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Septime's Blog

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hello TWB Family,

Spring has sprung, and I certainly hope you are excited for our upcoming world premiere of Heminway: The Sun Also Rises. The company artists are enthusiastic about performing this new works, especially in the vibrantly designed costumes by Helen Huang. With that in mine, I've invited Helen to write a guest blog about her creative contribution and motivation behind the costumes for Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises.

Helen Huang on Hemingway Costume Designs

Working with the Washington Ballet has been a treat. I have admired Septime’s work for some time and jumped at the chance to collaborate with such a dynamic artist. Having an extensive background in theatre and opera, I was eager to stretch my artistic hand into ballet.

The beauty and lyricism of dance offers wonderful, expressive, opportunities to a costume designer. I have always been fascinated with this period and the idea of the ‘lost generation’. Nonetheless approaching this design required an incredible amount of thorough research. I must thank my MFA Costume Design students at the University of Maryland Kelsey Hunt, Robert Croghan, Kate Fulop, Kara Waala, Aryna Petrashenko & Maho Nishida, for the enormous stacks of images they gathered for this production.

This research fueled my conversations with Septime and allowed us to develop a very exciting color concept for the show. The First Act of the piece is all black, white and grey with the Second Act being realized in full color. This palette required some very careful fabric selection on my part. While shopping I needed to constantly retain the whole picture in my mind, to see the big canvas of the entire production and really pay attention to the range and proportion of my values. This kind of shopping takes a great deal of endurance but reaps large rewards for the final product.

Lastly I must acknowledge the incredible support I have received from my Assistant Designer Kelsey Hunt, my Costume Production Manager Jennifer Dasher, and the talented shops we have collaborated with. A work of this scale requires constant and thorough communication ¬--collaboration is the core of what we do and I could not have achieved without them.


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