FABRIC, GLITTER, TULLE; AND WE HAVE...
Attitude! Creativity! Isn’t that the name of the game? The whole process of pull-
ing a production together is achieved by touching base with each varied and
August 1, 2007
creative staffing element that makes up a dance company.
We began with a discussion of taking the creation of the “vision” all the
Inside this issue:
way to the actual production. We also touched on many different aspects of the
creativity process. But even with the start of the “vision”, the executive board,
Fabric, Glitter, Tulle 1
the marketing department, and the lighting and scenery department, we would
Kudos 2 not be able to visualize the “vision” without the able assistance of the costume
You Know You Are 3
department. That is where Betsy Blackmore comes into play.
Betsy is the guru of the costume/makeup department at Dance Theatre
Seven Diet Myths 4
and is able to create something from almost nothing, sometimes using just a little
Question & Answer 5 bit of glitter or tulle. Betsy applied to Montgomery Jr. College and after flounder-
Helpful Hints 6 ing around in general academics, she ended up at her first love, the theater. It
was in that department that she met her first graduate of North Carolina School
Calendar of Events 6
of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC, who had come in to design an opera produc-
Ballet Terms 6 tion for the school theater department. Betsy was so impressed with this gradu-
ate that she transferred to NCSA and double majored in Scene Design/Lighting
Design. She discovered that she wasn’t very good at either but had an ap-
titude in the costume shop. Betsy made the choice to change majors to
Costuming instead of Costume Design because the art of the craft inter-
ested her more. Design is all about how to translate a pretty picture and
make it a real, live, breathing thing.
Shortly after Betsy graduated, she obtained a job with North Caro-
lina Dance Theatre in Winston-Salem, NC. In her early years with NCDT,
Betsy learned how to make use of her talents in collaboration with a lot of
people. The act of creating a costume for dance never happens within a
vacuum. There are a lot of people who have a say in the final product, not
the least of which is the dancer. Frequently, what ends up on stage is not
what started out on paper. This is a concept that new designers in dance
often have a difficult time understanding.
When Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux (president and artistic director of Dance Theatre) has a “vision” in
mind, he also usually has an idea of what he wants the costumes to look like early on in the process.
Betsy and Jean-Pierre usually have a conversation about the costumes and he may have a photo to show
for his inspiration. They discuss the dancer that will be wearing which costume; will they be wearing
tights, would they look good in a certain color or style bodice. If the
production is a Balanchine Ballet, Betsy researches the costumes
and tries to obtain an original costume to copy.
So, what kind and color of material? Should tulle be used,
glitter or rhinestones? Betsy explains that material choice is proba-
bly the most critical part of a dance costume continued on page 3 ..
Attitude! Page 2
KUDOS TO THE SUMMER INTENSIVE PROGRAM
AT NC DANCE THEATRE SCHOOL OF DANCE
In our last issue of Attitude, we shared with you the incredible line-up of teachers involved in the
summer intensive program at NC Dance Theatre School of Dance. As the parents and students of the
School, we sometimes take for granted the awesome faculty and advantages that we receive every day in
our School. It really is an eye-opening experience to hear what parents and students from other compa-
nies, dance schools and countries think of our School and the opportunities found here.
