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New costumes for Symphony in C

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From the announcement of the Spring Gala on the company's website:

Highlighting the season will be a Spring Gala celebration on Thursday, May 10, featuring world premiere ballets by NYCB’s Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins and Principal Dancer Benjamin Millepied, as well as a major revival of George Balanchine’s Symphony in C, featuring new costumes designed by Marc Happel, NYCB’s Director of Costumes.

http://www.nycballet...s/pr052411.html

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This remind me of that old phrase: "If it ain't broke why fix it?"

Personally I love the black and white: simple, direct, sleek, and stylish. What more do we need? But who knows Mr. Happel could happily surprise us with his designs. But I can't help but wonder what the Balanchine purest are going to think...especially if the new costumes are a major miss.

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Shame. I love the bright white tutus with the bows along the rim. When other companies now do Symphony in C the tutus are those flat pancake types with rhinestones. So disappointing. I wonder if the change, which was announced last year, has anything to do with the poor reviews the tutus got on NYCB's last European tour. I remember reading in the French and British press - they didn't like the Symphony in C tutus.

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I'm comfused.

Are they going back to having each movements tutus be a different color only with a new design?

Please don't tell me they are getting rid of Karinska's powderpuff tutu and replacing it with a pancake tutu. I swear I will rip apart those new tutus with my bare teeth!

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I think Karinska's designs are wonderful-(MCB has them)-with all those little bows, but...are they going to be replaced with the uber-flat pankace designs...?...I don't like those...mad.gif

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The simplicity of the men's black leotards is important too. By the eighties they were all black so you that could see pure silhouettes of jumps and the crispness of beats. But earlier pictures show white spats. Any impressions on the differences in performance by anyone who has seen both?

m2-15600-10513400.jpg

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I never much liked the men's costumes -- and had mixed feelings about the tutus when I saw the ballet the first few times. However, I rather got used to the women's costumes and even came to like them. The men's costumes, I have also gotten used to...but never liked. I have mixed feelings about all black on male dancers and the rhinestone or sequins on the costumes seem sort of cheap looking and unappealing (to me at least). I guess I like their simple cut, but its value seems purely a negative one. Hard to believe the men's costumes could not be made more elegant even while being kept simple.

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Here's a documentary innopac posted elsewhere and I just came across at Kristin Sloan's company website. It's about rehabilitating old costumes at City Ballet, in this case those for Theme and Variations. Interesting comments about the types of stresses - fading, oil from partners' hands - that costumes are subject to over the years.

Maybe Symphony in C came up for its ten year rebuild and they decided to go for all new tutus - or else they wanted to make it conform to and look more like the later ballets that pay homage to it - like a Wheeldon, Martins, Possokov, etc!

http://see.jaegerslo...-and-Variations

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Maybe they are doing something along the lines of the original Palais du Cristal costumes with the jewel colors.

An email invitation to the Spring Gala included further detail about the new costumes:

George Balanchine’s tour de force Symphony in C composed by the legendary Georges Bizet returns after four years with dazzling new and fully-redesigned costumes embellished in SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS.

I googled "swarovski elements" and came up with this home page:

http://www.swarovski-elements.com/

Apparently the crystals come in every color including white, so who knows?

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Per an interview with Marc Happel in the latest issue of "New York City Ballet News" the women's tutus will remain white and the men's tunics will remain black, to honor Karinska's originals. As to what's wrong with those originals: "The old costumes had reached a point where they had to be dealt with in some way, and Peter [Martins, NYCB Ballet Master in Chief] decoded that the next time the Company danced the ballet it would be with new costumes." Happel adds that "Swarovski was interested in working with the Company and we decided this was the perfect project for that partnership."

The tutus will have white satin bodices edged in gray and their net skirts will be topped by a plate of silver lace organza embellished with Swarovski crystals in gray, black, blue, and diamond tones. Happel names Dior's "Junon" dress as one of his original inspirations: "My hope was to create something that looks beautiful and classic with a modern edge." (Perhaps by coincidence, perhaps not, Dior is one of the sponsors of NYCB's Spring Gala, "À La Française," where the new costumes will make their debut.) Happel worked with jewellery maker Robert Sorrell on the women's crowns and former NYCB corps member Jamie Wolf -- herself now a jewellery designer -- on the earrings. (The earrings will be available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds will go to NYCB.)

There's a picture of Sara Mearns modelling one of the tutus on the issue's cover as well as reproduction of one of the costume sketches and a shot of a tutu-in-process inside, but they're "partial views" at best and it's hard to get a sense of what they'll really look like on stage.

