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.

Just Posted

Victoria’s Other Secret not so secret anymore

How six Mount Doug teachers turned a lunch jam into $11,000 raised for charity

PHOTOS: Inside the opening of the expanded Westhills Stadium

The grand opening of the expanded stadium in Langford is on schedule for Aug. 24

Take your opportunity to sing at the Royal Theatre

Great Canadian Sing debuts Sept. 8 with inspirational music, talented performers, singalong format

Award-nominated Snotty Nose Rez Kids headline Indigifest 2019 coming to Victoria

Scheduled for Aug. 24, the event is a showcase of Indigenous musicians from around B.C.

Cycslists were all smiles during ninth Tour de Victoria

More than 2,100 cyclists participated

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Most Read