Dean Mogle holds the white and black swan design sketches for CCM's production of Swan Lake.

From Sketch to Stage: The Making of CCM’s ‘Swan Lake’ Costumes

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There is a shortage of tutu makers in the world, said CCM Professor and Head of the Costume Design and Technology Program Dean Mogle, who faced the daunting task of designing costumes for Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet.

CCM is working to fix that shortage by training the next generation of costume designers and technicians, whose work will debut on stage in the conservatory’s first ballet production to have costumes designed and built in-house.

A timeless tale of love, magic and mystery, Swan Lake will grace the Corbett Auditorium stage from April 22-24, marking the second time in CCM’s nearly 150-year history that a full-length story ballet has been included in the Mainstage Series.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

Staff and students within the Costume Design and Technology program have worked on the ‘Swan Lake’ costumes for the past 18 months.

Presented by CCM’s Department of Dance, the ballet uses three different casts and the principal roles are all double cast ­— which is challenging for the costume shop students and staff responsible for ensuring the pieces fit each dancer correctly.

“You have to understand what dancers go through—what they need,” Mogle said. “Balance becomes really important.”

Costume designers and technicians must consider the weight of the fabrics and headpieces so the dancer can retain their natural balance. There is also limited “real estate” on the costume for artistic expression or characterization, Mogle said. If a female dancer needs to be lifted, safety dictates the fabric around her waist can’t be too slick and can’t get caught on anything.

“The ballet world is a totally different beast.”

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

Newly designed costumes for the Hungarian Czardas in Act III of ‘Swan Lake,’ made by costume students and staff. To the far right is Prince Siegfried’s jacket, made by Jessica Barksdale.

Mogle, with a team of students and faculty within the Costume Design and Technology program, has worked on the Swan Lake costumes for the past 18 months. They’ve borrowed and modified some costumes from a previous CCM performance of Brigadoon and the Broadway production of Cyrano, The Musical. Costumes for the principal and specialty roles in the ballet are newly designed and made.

Iconic white tutus, bodices, vibrant dresses and rich fabrics have taken over their workshop. The costumes are designed in the traditional style typically associated with the classic ballet. CCM plans to reuse and rent out some of them after the performance.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

Jessica Barksdale is building Mogle’s design for Prince Siegfried’s costume, which will be worn in Acts III and IV.

Mogle, who previously designed costumes for the Cincinnati Ballet’s The Nutcracker, watched five or six different productions of Swan Lake to prepare for his costume designs. The pieces are still evolving on a daily basis, he said.

“Since we are making the production to last about 30 or 40 years, we don’t ever want to get too wild and crazy with the concept because it is pretty traditional,” Mogle said. “The things that really change in a traditional ballet like this are going to be the specialty characters.”

Those include the newly designed and made pieces that will be worn at the ball in Act III, where the Queen invites potential wives from Poland, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Naples and Poland to match with her son, Prince Siegfried.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

A sketch and sleeve of Von Rothbart’s Act III costume, made by Erin Winslow.

At the ball, Prince Siegfried will wear a newly designed black and gold jacket made by Jessica Barksdale, first-year costume technology graduate student. Rothbart, the evil sorcerer who cursed the prince’s love Odette, will wear an intricately detailed costume made by senior costume technology student, Erin Winslow, as part of her capstone project.

Barskdale and Winslow are also making the iconic white and black swan costumes for leading female characters Odette and Odile. Associate Professor of Costume Technology Regina Truhart is managing all costume production for the ballet.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

The in-progress white and black swan costumes for characters Odette and Odile are being made by Jessica Barksdale and Erin Winslow, respectively.

After 27 years at CCM, Mogle is familiar with the 30,000 costume pieces the conservatory has in stock. Luckily, the costume department was able to pull pieces from past performances of Brigadoon and Cyrano to modify them for courtier and peasant costumes in Swan Lake.

The costume department dyed some of the costumes in bright jewel tones and added details such as sashes, sleeves, aprons and hats. Net petticoats were used to make the costumes lighter and easier to dance in.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

Costumes from the CCM production of ‘Brigadoon’ are being modified for the female peasants in Act I of ‘Swan Lake.’

“Every time we do [Swan Lake], we’ll add more to it and rely less on our costume stock,” Mogle said, adding that when the ballet is performed again in 6 years they will likely build new peasant costumes.

“That’s how some companies do it anyway. They’ll use tutus from many kinds of shows. Pulling together a show like this from all of these different places is a great exercise.”

