End of 2017-2018 Season

Lots has happened since our last entry, someday we will do a flashback.  Even though the season is over we are still busy in the costume shop.  We are working on a few new things.

Revamping NUTCRACKER which is an old friend that we visit when we have time.  Right now we are making new soldier belts for the 16 soldiers who battle the rats and win.


Vinyl belts ready to be completed.

RUBIES, a segment of George Balanchine’s JEWELS, is part of our March program.  In partnership with The Dance Theatre of Harlem.


Around 150 tabs for the Ladies skirts

We are also returning THE GREAT GATSBY to the PBT stage with new choreographer Jorden Morris, new composer, Carl Davis and set and costume designer Peter Farmer.  Wonderful line up for a great and timeless ballet.


Costume sketches from Peter Farmer

As if there wasn’t enough to do I get lots of demands from the grandchildren for costumes.  I made Kalli a tutu while she looked over my shoulder and could not wait til it was done.  High pressure.



Aspiring ballerina in the garden!  


It is almost here.  Opening night of SWAN LAKE is Friday, February 16, 2018.  One of my favorite ballets.  We are especially excited this year because we have all new scenery designed by Peter Farmer.  He designed the costumes for us in 1994 but we could not have new sets at that time.  Now the production will be perfect with the scenery and costumes by the same designer.  Peter once said that the scenery was the backdrop for a painting and the costumes were a part of the foreground.  Now our painting will be complete.  Can’t wait to see everything together.

I said that Peter designed the costumes in 1994, but all the costumes are not that old.  For instance we just built two new Siegfried costumes for Alejandro Diaz.  We also replaced all the over skirts on the Guest costumes, added new tulle and new sleeves.  New sleeves for the Jester.  Six new Court costumes.  New Guest shirts for the men.  New elastic for all the Swans.


Alejandro slipped his jacket on between rehearsals

There are also a lot of shoes and boots in this production.  Joanna had to strip Luca’s boots and repaint them beige.  There are pointe shoes, ballet slippers, character shoes, ballet boots and character boots in this production.  And they are all different colors.




The first step is to use a leather prepare and a deglazer  to prep the boots for painting.

Joanna is painting them with  a leather spray paint to match the color of the tights.


It will all be worth it to see it onstage.  Like I said, “Can’t Wait”.


Summer is almost over !

Summer was very busy this year.  We had two rental going out,  one was BEAUTY AND THE BEAST which we purchased from San Francisco Ballet a few years ago.  It is a beautiful production designed by Jose Verona.  I loved working on BEAUTY there were a few costumes missing from the production and we recreated them from the original sketches that we received from the Dance Museum in San Francisco.  They were the most magical ones in the production.  Beauty’s beautiful dress that the Beast gave her, the Beast prince costume when he becomes a Prince.

beauty and the beast2

Alexandra Kochis as Beauty and Alejandro Diaz as the Beast

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The fittings at Texas Ballet Theatre went well for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.  It was nice to get it out again and share it with a new audience.

We also rented our brand new GISELLE out for the first time to the Joffrey Ballet.  Fittings are occuring even as we speak.  We made two new Albrecht jackets that we never finished for our production, lucky them.  I hope the fittings go real well.  We made it user friendly.


Julia Erickson as Bathilde, Steven Annegarn as the Duke, Alexandra Kochis as Giselle and Christopher Budzynski as Albrecht

We have also been repairing and rebuilding parts of DRACULA that we open our season with.  Always something happening at the Ballet.

If you are in Fort Worth or Chicago in the next few months treat yourself to the BALLET!

NSAL’s Red Rose National Award Gala

Saturday, June 3rd was the National Society of Arts and Letters Awards Gala. It was a wonderful evening with performances by many talented young artists. The judges for the competition were: Steven Caras, Maurice Brandon Curry, Cynthia Harvey and Christopher Wheeldon.


