by Kendall Moffett and Jennifer Barraza
The wardrobe department of Sacramento Ballet opened its doors to the interns of CLARA for an inside scoop on the process of making costumes for the shows of the season. As you might imagine, designing costumes is stimulating, but is also exacting. However, Theresa Kimbrough and Zandra Manner, the costumers at Sacramento Ballet, expressed that the hard work they put towards their job is worth it – they find the work incredibly fulfilling.
According to the design team, making costumes for The Nutcracker is a year-long process. Once the show ends for the season, preparation for the next one begins: Manner and Kimbrough go back to the drawing board to start creating and altering costumes. We learned that it takes around a week to create a tutu; you can only imagine the hours that go into the craft. With all of this work being done throughout the year, the big collection of costumes in the wardrobe room is rented out to other ballet companies or used by Sacramento Ballet dancers for Beer and Ballet, a showcase where company dancers perform personally choreographed pieces (coming February 2020).
The costumers have a lot of freedom when it comes to design, there are no strict guidelines to follow. Aside from the priority to make sure that the dancers can perform with no trouble, most design inspirations come from each show’s unique music choices and era. Behind the scenes, the wardrobe department plays a bigger role than you might think, their efforts help the Sacramento Ballet’s productions run seamlessly.