Acquiring materials is one hurdle but then, of course, the costumes must actually fit.

It helps that musical theatre bodies and dancer bodies are similar in stature, Mogle said. It would cost around $5,000 to reproduce one of the Cyrano costumes today.

Costuming for CCM's 'Swan Lake.' Photo by Ryan Strand.

Costume technicians included three clasp sizes on the ‘Swan Lake’ bodices so they can be adjusted for different dancers.

With three different casts, and double-cast principals, it was important to make the costumes interchangeable for different dancers. The technicians included three clasp sizes for the bodices to make them more adjustable and, in some cases, built extra costumes.

The process and pieces are evolving daily, with more adjustments expected after fittings and the dress rehearsals. A beautiful design can look perfect on a mannequin but flawed when put on a body that needs to breathe, dance and kick. That is why it’s important for the costuming students to learn each step in the creative process, said Mogle.

 “The whole focus of our program is teaching design and technology so designers know how to make stuff and makers know how to design stuff. So they all have the same sensibility as to how things should look and how they should be handled. If the knowledge base in those two roles isn’t strong then things fall apart.”

After the designs are sketched, the appropriate fabrics need to be found, Mogle said of the costuming process. Then there’s making the patterns and cutting them out of the cloth and stitching them together. There’s also fabric painting and dying and mask and jewelry making.

“Each one of those is a profession in itself,” Mogle said. “The more skills you have as a technician and the more kinds of plays and operas and ballets that you can design as a designer, your job market opens up. It’s a good part of training and real life experience.”

Co-directed by Dance Department Chair Jiang Qi and Associate Professor of Dance Deirdre Carberry, the Mainstage Series production features students from CCM’s BFA Ballet program. The lavishly staged spectacle features accompaniment by CCM’s lauded Concert Orchestra under the direction of Assistant Professor of Music Aik Khai Pung.

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Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake runs April. 22 – 24 in Corbett Auditorium. Tickets are $27-31 for adults, $17-20 for non-UC students and $15-18 UC students with a valid ID.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online at ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice/mainstage/swan-lake.

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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor and Musical Theatre Program Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Mainstage Season Production Sponsor: Macy’s

Community Partner: ArtsWave

Production Sponsors: Rosemary & Mark Schlachter, Teri Jory & Seth Geiger and Graeter’s
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Story by Rebecca Butts

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CCM Dance Presents Five Exciting Works, Including Stravinsky’s Stunning ‘Les Noces,’ During Spring Concert

CCM’s Department of Dance presents its annual Spring Dance Concert, running Thursday, April 23, through Saturday, April 25, in Corbett Auditorium. CCM Dance Professors Jiang Qi and Michael Tevlin direct this concert of mixed repertoire, which features five exciting works choreographed by CCM faculty members as well as esteemed guest artists. Tickets are on sale now.

Highlights of this year’s concert include Igor Stravinsky’s Les Noces (The Wedding), a stunning dance cantata filled with joy and solemnity. Premiered in Paris in 1923, Les Noces captures the scenes and flavors of a Russian peasant wedding through the unique texture of four pianists, six percussionists, solo quartet and a 40 member chorus. For this piece, the Ballet Ensemble will be accompanied by the CCM Chamber Choir and student percussionists, along with CCM’s Eminent Scholar in Chamber Music James Tocco and members of his piano studio. Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies Earl Rivers conducts.

CCM Assistant Professor of Dance Andre Megerdichian.

CCM Assistant Professor of Dance Andre Megerdichian.

Assistant Professor of Dance Andre Megerdichian creates an original adaptation of Les Noces using both Stravinsky and original choreographer Bronislava Nijinska’s concepts as a springboard. His cast of 18 dancers twists traditional perspectives on marriage, taking the audience on a Faustian journey of discovery.

“Stravinsky used traditional Russian peasant wedding songs and rituals as a base, and Nijinska focused on the gloom of arranged marriages. I’m looking at the idea of union in contemporary society. In a shifting landscape of gender roles, sexual orientation, alternative lifestyles and marriage opportunities, the real question is what happens when we lift the veil?” says Megerdichian.


