Jane Wood learned to sew from her mother and throughout her schooling, making the change to ballet costumes when her daughter took up dancing. She says a tutu usually takes three to four days to make. (Kendra Crighton/Victoria News Staff)

Designer sews up important role with Ballet Victoria

Jane Wood has been designing costumes for 30 years

Jane Wood has been designing costumes for 30 years. Her hands have sewn, stitched and even painted the elaborate outfits seen on stage during Ballet Victoria’s performances.

She’s spent her last six weeks, working full time, designing the colourful and creative outfits that will be worn in the ballet’s next performance, Alice in Wonderland.

Wood sat down with Black Press to discuss her work as she was putting the final touches on the Cheshire Cat’s orange and purple tutu before the Tea for Tutu performance on Tuesday.

Attendees will be able to pick out their favourite characters from the English novel turned Disney classic during the performance on May 17 and 18, including Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen, the White Rabbit and many more.

RELATED: Ballet Victoria stages a musical masterpiece

Wood learned to sew from her mother and all throughout her schooling, eventually moving into the costume world when her daughter took up ballet.

“Of course you get roped into doing the costumes if you know how to sew and it kind of grew from there,” she says.

She says while some costumes can be tedious if there’s multiples, there isn’t any outfit she’s disliked creating.

“It’s always something different, it’s always a challenge and you get to make things that you wouldn’t otherwise make for any other reason,” she says. “It’s creative and it’s fun.”

She says one of her favourite pieces to make is always the tutu, despite the fact that they usually take three or four days to make depending on how decorative the skirt is.

“They’re always fun, but a lot of work.”

Usually ideas take shape after a discussion with Paul Destrooper, Victoria Ballet’s artistic director, but sometimes a piece of fabric will catch her eye.

RELATED: Ballet Victoria goes dancing down the rabbit hole

“When I saw [the White Rabbit’s] fabric, I thought OK he’s going to be an Elizabethan bunny, and so that’s what he turned into,” she says. “Sometimes things kind of happen accidentally or they just evolve.”

Adding to the creative challenge, the costumes have to be designed so the dancer wearing it can have complete freedom of movement.

“For men’s costumes, the sleeves will be constructed separately on a stretchy undervest with a vest over top,” explains Wood. “So when they move their arms the whole thing doesn’t go up.”

The outfits also have to be pretty tight so that during lifts or other large movements the costume stays on the dancer and doesn’t move around.

“It’s a little different from theatre or regular clothing for sure.”

Ballet Victoria’s latest production, Alice in Wonderland, will take place May 17 and 18 at the Royal Theatre. For more information or to purchase tickets visit balletvictoria.ca.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria’s 75,000 veggie plants ready to find a home

New gardeners line-up for Get Growing Victoria

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

No one injured in suspicious Victoria boat fire, say investigators

Victoria police and fire personnel called to blaze on waters near Selkirk Trestle May 22

VIDEO: Saanich police tackle man who refused to move off Trans-Canada Highway

At this point, it is unclear why the man refused to move

Three people facing mischief charges after protests at Premier John Horgan’s home

Special prosecutor was appointed to avoid real or perceived undue influence

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

BC Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

Most Read