three years ago, and while giving my time back to a beautiful, remarkable art form, I've learned a lot about the craft I can only admire. I've been enamored with ballet ever since.

My latest brush with ballet came thanks to the monthly Cincinnati Women Bloggers meeting. After a casual post mortem on BlogHer '09, we were treated to a tour of one of my favorite parts of the ballet - the costume closet.

The costumes are designed, constructed and maintained by a mother-daughter team and a few other helping hands. This crew invests hours upon hours in a single, hand tucked tutu. Each costume concept is borne out of an involved process that includes smaller, model versions of the finished product. I believe the red model above is of a costume I saw in a Balanchine piece in May. The seamstresses hand sew each, tiny, sparkling gem on every. single. costume.

The ballet makes some of its money by renting out its costumes to dance companies across the country. The Cincinnati Ballet owns costumes dating back from the 1970s - they're all kept in subterranean caverns that originally kept beer barrels back in Cincinnati's brewing heydays.

The Cincinnati Ballet kicks off its 09/10 season on September 10 with its New Works series. New Works is a collection of new pieces choreographed by people right here in Cincinnati. I always love New Works because it showcases more edgy pieces - dance movements that contradict the idea of traditional ballet. Those funky arrangements paired with modern music makes for a great introduction to ballet.

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