Originally when designing the costumes for the Emerging Choreographer’s Showcase (ECS), I shied away from the idea of using unitards.  For those of you who are not aware, unitards is the term for a dance outfit with the top of a leotard, but which instead continues down the length of the dancer’s leg.  As a designer, I have a tendency to view them more as a distraction to the movement, which flattens the organic shape of the dancer’s body to create different lines.

In the process of designing the costumes, many revisions were made through conversations with the choreographers in order to create a performance that captured both their vision along with my own.  One dramatic turn, was the last piece of the performance, which included the use of sand.  Originally, my design included multiple layers with light fabric which flowed and separated from the body; however, through collaborative efforts and clear communication, I revised the design to include unitards for the dancers.  This change not only helped to solidify the vision of the choreographer, but the combination of the sand and the unitards created a visually dynamic design, which was much more intense.

As a designer, collaboration is one key to the success of my designs.  Part of that is not only being true to my own vision, but the ability to move beyond my personal holdbacks, in order to create a design that becomes much more than its original parts.


Picture Note:  This is a picture of the three dancers in the ECS piece “Hourglass”, which is referenced above.  The picture was taken by myself (Rachel Maggs).