The Australian Ballet Centre, in Melbourne, has opened its doors and is operating a limited number of tours showing the studios and costume workrooms. As I mentioned in a previous post, I simply adore ballet costumes and chose a ballet theme as one of my final fashion design projects when I was studying. Myself and a friend very excitedly booked our tour tickets and waited with anticipation....
We managed to get tickets for the first tour, it is virtually booked out already, and turned up at the ballet centre. There was a meeting area near the box office where we had to wait. Whilst we were waiting for everyone else to turn up we observed our surroundings. When I say surroundings I mean ballet dancers on their way to class. How physically distinguished they were, even in their everyday clothes!
Michael Williams, Head of Wardrobe, has worked for the Australian Ballet for 35 years. He lead us into the workroom where the costumes are made, not hugely dissimilar to the fashion design workrooms we studied in with lots of machines and pattern making tables. The fabric storage room was huge and perfectly in colour order like a rainbow. There were racks and racks of costumes being worked on by the permanent staff of 10. I felt nothing but respect for these women as I know what skill it takes to make them, and how back aching it can be sat at a machine or workdesk!
After we gazed in awe and chatted about the costumes we were taken to the school/studio part of the ballet centre where soloist, Laura Tong, chatted to us about life on and off the stage. There were lots studios, some being used by students and some not. One of the studios was full of the professional dancers of the Australian Ballet. These extremely lean and toned dancers were doing their daily warm up making it look so easy and graceful. It made me realise the amount of dedication it must take to become a ballet dancer.
The hour long tour concluded and it was a wonderful experience whether you are a costume or ballet fan (or both).
As there was a strict no camera policy, humph, I copied these photos from their website. They are a true reflection of what we saw, including the Barbie and Ken hanging from the ceiling!