Associate Professor of Dance Deirdre Carberry
 will restage excerpts from Raymonda with choreography by Marius Petipa and music by Alexander Glasunov. A ballet originally staged in three acts and four scenes with an apotheosis, Raymonda was first presented at the Imperial Ballet at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre on January 19, 1898, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Associate Professor of Dance Michael Tevlin displays his choreography in Prelude to Tomorrow with music by Sergei Rachmaninoff. This new ballet by Tevlin was inspired by Rachmaninoff’s Preludes and Etudes for Piano. Featuring many of the members of CCM’s Dance Department’s graduating class, Prelude to Tomorrow explores relationships and camaraderie in many forms. From bittersweet to brash, powerful to tender, Rachmaninoff’s sweeping music provides a perfect backdrop for a cast of 10 dancers.

Guest artist Anthony Krutzkamp choreographs the contemporary ballet Similar with music by Brian Crain and Chad Lawson. Based loosely on the various stages of a couple’s relationship, Similar is an exploration of movement that is different with a common theme that makes it similar.

Visiting scholar Tian Tian will choreograph Chiaroscuro. With music by Liu Sanzang, Chiaroscuro is based on the Chinese ancient philosophy, which reflects the dichotomy of the strong contrasts between darkness and light. An instructor from Beijing Dance Academy and a PhD candidate at the School of Arts at Peking University, Tian Tian is focusing on the production of dance performance at CCM.

Performance Times

  • 8 p.m. Thursday, April 23
  • 8 p.m. Friday, April 24
  • 2 & 8 p.m. Saturday, April 25

Location
Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village
University of Cincinnati

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to the Spring Dance Concert are $15 for general admission, $10 for non-UC students and FREE for UC students with valid ID.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the CCM Box Office, over the telephone at 513-556-4183 or online now through our e-Box Office! Visit ccm.uc.edu/boxoffice for CCM Box Office hours and location.

Parking and Directions

Parking is available in the CCM Garage (located at the base of Corry Boulevard off Jefferson Avenue) and additional garages throughout the UC campus. Please visit uc.edu/parking for more information on parking rates.

For detailed maps and directions, please visit uc.edu/visitors. Additional parking is available off-campus at the new U Square complex on Calhoun Street and other neighboring lots.

For directions to CCM Village, visit ccm.uc.edu/about/directions.

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CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation

Community Partner: ArtsWave

The Dance Department gratefully acknowledges the support of the Corbett Endowment at CCM.

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CCM Spring Dance Concert

CCM Dance Presents Annual Fall Concert Dec. 5-7

Photo copyright Luke Isley.

Choreography by guest artist Michael Bearden. Photo copyright Luke Isley.

CCM’s Department of Dance concludes its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration with a demanding and impressive Fall Dance Concert, running Dec. 5-7 in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. The concert program features ballets by guest choreographers Michael Bearden and Tong Wang, as well as works by CCM Dance faculty members. Department Chair Jiang Qi and Associate Professor of Dance Deirdre Carberry direct.

This concert’s mixed repertoire includes a world premiere of Tong Wang’s contemporary ballet Good Monsters with music by Philip Glass. Wang’s young son, who shares his fantasies about his imaginary animal friends each morning, inspired this piece. Wang has danced a full range of ballets from classical to contemporary with world-renowned choreographers such as George Balanchine, Antony Tudor and Frederic Ashton.

Michael Bearden choreographs Simpatico, a contemporary ballet with music by Dmitri Shostakovich depicting the human condition with an emphasis on our struggle for unity as we wrestle with internal battles and conflicts with others over ideals. Earlier this fall, CCM students performed Simpatico at the Beijing Dance Academy’s 60th anniversary international gala celebration under the direction of Jiang Qi. CCM was one of only 20 schools from around the world – and one of only three schools from the United States – invited to participate in this event. Bearden also studied with Balanchine, Ashton and Tudor along with many others.

Jiang Qi presents his work The Reflection of Autumn with music by Mauro Giuliani, which was originally performed in 2007. A neoclassical ballet,The Reflection of Autumn portrays how young people experience the challenges and complications in their relationships.

Deirdre Carberry restages Flames of Paris with choreography by Vasily Vainonen and music by Boris Asafyev. This classical ballet depicts the turbulent era of the French Revolution and was originally created to portray the Soviet ideology for the Soviet stage during the 1930s and 40s. The contemporary version focuses on the struggle of the heroic revolutionary.

In addition to these wonderful works, newly appointed faculty member Andre Megerdichian premiers Released Naked with music by Aaron Copland. This piece is a visceral rite of passage following a young woman’s journey through the innocence of youth, the passion of love and the realization of her personal manifest destiny.

CCM’s Fall Dance Concert promises to be a bold combination of choreography and talent by both students and professional dancers.

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CCM Drama, Dance, Choral, Piano, Musical Theatre And More On Display This Weekend!