We would like to share with you an excerpt from one parent whose child had participated in the
summer program in 2006, to another parent who was contemplating sending her daughter here for her
first summer intensive:
“I would love to talk to you about this (NC Dance Theatre School of Dance Summer Intensive Pro-
gram)! Thanks for contacting me! Briefly, my daughter Lauren has a few friends who did another sum-
mer program and the girls compared their experiences and we decided to go back to NC Dance Theatre
for a second year rather than staying local. The other place is a great school with a great faculty and part
of the reason we aren’t staying here is because Lauren wants exposure to a different set of teachers, but I
do believe that the NC Dance Theatre summer program is a bit stronger. Some of the criticisms that I’ve
heard of the other program is that there are gaps in the middle of the day (since they don’t dance for 6 full
days a week like they do at NC Dance Theatre, there’s significantly less dance time) and some of the kids
that come to the other from out of town have behavior issues that the RA’s in the dorm aren’t able to han-
dle. The behavior issues may not repeat this summer, but the schedule gaps will. On the other hand, I
was SO impressed with the girls at NC Dance Theatre last summer. They were so nice—a GREAT group
of girls—and the administrators really set the right tone in making everyone feel welcome and comfortable
and happy. It was a warm and nurturing environment (probably more so than the other program), yet the
dancing was intense and very challenging. However, Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux aren’t
there during the summer. They’re directors, but teach at an affiliated school in NY (Chautauqua). There
were some great instructors at NC Dance Theatre that Lauren loved, and others that she didn’t love, but
she loved being there and had a great overall experience,” Susan
When you read or hear what others think of your school or company, you have to step back and
take a look at the program that you are involved in and count yourself and your child very lucky to have
access to such a strong and varied program. At this time, we would like to share with you a slideshow of
the participants of NC Dance Theatre School of Dance’s summer program: Summer Intensive 2007
Alabama 1 California 2
Connecticut 2 Florida 3
Georgia 18 Illinois 1
Maryland 2 Massachusetts 6
Michigan 2 Missouri 2
New Jersey 3 New York 5
North Carolina 24 Ohio 5
Pennsylvania 4 South Carolina 8
Tennessee 5 Texas 1
Virginia 1 Wisconsin 1
“I don’t want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance!” - George Balanchine
Attitude! Page 3
FABRIC, GLITTER, TULLE
continued from page 1
This is why the initial collaboration is so important. If the material choice is made quickly
and easily, then the rest of the design will follow along nicely. If the fabric choice is an
“experiment” as in “I think I want to see this,” then things become a little more interesting.
In such cases, happy “accidents” can sometimes happen in the evolution of that garment.
Keep in mind though, accessorizing can be a tricky thing in dance. First and foremost, the dancer
must be able to dance! If an accessory is needed, it is usually removed so the dancer can dance. Exam-
ples of this are a cape, hat or a cane. These things would be important for the character to have but not
for dancing. The choice to accessorize is totally up to the choreographers.
Betsy also says the more advance or lead time that she can get on what type of costumes are
needed for the productions, the better. Usually she has lots of lead time to reproduce a Master Work Bal-
let. For instance, this summer she will be building costumes for Alvin Ailey’s Night Creatures as well as
Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs. The majority of the other costumes that her shop produces are for
pieces that are created on Dance Theatre’s dancers. Usually, these are contemporary works and so the
process of discovering the choreography goes hand in hand with the decisions on the costumes. Most of
the time, stitchers are hired a week or two to help Betsy get the costumes finished in time.
While deciding and choosing materials and designs for the
costumes, Nate McGaha (director of operations) will put his lighting
designer hat on and come talk to Betsy about the new costumes.
She will show him the fabrics and the mock-ups so he can see how
the garment moves and the colors they will be using. Betsy strongly
feels that the lighting is the magic fairy dust of a production.
Betsy also has an assistant, Lindsey Bruck, wardrobe supervi-
sor. Lindsey helps to build the costumes as well as maintain them.
Once the costumes leave the shop, they become her total responsibil-
ity. She makes sure that fittings are arranged if there are cast
changes, does the alterations, repairs them and sees that they are cleaned for each performance. She
also supervises the dressers in the theatre. It is extremely important that Lindsey is involved in the cos-
tume building process. If quick changes are needed during or after the piece, we need to know this so we
can make the costume do this. Lindsey needs to train the dressers on how the quick change needs to
happen and when. She also tours with the company.
So the next time you view some of the beautiful and creative costumes on stage, just think of the
incredible amount of time and effort that goes into not only building and designing the costumes but the
total upkeep of them. And hug a costume designer!
Betsy Blackmore is the costume director of Dance Theatre. If you have further questions, she can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 704.372.0101x117.
You Know You Are a Dancer When...
• The bell rings at school and you start to clap and then go up and thank your teacher.
• Your body cracks loud enough to stop class but you don’t hear it.
• All your friends are eating dinner while you are in class.
• Your mom/dad bought stock in Band-Aid.
Attitude! Page 4
SEVEN DIET MYTHS
If you want to lose weight, you should dramatically cut calories or not eat.