Judges and Winners (Masanori, 2nd from Left)

Masanori Takiguchi, a student from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School won the honorable mention award.  Seventeen dancers were in the competition from all over the United States.  The scholarships they win can contribute to their careers in the Arts.


All NSAL contestants with the Scottish Bagpiper, Bill Paul.




Remembering Peter

IMG_2164May 10th, David and I attended Peter’s memorial service at St. Paul’s Church in Covent Garden.  It was a wonderful service for a wonderful person.  Tributes were given by Wayne Eagling, Kevin O’Hare, Maina Gielgud and Monica Mason.  Black Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake– Tchaikovsky was played by Roman Simovic (violin), Linn Rothstein (piano).Adagio Giselle Act II – Adam was played by Milena Simovic (viola) Linn Rothstein (piano)Finale from Sleeping Beauty – Tchaikovsky was played by Simon Gutteridge ARCM GRSM (organist).

photo 1His wit, charm and generosity will be greatly missed.  He left us with a great gift the beauty of his art.

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Peter’s self portrait –1970


The National Society of Arts and Letters will have their competition for Classical Ballet at the Pittsburgh Ballet Studios this Saturday, March 11.  We will have 11 contestants competing.  Each dancer will perform a 6 minute variation.

The first place winner will be awarded $2,500.00, and will go on to compete in the National competition in Boca Raton, Florida, June 1-3, the winner will also receive a $150.00 gift card from The Dancer’s Pointe

The second place winner will be awarded $ 1,200.00 and a $75.00 gift card from The Dancer’s Pointe.

The third place winner will be awarded $700.00 and a $75.00 gift card from The Dancer’s Pointe.

Merde to all the competitors

(All are invited to attend and cheer on the competitors.  Pittsburgh Ballet Studios at 10:00A.M.)




In Wonderland

We opened ALICE IN WONDERLAND last week.  It is a wonderful ballet, I am so happy it is apart of our season.  Derek Deane came in to set it about four weeks ago.  He choreographed it originally for the English National Ballet.  Sue Blane designed the costumes and scenery and she was in Pittsburgh for production week.  Very nice and talented lady.

We are now working on the Rose costumes for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST in the costume shop.  They are very pretty.  I will put a photo of one in when we get a little further along on them.  They really do look like roses.

We also started making a few costumes for the Schools Spring Performance.  I really  enjoy building costumes.



NUTCRACKER has opened and we are more than halfway through the run.  We close on the 27th.  We made quite a few new costumes this year.  Fun and rewarding.  We are also in the process of making a new Sugar Plum Fairy costume.


Amanda trying on the new Sugar plum Fairy costume

Also made a wintery pointe shoe wreath for The Dancer’s Pointe


This is it before being crystallized 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Wonderful, Wonderful!!!!

Well GISELLE met all our expectations, we thought it was wonderful and so did everyone that we talked to.

Opening night was so beautiful and the dancers were perfect!  The orchestra sounded fantastic!  Sets, costumes and lighting a beautiful addition to the talents displayed by the dancers and the orchestra.


Act I Bathilde, Duke, Giselle  and Albrecht                 Photo by Rich Sofranko    

Bathilde – Julia Erickson,  Duke – Steven Annegarn,  Giselle – Alexa Kochis  Albrecht – Chris Budzynski

We are so fortunate to now have this beautiful production of GISELLE.  Thank you Peter Farmer for your vision and your outstandingly beautiful artwork.


Act I  Friends and Peasants                                                                 Photo by Rich Sofranko

Act I was full of color just like I was dreaming it would be.  It was a great time to open this production, so colorful outside as well with all the fall leaves changing.


Joanna took this photo just before Act II started 

GISELLE is not yet finished, because of time issues we still have a few more costumes to build.  I would say around a dozen or so.  Luckily I still have some money in the budget.


Load out

It has always amazed me how we enter a theater, load in, have a few rehearsals, do the performances and load out.  It reminds me of the Jackson Browne song.

After a quick inventory and cleaning we are now diligently working on NUTCRACKER.  Load out is in one week.  Yikes!!