Costume Department An Often Overlooked Piece Of The Ballet

Oct 3, 2016

The costume department at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre must find new inspiration for costumes to go with ballets performed for generations.
Credit Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

Ballet is often praised for its precision, strong dancers and hypnotic music. But one thing that’s often overlooked is the costume department.

“Well, when you’re dancing, you have a certain structure about your dancing,” said Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre principal dancer Amanda Cochrane. “But when you put on those costumes, it really helps to bring out the artistry in your dancing. It makes you – puts your into character.”

Those costumes help bring the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s productions to life.

Costumier Janet Groom Campbell is in charge of creating the costumes. She said it takes a new perspective to design for ballets that have been performed for generations.

“A lot of times you have to erase the slate from the ballet that we’ve seen or worked with before and start fresh,” she said.

Campbell said the costume team works hard to create garments that are beautiful, but can also move with ease. That’s done with the help of the costume department’s expertise, but also unique materials like fiberglass and thermoplastic mesh for masks and other pieces.

The Pittsburgh Ballet Theater’s new season kicks off Oct. 28 with “Giselle.”