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CCM’s stars of tomorrow will be shining bright in a wide variety of concerts and productions running this weekend!

CCM’s 2012-13 Studio Series concludes with a production of Emily Mann’s powerful docu-drama Execution of Justice, running through April 20 in UC’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. Admission is free, but reservations are required. This production contains mature subject matter. Learn more about this production here.

CCM’s Ballet Ensemble also presents its annual Spring Dance Concert this weekend, with performances running through April 20 in Patricia Corbett Theater. This year’s program features unique collaborations with CCM’s Chamber Choir and Chamber Players. Learn more about this production here.

At 8 p.m. this Saturday, April 20, the CCM’s Chorale and Concert Orchestra join forces with a variety of special guests to present Benjamin Britten’s Spring Symphony and other works in Corbett Auditorium! Learn more about this performance here.

CCM’s annual celebration of the art of the piano returns at 7 p.m. this Sunday, April 21, as Pianopalooza VIII showcases our most spectacular student pianists! Learn more about this performance here.

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CCM Dance Presents Annual Spring Concert April 18-20

Photography by Rene Micheo.

Photography by Rene Micheo.

CCM presents its annual Spring Dance Concert April 18-20 in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. This year’s featured performances include a unique collaboration between Dance Division students and CCM’s Chamber Choir and Chamber Players. The concert program also boasts two world premieres by dance faculty members. Tickets are on sale now.

CCM News

CCM Dance Showcase Spotlights Student Choreographers March 7 – 9

CCM showcases the work of student choreographers March 7-9. Photography by Will Brenner.

CCM showcases the work of student choreographers March 7-9. Photography by Will Brenner.

CCM proudly presents the next Studio Series production, featuring the original works of student dance choreographers, March 7-9 in UC’s Cohen Family Studio Theater. This production is free and open to the general public, but reservations are required. The 2013 Choreographers Showcase is directed by Assistant Professor of Dance Deirdre Carberry.

CCM Dance is constantly innovating and presenting new choreography, and this showcase is no exception. Junior ballet major Elizabeth Ernst found her inspiration in a set of traditional Latin pieces arranged by Cincinnati’s beloved “Prince of Pops” Erich Kunzel. “I knew that I wanted to choreograph for the show,” she explains. “But I had no idea what I wanted to do until one day I was cleaning my room and listening to music when one of the songs [arranged by Kunzel] came on, and I could not stop dancing! I knew from that point on that if I was going to choreograph, it was going to be to that music.” Ballet with a Latin twist was the result of Ernst’s vision, involving dancers performing to a recording of the Cincinnati Pops.

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‘The News Record’ Covers CCM’s Fall Dance Concert

CCM's Fall 2012 Dance Concert. Photography by Lauren Purkey.

CCM’s Fall 2012 Dance Concert. Photography by Lauren Purkey.

Natalya Daoud and Lauren Purkey cover CCM’s Fall Dance Concert for the News Record, the thrice-weekly independent student news organization at the University of Cincinnati.

You can view Daoud’s coverage of the concert here and enjoy a slideshow of Purkey’s photography from the production here.

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CCM’s Fall Dance Concert Spotlights Guest Choreographers Nov. 30 – Dec. 2

Experience the royal wedding of Prince Charming and Princess Aurora at CCM's Fall Dance Concert. Photography by Rene Micheo.

Experience the royal wedding of Prince Charming and Princess Aurora at CCM’s Fall Dance Concert. Photography by Rene Micheo.

The CCM Ballet Ensemble will present its Fall Concert Nov. 30 – Dec. 2 in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. The concert will be a mixture of new works and restaged classics, featuring the efforts of two guest choreographers (including one recent alumnus) and a restaging by CCM’s renowned faculty.

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CCM Announces Fall 2011 Calendar of Major Events

Photography by Scott Belck.

CCM is delighted to announce its fall schedule of major performances. Beginning Wednesday, September 28 CCM will present over 50 events, ranging from faculty and guest artist concerts to fully supported opera and musical theatre productions.

Download a digital copy of our Fall Quarterly Calendar of Events today!

Whether it’s a swinging tribute to Frank Sinatra, a festival showcasing the talents of two Russian powerhouse composers, the regional premiere of a drama co-produced with The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, a world premiere produced in partnership with Cincinnati Opera, a revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved Oklahoma! or a holiday-themed choral extravaganza, CCM’s fall schedule of performing arts events offers dozens of opportunities to be mesmerized and delighted.

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