Fact: Many people are concerned about being thin. The reality is that everyone has an individual and spe-
cific number of calories that are needed to maintain muscle mass and to keep the brain and central nervous system
going. This is called your “basal metabolic rate.” The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate. For
young women, a baseline energy need is about 1,400 calories; another 700-800 calories are usually needed for liv-
ing and dancing. For young men, a basal metabolic rate of about 1,700 calories is the norm, as well as an additional
700-800 calories for living and dancing. Consuming fewer calories than your basal metabolic rate slows metabolism
and results in loss of muscle, not fat. This is because when we are not eating much, muscle is used to make blood
sugar so that the brain and nervous system get the food they need. Not eating will break down muscle and seriously
affect immunity, not to mention your ability to dance.
The body can digest only one food at a time, so combining protein with carbohydrates creates
toxins that will make you sick.
Fact: There are many popular myths about combining food, and not one of them is based in biochemical truth! We
should eat a combination of protein, carbohydrate and fat at each meal for optimal energy, brain function and diges-
tive function as well as to prevent cravings. We become sick from eating a nutrient-poor diet based on sugar and
refined junk foods, not from “toxins.”
Carbohydrates make you fat.
Fact: Eating too many calories from any food group and not burning them off can cause weight gain. Carbohydrates
come from cereals, grains, pastas, etc., as well as fruits. Carbohydrates supply power to the brain and working mus-
cles. Eliminating them from your diet produces low blood sugar and weak muscles and can seriously impair perform-
ance. Include at least 8 to 10 servings of grains, cereals and breads each day (one serving, about one ounce, is 80
calories), as well as four fruit servings daily (one serving is a small piece of fruit or 1/2 cup juice). By the way, vege-
tables are technically carbohydrates; however, they contain mostly fiber and do not give the body much fuel.
The best way to keep up energy is to consume “energy” bars.
Fact: The best way to keep up your energy is by eating consistently, getting adequate calories and com-
bining protein, fat and carbohydrates in proper proportions at each meal. Energy bars do provide energy because
they contain calories. Make sure you read labels and compare. Some bars are high in calories, contain animal fats
and have very little fiber. For your snacks, a better bet is to focus on food with a protein source. Try raisins and nuts
or cottage cheese and fruit, either of which can give you protein, iron and fiber. They also can give you a boost in
energy for far less money.
Diet colas are okay to drink because they are calorie-free.
Fact: Although diet colas do not contain calories, they contain caffeine and phosphorus. A small amount of caffeine
(one cup of coffee) can improve muscle performance, but large amounts of caffeine can cause dehydration and flush
out B vitamins. Also be aware that canned and bottled diet colas contain phosphorus. Excess phosphorus can cause
the body to flush out calcium, which in turn can cause bones and teeth to get brittle. Better choices when you are
thirsty are water or diluted sports drinks to see you through long rehearsals.
To stay thin, eliminate fat from your diet.
Fact: Although high fat intake is not recommended, eliminating or greatly reducing fat can depress immune function,
create menstrual disturbances and hurt muscular performance. Rather than eliminating all fats, reduce your intake of
fats from animal sources, but include nuts, avocados, olive oil, fish and flaxseed oil. These oils reduce joint inflam-
mation, improve brain function and support immunity. Continued on page 5..
Attitude! Page 5
QUESTION AND ANSWER CORNER
T his month, we spoke with Doug Singleton, the executive director of NC Dance Theatre. Af-
ter graduating from the College of Charleston, he traveled the world for more than five years with the
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Doug joined NC Dance Theatre in 1996 as director of operations
before moving up to executive director.
Q: Your title is executive director for NC Dance Theatre. What does this entail?
A: As the executive director of the NC Dance Theatre, I am responsible for the fiscal health and operations of
the organization. Through partnership with Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and the Board of Trustees, we all work together
to keep this organization healthy and moving forward. Mr. Bonnefoux creates the vision for our company, school,
education and outreach programs. The different departments work in tandem to move the vision forward. Mr. Bon-
nefoux is committed to reaching our community in different ways. It is my responsibility to ensure the school, educa-
tion, outreach, marketing, development and the professional company are working together in order to achieve these
goals. This is only possible with open and honest dialogue between each department. This idea is to work as one
fluid, organic entity; each person and department creates an important and necessary influence to our combined
growing success. I have the greatest job because I am able to participate at each level and in every department of
Q: Do you have any dance background (dancer, choreographer, music major, etc)?
