Monday, October 5, 2009


BalletMet dancer Carrie West; photo by Will Shively

Coming soon to an Ohio Theatre near you....

BalletMet and The Cincinnati Ballet have teamed up to present the timeless masterpiece Swan Lake, October 16-18. For the next two weeks, I will take you behind the making of this treasured ballet, including a peek at costumes, production and thoughts from the dancers.

A little history of Swan Lake...
his 21st birthday, Prince Siegfried is reminded that he must choose a bride at his upcoming ball, despite his reluctance to do so. In an attempt to be alone and ponder his future, Siegfried arrives at a lake that is, unbeknownst to him, ruled by the evil sorcerer Baron von Rothbart; a lake where young maidens are held under a spell that transforms them into swans. As the lake fills with swans, Siegfried takes aim at one, but holds his fire as the swan transforms into a beautiful woman! Love at first sight, Seigfried promises this woman, Odette, the only thing that can break von Rothbart's evil spell; eternal love. However, Odette warns the prince that if his vow is broken, she will remain a swan forever.

The ball ensues the following evening and trouble is in store for Prince Siegfried!

To read more about Swan Lake, go to

Today at BalletMet, all the dancers were in Cincinnati practicing for Swan Lake, so it was a little quieter around the building. In fact, when I pulled into the parking lot there were only a few cars there, as opposed to a full lot as usual, and I thought for a second that maybe I wasn’t supposed to be there either; that maybe it was some special day and everyone forgot to tell the new intern not to come in. I’m happy that was not the case because today was great.

In preparation for this week's bIog, I visited both the costume shop and the production department and spoke to the managers in each about what they are doing to prepare for Swan Lake. However, today I am going to focus specifically on costumes, and next week I will talk more about production.

BalletMet's costume shop manager Rebecca Turk is in her fourth season with BalletMet and could not be happier. She has been involved with designing and directing costume production for over ten years and it is a combination of her passion and the emphasis that BalletMet puts on artistic expression that keeps her here.

"Part of what makes this job rewarding is that you love it, and I am exceedingly passionate," says Rebecca.

However, although as fun as it seems to spend time around beautiful costumes all day, Rebecca's job requires so much more and one of her main duties is to keep the shop in order.

"You have to keep positive and roll with the punches," she explains. "Stressful situations will arise often and you have to be able to deal with them consistently. There are no boring days."

This is something Rebecca loves about her job; each day is different and everyone in the costume shop takes great pride in their work.

When speaking with her about Swan Lake, she showed me the beautiful, handmade costumes for Odette and Odile, and explained to me the costume situation for this production. Since BalletMet is teaming up with The Cincinnati Ballet to present this piece, the two companies have been working together to create a unified look. The piece will include costumes from both BalletMet's previous performance and The Cincinnati Ballet's as well as new pieces based on both designs.

The costume room is currently littered with swan costumes, and it could not look better.

In reference to Swan Lake, Rebecca would like our readers to know, "that this is an amazing opportunity for the audience because an amazing amount of collaboration had to happen to make this possible. It’s really wonderful."

Here are a few pictures from my day in the costume shop! And as much as I wanted to include the gorgeous costume that Odette will be wearing, I wanted to keep it a surprise even more!

The evil Baron Von Rothbart's costume!

The costume of the swans!

The Prince's vest!

Click below to see a different take on Swan Lake...enjoy!!

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