See New 'Nutcracker' Costumes At Pacific Northwest Ballet | KUOW News and Information

See New 'Nutcracker' Costumes At Pacific Northwest Ballet

Sep 10, 2015

The winter holidays are months away, but at Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers and crew are working at a fever pitch on the annual production of "The Nutcracker." 

This year’s version is brand new to PNB. Choreographed by the late George Balanchine, it features new sets and costumes by children’s author/illustrator Ian Falconer.

See how these costumes are coming to life:

Draper Victoria McFall works on petals for a 'Flower' skirt for the Pacific Northwest Ballet's new version of its holiday classic 'The Nutcracker.'
Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery
Award-winning children's book author and illustrator Ian Falconer, creator of the Olivia the Pig series, designed the costumes and sets for PNB's new Nutcracker production. Falconer worked closely with the PNB costumers.
Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Falconer began work on his designs three years ago. He submitted drawings that had to be translated from two dimensions into wearable garments.
Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Falconer sometimes had specific ideas for shapes. For example, a simple doily folded into a plastic container demonstrated how he envisioned tutus for the 'Marzipan' dancers.
Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

The first step in transforming a drawing into a costume involves layering fabric over a dress form. Here draper Victoria McFall scrutinizes a 'Flower' skirt; in the background is a completed 'Snowflake' costume.
Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

McFall's 'Flower' skirt on a dress form in the PNB costume shop. Ian Falconer's original drawings called for short tutus. Every costume choice involved conversations between Falconer, the costumers and PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal.
Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

PNB costume shop assistant checks the jacket for a 'Harlequin.' Falconer's original design is pinned to the rack.
Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

The PNB costume shop had to build more than 150 individual costumes. Shop manager Larae Haskell estimates more than 50 local craftspeople have worked on these garments for the past year.
Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

No production of 'Nutcracker' is complete without waltzing snowflakes. The new PNB production features these layered dresses, edged with tiny sequins. The costume shop has special 'stage lights' set up in a corner to see how each dress sparkles.
Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

The Peacock has always stopped the show at PNB Nutcracker performances. This year the dancer will wear an elaborate jeweled head piece.
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Although most audiences members won't be sitting close enough to see the details, every costume features tiny adornments like feathers, braiding, jewels or sequins that are painstakingly applied by hand.
Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Despite the advent of new technology, most PNB costume shop employees are well-trained in the traditions of their crafts, from stitching to fitting to ironing.
Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery