Designing for Danzon

Ballet Hispanico’s return to the Apollo Theater is just around the corner! All of the dancers and staff are busy preparing for the big night, which will include three Ballet Hispanico premieres and live music by Latin Jazz legend Paquito D’Rivera.

Behind the scenes, Wardrobe Director Diana Ruettiger is hard at work crafting new costumes for Danzón, a piece choreographed by Ballet Hispanico Artistic Director Eduardo Vilaro.  We visited her workshop last week to speak about her creative process and the long, but rewarding, journey of designing for Danzón.

Her office is filled with fabric, mannequins, props, and fashion photos for inspiration. When faced with a new collection of costumes to design, Diana’s first steps are to watch, consulate, and experiment. She has been attending Company rehearsals, watching taped footage of the work, and meeting with Mr. Vilaro about his vision for the piece.

And his vision?

“Purple and lace. That’s what he wanted.”

Diana got to work. With a sense of direction for color and texture, she also had many other factors to consider: how do the dancers need to move in the costumes? What design will work best on all the women’s body types? How can she capture the essence of the piece in her design?

She showed us what she had so far. She found some beautiful fabric in her own collection that evoked lace. There was one slight problem: the fabric was pink. Diana, who always thinks fast on her feet, simply dyed it an elegant shade of purple.

For now, she’s playing around with a few different ideas and isn’t exactly sure what the final product will be. One thing is certain, however: Diana’s costumes will be as beautiful, creative, and fabulous as always.

You can see these new costumes for yourself when Ballet Hispanico performs at the Apollo Theater on December 1, 2012 at 7:30pm. For complete performance and ticket information, visit our website here.

Until then, enjoy this sneak preview of Diana Ruettiger’s new Danzón costumes!

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