A: I attended the Governor’s School of the Arts in South Carolina and was the recipient of the Emmett Robin-
son Scholarship at the College of Charleston for my acting abilities. I had expectations of Broadway, but the reality
and difficulty of such a career led me to Arts Management. I have the greatest respect for all artists whether it is per-
forming, literary, or visual because their dedication and commitment are inspiring to all of us.
Q: What is your favorite style of dance and why?
A: I have a real love for contemporary dance, but I also love the “Spectaculars,” such as Peter Pan, Nutcracker
and Swan Lake. Personally, I like to find balance.
“Learning to walk sets you free. Learning to dance gives you the greatest freedom of
all; to express your whole self, the person you are.”—Melissa Hayden
SEVEN DIET MYTHS
..continued from page 4
There just isn’t enough time to eat well.
Fact: There is always time to eat well. Choose whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cereals and good
proteins like chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, beans and low-fat dairy products. Look for the most unprocessed food possi-
ble when you are in the grocery store or a restaurant. Dancers are always on the go, so plan ahead. Think of your
day’s eating strategy in terms of five small meals. Rather than relying on fast foods or junk foods, buy good-quality
foods and keep them on hand at home or the theater, or pack nutritious food in a lunch box.
Know the truth behind the myths. You don’t have to be a gourmet cook to put nutritious meals together; just
start with simple, unprocessed foods. Good, easy breakfasts are instant oatmeal, yogurt and fruit, or a peanut butter
and banana sandwich on whole grain bread. A healthful lunch can be a turkey sandwich or a handful of baby carrots
and tomato soup. Snacks could be yogurt and a handful of almonds, or soup and crackers. Dinner could be scram-
bled eggs, a quick salad and a baked potato.
HELPFUL HINTS: Page 6
Always Keep Feet Dry And Supple
If the skin dries out, it will crack or become tender, and will rub off and form blisters or soft corns
between the toes. Massage Vaseline into the skin of the toes each night; push Vaseline into the space
around the toenails and rub it on the heels. Massage each toe and knead the arch with your thumbs.
Start by doing a preparation up into retouré and holding it there for a few seconds. Do this over
and over. Then move onto quarter turns, half turns, and finally, full turns. Always listen to your teachers
as they can see the little things that could be throwing you off. Keep everything pulled up and your foot in
front of your knee while turning.
Classroom Etiquette is a very important part of the dance learning environment. Show the
teacher and the other students the same respect you give at your regular school. This means being quiet
and not talking between combinations and being attentive when your teacher explains exercises. Do not
dance around the room while another group is dancing. This is very distracting both to the teacher and
the dancers. Wait your turn patiently and go over the steps so you don’t make any mistakes when you get
out there and dance. This will help make the class move faster and on to more advanced things quicker.
How to Harden Boxes on Pointe Shoes
When the box area of your pointe shoes start to become soft, pour a little bit of Future liquid floor
wax into the toe of the shoe and swirl around so it is absorbed smoothly. Place shoes in the window area
where the sun can then bake the shoes to hardness. If unable to put shoes in a window area, turn on the
oven at low heat (200° Let it heat up and then shut off the oven. Place shoes in the oven to bake.
Once done, the box of the shoe will have hardened.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS: BALLET TERMS
Aug 3: School of Dance Summer Intensive Perform- Assemble: to assemble
ance at 8 PM at the Booth Playhouse
Battement Frappe: to strike
Aug 6-10: School of Dance Hosts Kim Robards Summer
Intensive Cou de Pied: neck of the foot
Aug 8: Parent Guild Meeting at 5:30 PM
Aug 13-17: School of Dance Open Classes 10:30 AM—
Petit Jete Dessus: small jete over
Aug 20-24: School of Dance Open Classes 4:30 PM— Ballotte: tossed
6 PM Fouette: whipped
Aug 25: NC Dance Theatre Open House from 9 AM - Saute de Basque: Basque jump
Aug 27-31: School of Dance Open Classes 4:30 PM -
Kathie Wilson, Editor