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Costumes are roused in SDT's Sleeping Beauty
WITH tutu bases that were created in Japan, and scenic cloths painted in Melbourne, the costumes and set for the Singapore Dance Theatre's Sleeping Beauty - which will open the company's 2015 performance season - are a reminder of just how costumes also make a ballet.
"Highlights will be the costumes for the fabulous characters that we are introduced to in the story, from the terrifying Carabosse through to the exceptional Lilac Fairy and Bluebird on to the completely adorable White Cat and, of course, with all the Princesses and Princes and Kings and Queens in between," describes Tracy Grant Lord, the costume designer.
New Zealand-born and based in Australia, Ms Lord was invited to design her first ballet for The Royal New Zealand Ballet several years ago, although she had already established a career working in theatre and opera.
Since then, she's designed for 10 ballets. This is the first she's done for Sleeping Beauty though - when SDT's artistic director Janek Schergen asked her for the 2010 production. "I was asked to create a 'very beautiful' ballet and we were able to take advantage of the range of exquisite fabrics available in Singapore," she adds.
When SDT first performed Sleeping Beauty in 2010, it was the biggest and most ambitious project SDT had undertaken. But the 2010 version was done with rented scenery and costumes.
The key difference between designing costumes for a ballet compared to other stage shows is the extraordinary range and amount of movement that a ballet dancer's body experiences during the course of a single performance, notes Ms Lord.
"They have to have complete and total flexibility within their costume for the range of movements they are required to do. They are also involved often in partnering, so the costumes have to allow for this also, for example where partner's hands may be placed, or a good grip needs to be made, there can be no resistance from the costume."
And then there's the durability needed for the costumes to survive the performances and storage.
For the classic ballets of all time, few hold the same romance as Sleeping Beauty.
SDT performs a version based on the original choreography by Marius Petipa, and promises to be a visual spectacle of music and dance, with the costumes and the lush score by Peter Tchaikovsky.
The SDT first performed this version in 2010, a milestone moment as it demonstrated the company's maturity and ability to stage a fully classical version.
Sleeping Beauty by the Singapore Dance Theatre will be performed from March 12 - 15, at the Esplanade Theatre. Tickets from $30-$70 are available from www.sistic.com