Background: An apparel and graphic designer, Susan Merriam has received the YMA Fashion Fund Scholarship, Esper A. Shwaery Scholarship, and has recently had a piece in the Clerestory x Better World by Design Exhibition. She will be having a piece in RISD Collection ’13 in the Spring and a piece in the Gelman Gallery’s Show, Simple. She studied dance and musical theatre in high school and is very happy to be working with Festival Ballet on this collaboration.
Thoughts on the Collaboration: It was a great opportunity working with Festival Ballet on this collaboration. It is very helpful as a designer interacting with the person that will wear and experience one’s designs. Being able to see if it’s comfortable, moveable and interesting to look at are always considerations that sometimes in fashion get forgotten.
Susan Merriam is a junior in the RISD Cut & Sew Costume Studio.
Background: I was born and raised in Japan. My mother is Greek-Cypriot and my father is American. Having an international background, I have the tendency to make artwork that deals with cultures. I am also very interested in fabric manipulation that creates depth to a piece.
Thoughts on the Collaboration:
It was the first time I have made menswear in my life and the interest has grown ever since I have made the squirrel costume. It was a great challenge to understand what it means to make costumes that are durable, washable and comfortable for someone who would be rigorously moving in it. It was such a great opportunity to be able to work with such an amazing group of people. I had so much fun.
Elisha is a Junior in the Apparel department taking menswear in the spring.
We asked dance critic Arlene Croce to give us some insight into the ballet:
“Before it was ever performed, Agon was understood to be the climax of the most powerful partnership in ballet history, a partnership concieved as a friendly contest (Agon means contest) between Music (Igor Stravinsky) and Dance (George Balanchine). On November 27, 1957 and again on December 1, the official opening night, Agon was unveiled to packed houses at City Center, home of the New York City Ballet, and was instantly recognized as a classic of the twentieth-first as well as the twentieth century. Not only an artistic triumph, it was, against all expectation, a box-office hit. The programs of the 1957-58 season were repeatedly torn up to make room for extra perfrormances of Agon. In the years to come, the wit, the daring, the tensions and intricacies of Agon invaded the consciousness of ballet companies the world over. Often imitated, never surpassed, not even by its creators, Agon stands today as the supreme example of advanced American style in the classical ballet.”
Arlene Croce, a dance critic for The New Yorker for many years, is a leading authority on the works of George Balanchine, having written extensively on the subject throughout her career.
Festival Ballet Providence will be presenting Agon as part of our double-bill Agon & Orchis March 8, 9, and 10 at The Vets in Providence, RI.
Background: I am from the Philippines and from a family of eight; including my parents. I tend to make garments with a textiles aesthetic as well as enjoy experimenting with various materials and techniques.
Thoughts on the collaboration: The collaboration with Festival Ballet Providence was truly beneficial as it allowed me to try my hand at a number of apparel techniques that resulted in a satisfying garment solution. Moreover, I came to understand the importance of a seamless conversation between client, designer, model, and viewer. The process from research, in-class critiques, color matching, fittings, material sourcing, exposure to dance movement, pattern making, sewing and finishing was challenging but nonetheless a very worthwhile experience.
Mara is a Junior Apparel Design Major at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Background: Anica Buckson is from Boston, Massachusetts where she was born and raised. She attended the Boston Arts Academy high school as a visual arts major before going to RISD.
Thoughts on the Collaboration: Working with other students collaboratively on one project was a challenge but also a great learning experience. This was a very different type of teamwork which requires a lot of communication with my peers but also being very independent in the one costume I was working on (bee costume). Working on the costume was a long and arduous process but finishing it was very rewarding. The most thrilling part of this project was fitting my costume work-in-progress on the dancers and seeing it come to life as they danced. This collaboration is definitely an experience to remember.
Anica is a junior studying apparel design at Rhode Island School of Design.
Today we begin posting thoughts from each of the RISD students who are designing costumes for Little Red Riding Hood. We are grateful for their expertise, talent, and their enthusiasm for this unique collaboration.
Background: Tracy was born in China, but has been living in upstate New York before coming to RISD, where she is currently falling in love with menswear design in the apparel department. Tracy is very fond of cats and bunnies, although now has a new-found appreciation for wolves.
Thoughts on the collaboration:
Dancers’ bodies are so uniquely beautiful and very different from the usual silhouettes we are used to working with in the apparel department. I felt that working with Festival Ballet breathed fresh air into the curriculum, and it was great that FBP was so receptive to the concepts that were presented. It seemed that the collaboration was successful and allowed both sides to be inspired by each other.
Yiqian Tracy Jiang is a Junior in the RISD Cut & Sew Costume Studio.
We started rehearsing Little Red Riding Hood back in November but the show has really come to life this week. No ballet is easy but this one is especially difficult because it has to be targeted at a young audience, while still being appealing to the parents. Boyko Dossev (of Boston Ballet) was the choreographer of last year’s chatterBOXtheatre production of “Mother Goose Goes to Hollywood.” He is at the helm once more for another brand-new ballet. So far the show is a lot of fun. I will be dancing the role of The Big Bad Wolf. It was daunting at first but now that the choreography is coming together it’s a lot of fun. Portraying a wolf is a big challenge for both myself and the choreographer. We have to balance a lot of factors: the physical anatomy of the character, the imaginative nature of the fairy tale, and the reality of portraying all of this using ballet technique. There’s a lot left to be done and I’m excited to see how it all comes together.
Welcome to the FBP Blog! We hope you will check in here to see a new perspective of Festival Ballet Providence. We will have contributions from lots of people associated with the organization including dancers, choreographers, designers, faculty, students, etc. Our hope is to give you a wide range of perspectives on what it’s really like being involved with FBP. And you can turn to the blog for in-depth information about upcoming performances. Our next production is Little Red Riding Hood and that is where we will begin. But there are so many exciting things coming up in our 35th season and they will all be discussed here.