In a room at the School of Ballet Arizona, this phrase is tacked onto a bulletin board and followed faithfully: “There are three ways to build a costume — good, fast and cheap. Of these three options, only two of the three are possible at a time.”
For Ballet Arizona’s production of “Romeo and Juliet,” these “Costume Studio Rules” are vital to the show’s success.
“We have to do everything as fast as possible, but high quality,” says Leonor Texidor, costume shop manager for the ballet.
“Romeo and Juliet” opens on Valentine’s Day at Symphony Hall and runs through the weekend.
The company has been working on the show since the fall. The preparation for it has been made easier, as the costumes for the performance were purchased from a Boston ballet company and not designed from scratch by Texidor and her team.
However, the outfits are no less extravagant or detailed than Texidor-made costumes. During the ballroom scenes, dancers are put in tall velvet hats adorned with bright jewels. Juliet’s romantic dress has a flowing silk skirt and gold ribbon empire waist. For Romeo and the male characters, leather shoes and large swords bring the action scenes to life.
“For me, fitting is the most important and the way that the costume moves,” says Texidor. “It has to be a good, happy medium between perfect fitting on the body and the move(ment).”
The costume department’s hard work sometimes goes unnoticed by the audience. Texidor says that since there is a good amount of distance between the stage and the audience, the dresses, hats and shoes become more a part of the overall production than single, detailed pieces of clothing.
But for the dancers, she says that the costumes’ role is invaluable.
“(The costumes add) all the romantic and dramatic parts,” says Texidor. “It’s not the same scene if the dancer dance(s) without costume.”
Jillian Barrell, the 23-year-old dancer playing Juliet, says that the outfits she wears during the performance have helped her to express Juliet’s complex moods.
“When you put on a costume, it’s like another piece that makes it feel … like the performance is more real,” says Barrell. “When I take my hair down and put the costume on, (I) feel more like Juliet.”
Nayon Iovino, 23, plays Romeo. For this role, he wears leather boots while dancing, a unique choice as compared to his standard ballet shoes.
“Because it’s leather, it’s more sticky and harder to feel the floor,” says Iovino. “So technique-wise, that makes it more challenging.”
The costumes are tailored to the time period in which “Romeo and Juliet” is set, so Iovino hopes they help the audience connect with the performance.
“I hope (the audience) believe(s) that (the story) is real,” says Iovino, “and that they believe that love does happen and it’s magical.”
If you go
What: Ballet Arizona’s performance of “Romeo and Juliet”
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16; and 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17
Where: Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second St., Phoenix
Cost: $24.50 to $156.50
Information: (602) 381-0184 or BalletAZ.org
• Ellen, a junior studying journalism at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is an intern for the East Valley Tribune. Contact her at (480) 898-6514 or firstname.lastname@example.org.