Sometimes, one of my clients wants something other than what I typically create. Many times, these things are what I like to think of as "unicorns," because it can be hard to define exactly what is needed, and the goal can be a moving one. In this case, Kim wanted a gown for a Theaters Arts piece. Usually, I encourage dancers to purchase practice clothing for things like this, (I often add sleeves or embellishment) since the intended purpose of the costume is limited to one unique number and rarely re-sellable, or re-usable. Custom dance wear is expensive, and I encourage my clients to think about resale value as we design. So I encouraged Kim to think in terms of re-use, as a more traditional ballgown, with the addition of embellishment and sparkle, when she was through performing the Theater Arts piece.
In Kim's case, the Theater Arts piece was deeply personal, and important to her. And she really wanted something special to dance in. The piece is about her return to ballroom competition, following a health scare, that might have made it impossible to dance again. She wanted something soft, fluid, and beautiful. Even the choreography was a little bit "unicorn-ish" and hard to describe. She referred to it as a waltz, although the music was in 4/4 time. But I appreciated what she meant when I saw the work. It was full of spirally, turning, waltzy action, and without sound, I might have thought it WAS a waltz. The piece is also praise to God for her recovery, so there was is a hint of spirituality to bring out visually. We tried to use color to represent "heavenly", and "angelic" with our gentle crystal blue. And texturally, we also kept everything soft and cloud-like.
Here, she is performing the piece last April, when the gown was made. Which tells you how far behind I am in my blogging! But a pause in my work allows time, so I will take advantage of it.
Theater Arts pieces frequently involve a story, lifts, and other movement that requires well-fit clothing, and fabrics that are both not sticky, and not slippery. The character in this story is Kim as a ballroom dancer, simply presented, joyful in being able to move and be physical in an easy, happy way. But I think, with the addition of rhinestones and more specific focus, the gown can also grow into being a more traditional ballgown when the piece it was created for is put to rest.
Thank you so much Kim, for letting me be a part of your telling of this story, essentially liturgical dance, with a ballroom twist. And thank you too for the beautiful photos you provided for me. They tell the story of the gown MUCH better than my traditional studio stills. I am thrilled that you are dancing again, and glad to be a part of that! And a final thank you to Pro Scott Anderson, who appears here with Kim, and created this lovely piece for her with the assistance of his beautiful daughter, Megan Anderson.