What’s your favorite Halloween costume? Smuin Ballet has a long history of crazy costumes over 20 years of performances. Check out these photos–plus some stories from our Company Manager JoEllen Arntz–in the captions below!
Originally performed by Artistic Director Celia Fushille in the first Christmas Ballet in 1995, the lead of La Calandria has been danced by Resident Choreographer Amy Seiwert and many others. The cape is an original hand-painted silk item from the 1990’s, and the streamers that close the work cost $13 apiece.
Danza de Jalisco premiered in 1998 as a trio featuring Ballet Master Amy London. The costume designers specialized in carnival outfits, not ballet costumes. One designer drew a line and “buttons” down the front of each unitard with a marker to make them look like shirts. The chaps are real–no butt included!
The Smuin favorite Droopy Little Christmas Tree tap dance usually ends with a blackout and the sound of chainsaws–except in 2004! Michael Smuin added a lumberjack (John DeSerio) that chased the trees around. The woodsman was cut from the piece after a few shows, but the costume and props are still in the warehouse!
Smuin Ballet Company Manager JoEllen Arntz was the first Frosty the Snowman, from 1997-2002. When Pedro Gamino took on the role, Michael Smuin added more shtick–like Frosty sunbathing on Christmas Island, with a beach towel, sunglasses and all!
Christmas Island was added to The Christmas Ballet in 1997, and was choreographed for three women. One day in rehearsal, David Strobbe danced the piece as a joke–but Michael Smuin loved it! Strobbe performed in the number several times during the 2004 season.
Michael Smuin’s Zorro! featured many costumes unique to the legendary masked avenger as well as plenty of Spanish American flair. The iconic Zorro cloak (designed by Ann Beck) is made out of wool with a satin lining. Three Zorro capes were made for this production–one for the lead, and two for characters pretending to be the caped swordsman.
Michael Smuin’s Dancing with Gershwin (2001) is a spectacle of dance featuring American pop music, shamelessly entertaining movement and brilliant costumes from Willa Kim. Marilyn’s sexy extravagance continues to be a hit with Smuin audiences!
The finest of the early 60’s paraded onstage in Fly Me to the Moon. Full of shiny vests, full-skirted velvet dresses and pastel fedoras characterize this classic romp blends suave Sinatra melodies with enchanting dances. See if you can spot a young Celia Fushille, Smuin Ballet’s Artistic Director!
Michael Smuin’s classical adagio Starshadows premiered in 1997. The women’s mesh leotards don’t have fastenings–they had to be sewn in around the waist for every show! The men’s costume shifted over years of performances from pleather leggings to velvet shorts. Talk about a memorable outfit!
Michael Smuin’s “steamy mambo ballet” Frankie & Johnny premiered in 1996–and has been repeated several times using the same costumes. The pinstripe zoot suit is disintegrating at the shoulders, cuffs and neckline to show the lining beneath–Company Manager JoEllen Arntz colored in the spaces with a marker for the 2014 performance!
Which Smuin Ballet costume is your favorite? Relive the magic of Halloween and share your best costume with us!