Many May Moments

We closed our 49th season with SLEEPING BEAUTY.  The fabulous David Walker sets and costumes.  It was built in 1973 for the Royal Ballet.  Boston Ballet purchased it in the 1990’s.  They have taken remarkably good care of it.  A real Beauty to behold.  It was a wonderful SLEEPING BEAUTY weekend.

Our season closed later this year and the school pre professional showcase is a week after our closing the season.  Very busy time.  We usually have a few weeks to prepare for the showcase.

We built a new set of costumes for PBTS.  Yoshi Nakano one of our principal dancers choreographed a new piece for the school.  I watched a rehearsal of it and decided that we should build costumes for it.  Great choreography, classical music, large cast and the students looked great!  After meeting with Yoshi we decided to use 1 classical tutu, 14 dropped tutus and 6 lyrical dresses.  The five men are in tunics with silk chiffon sleeves.  All of the bodices are the same.  They performed it on May 12th at our 50th season kick off dinner.  We finished all the costumes for the dinner but not the headpieces, they will be finished by the 16th for the opening of the showcase.  I loved designing it and Kristin and Jackie did a great job building it.  I especially love the bodice pattern.  I took two different bodice patterns and  combined them.  Joanna did all the ombre dying which came out perfect!  As you can see below there was a lot of dying.  I am sure the ballet will be done for years to come


The beginnings of the classical tutu for Mozart and Bizet (Yoshi’s new ballet)

Now that the season is over we will be working on the school performances til the end of May.


The principal tutu completed waiting to be worn for a studio dress rehearsal


The pre-professional showcase opens tomorrow evening and the headpieces are complete.


See what I mean about the dying


The drop dead beautiful headpieces completed!


We opened THE GREAT GATSBY last weekend!  We completed it all before opening night, which is always our goal and we have always made it.  Wonderful production!  Thank you Terry, Harris, Jordan, Peter, Blaine, Andrew, Carl, Charles, Yoland, Curtis, Lish, Joanna, Kristin, Kathie, Jackie, Bob and Michael.  Also a huge thank you to our beautiful dancers that carried it off so nicely onstage.


This is a photo of Emily Simpson in Daisy’s Party dress that I referred to in the last post.  Love it!!

Pittsburgh Quarterly did an article about the costumes, please check it out!

Click here for the article

Went to see the Pittsburgh Symphony perform the Music of Queen – Wonderful performance!


We received the bible for ORANGE today.  Thank you Holly.  It is very informative and will be a great help in duplicating your beautiful designs!

Red is all around perfect for Valentines Day!


The Dancer’s Pointe leotard sale just ended.  I hope everyone took advantage of it, I love our leotard sale.

I am looking forward to seeing THE GREAT GATSBY all weekend.  It is hard to believe we close on Sunday.  March will be here before we know it.


The Greatest Gatsby

We have been working on THE GREAT GATSBY for the last six weeks.  We have made great progress, I am very happy with the new costumes we have built.  I redesigned a new party dress for Daisy.  It is very similar to the former party dress, just built differently.  I am sure Peter would love it.  It is a wonderful opportunity to visit a production that was beautiful when it was first built but to have a chance to make improvements 30 years later, 30 years older, 30 years wiser, and fix what wasn’t perfect last time.  It was beautiful and it worked but now it is perfect!  Peter worked hard to hide the bodice to skirt line but we changed the build of it and erased the line.

Rehearsals looked great! Choreography, music, and dancing all top notch.  Loving every minute.  Another major production will hit the stage in February.


Scenic rendering copy-written by Peter Farmer


We are also making a few costumes for the Steeler Annual Fashion Show.  Some beautiful  tulle full length gold skirts for our students to wear.  We were invited to a pre season game at Heinz Field.  It was wonderful and the Steelers won!


At the pre season game.


We are also working on costumes for an exhibit at the Carnegie Music Hall.  Our students will be dancing.

The Dancer’s Pointe made it through back to school and will fit pointe shoes on the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School students that will be going on pointe for the first time soon.

Speaking of pointe shoes, Marie from Freed will be arriving mid October for Freed fittings.  Busy Days!!!

On a personal note my Daughter, Katie is getting married soon.  So far I have Matron of Honor, two Flowergirls, two Ringbearer pillows and my ensemble almost complete.  The Bride will be finished the week before the wedding when she is around for fittings.  All is going well right on schedule.


Kalli practicing being a Flower girl!

A New Season has Begun

We just started our 18-19 season and we have many very exciting ballets coming up this year.  We open with a MOZART IN MOTION – Divertimento No. 15 (Balanchine), Six German Dances (Kylian) and Petite Mort (Kylian)  All to Mozart music, of course.  The Kylian pieces we are renting and we have Divertimento No. 15.  We will be freshening it up a bit.

NUTCRACKER – We have been working on that for awhile, new Pirate pants, new Mice padding biketards, new Solder belts and two new Party girl dresses.  Just bought the fabric for one today at The Fabric Place ( beautiful silk taffeta and Liberty of London small print).  I am sure lots of other additions will come up before we open.

THE GREAT GATSBY – A brand new production choregraphed by Jorden Morris, music by Carl Davis.  Sets and costumes by Peter Farmer.  We are making a few changes to some of the costumes but for the most part they will be like the originals.  We have started a few new Daisy frocks and Jordan will get a new outfit or two, Myrtle also.

Jorden arrives on Monday so we will be working full speed ahead on THE GREAT GATSBY!


Shopping for tutus anyone?


PITTSBURGH BALLET THEATRE and DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM – New Rubies costumes ( so very exciting!!!!)  We also have to build Orange ( Welch)

SLEEPING BEAUTY –  Choreography after Petipas.  We are renting Boston Ballet’s beautiful production designed by David Walker.

A busy season to say the least.

On October 6, our Daughter Katie is getting married, another production!  A wonderful and fun one.  I am building the two flower girls (Grandaughters Kalli and Kenzi),  Matron of Honor (Daughter Kerri) and of course the Bride!!!  Also 22 table runners, 22 pew bows, two ring-bearers pillows, two flower girl baskets etc.  Right up my alley!!!  Love it, Love it!

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

beauty and the beast7beauty and the beast10

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.

photo 2

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.)