Re: the men's tunics: Happel is ditching the original stretch fabric, and is replacing it with black velvet. The tunics -- which he's labelled "traditional" -- will have a front panel of pleated satin and a "strong horizontal neckline detailed with a row of Swaroski elements, which emphasizes the men's broad shoulders." The front panel will also be sprinkled with crystals to mirror the tutus.

Note: NYCB has apparently also partnered with OPI on a line of nail polish., featuring colors named (I kid you not) "You Callin' Me a Lyre," "Barre My Soul" and "My Pointe Exactly."

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Happel names Dior's "Junon" dress as one of his original inspirations:

Whatever comes of the new designs for the ballet, that's a very beautiful dress -- many thanks for the link.

(The earrings will be available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds will go to NYCB.)

This should be interesting -- earrings that are designed to be visible from a stage like the State Theater might be a little out of proportion for street wear.

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(The earrings will be available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds will go to NYCB.)

This should be interesting -- earrings that are designed to be visible from a stage like the State Theater might be a little out of proportion for street wear.

Well, that depends on the street, doesn't it ... wink1.gif And it could be that they'll be scaled back for everyday use, much as fashion designers adjust their runway designs before they're manufactured and shipped out to department stores.

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I agree with Sandik, that is A BEAUTIFUL DRESS! And it's certainly classic in feeling.

Me I think the guys' costumes are about as uglifying a garb as I've seen on stage and have never ever liked them We'll have to see if the new designs are in fact an improvement, bl=ut back velvet on top sounds good, as does hte collarbone of crystals.. I wouldn't mind seeing them have a head-dress, so long as it stayed close to the head.

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Sandik - thank you for finding that dress link, it's gorgeous and I hope the NYCB corps agrees! Regarding the velvet for the men, my first thought was of pragmatism, Velvet is hot and doesn't stretch much, this can be very important for male dancers. But hopefully there will be stretchy inserts at the seams.

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Thanks for the video, cinnamonswirl. I agree, I think the tutu is stunning. And I adore the tiara, which, while based on a classic design, looks very modern. I love how it seems to float above the dancer's head.

I think Karinska's designs are wonderful-(MCB has them)-with all those little bows, but...are they going to be replaced with the uber-flat pankace designs...?...I don't like those...mad.gif
Well, apparently you do (see directly above)! wink1.gif I don't like the pouf. To me, it looks fussy, and worse than that, it tends to obscure the all-important line from the middle of the dancer's back through her hips.
(The earrings will be available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds will go to NYCB.)

This should be interesting -- earrings that are designed to be visible from a stage like the State Theater might be a little out of proportion for street wear.

Well, that depends on the street, doesn't it ... wink1.gif And it could be that they'll be scaled back for everyday use, much as fashion designers adjust their runway designs before they're manufactured and shipped out to department stores.

If you look carefully at cinnamonswirl's video and you can glimpse them. I don't see how they could be scaled back enough for an afternoon at the ballpark or even a nice dinner out. Even at half-size, these are strictly for formal wear.

In the 40-some years I've been a NYCB regular, there have been a few adaptations to the costumes. The video that Quiggin posted (post #6) shows them at their worst, I think. The guys' costumes are half a step above practice clothes, while the tutus are more formal. Mismatch between the sexes. Fortunately, the men's tunics gained a satiny finish and some subtle sparkle. thumbsup.gif The spats came wallbash.gif and went thumbsup.gif . At one point, the women's bodices were a lovely brocade over a plain, flattish tutu. For some reason, they didn't last long. dunno.gif A shame.

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That is one gorgeous tiara. It is actually chic, a term I wouldn't normally think to apply to a tiara.

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I was disappointed, I thought the costumes would be more strongly similar to the Junon dress, but I do like the tiaras. They are replicas of the Kokoshnik "hen's comb" style, which was popular in the late 19th century among royals - an imitation of the Russian peasant Kokoshnika headdress style - which the Tsarina then copied, and then the other royals had to have them too.

http://orderofsplend...alexandras.html

(the jewelry section of this website was fun to explore, makes you wonder which tiaras will be worn this summer for the Queen's Jubilee - maybe they will pull some of the rarely worn ones from the vault for the newer royal ladies to wear?)

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Last night I saw Symphony in C for the first time since the new costumes were unveiled. The corps de ballet's tutus glub up and down like self-propelled jellyfish whenever the corps runs or jumps, which is not seldom. Apart from this, the very worst I can say about the new costumes is that they are not Karinska's costumes.

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