Jane Wood learned to sew from her mother and throughout her schooling, making the change to ballet costumes when her daughter took up dancing. She says a tutu usually takes three to four days to make. (Kendra Crighton/Victoria News Staff)

Designer sews up important role with Ballet Victoria

Jane Wood has been designing costumes for 30 years

Jane Wood has been designing costumes for 30 years. Her hands have sewn, stitched and even painted the elaborate outfits seen on stage during Ballet Victoria’s performances.

She’s spent her last six weeks, working full time, designing the colourful and creative outfits that will be worn in the ballet’s next performance, Alice in Wonderland.

Wood sat down with Black Press to discuss her work as she was putting the final touches on the Cheshire Cat’s orange and purple tutu before the Tea for Tutu performance on Tuesday.

Attendees will be able to pick out their favourite characters from the English novel turned Disney classic during the performance on May 17 and 18, including Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Red Queen, the White Rabbit and many more.

RELATED: Ballet Victoria stages a musical masterpiece

Wood learned to sew from her mother and all throughout her schooling, eventually moving into the costume world when her daughter took up ballet.

“Of course you get roped into doing the costumes if you know how to sew and it kind of grew from there,” she says.

She says while some costumes can be tedious if there’s multiples, there isn’t any outfit she’s disliked creating.

“It’s always something different, it’s always a challenge and you get to make things that you wouldn’t otherwise make for any other reason,” she says. “It’s creative and it’s fun.”

She says one of her favourite pieces to make is always the tutu, despite the fact that they usually take three or four days to make depending on how decorative the skirt is.

“They’re always fun, but a lot of work.”

Usually ideas take shape after a discussion with Paul Destrooper, Victoria Ballet’s artistic director, but sometimes a piece of fabric will catch her eye.

RELATED: Ballet Victoria goes dancing down the rabbit hole

“When I saw [the White Rabbit’s] fabric, I thought OK he’s going to be an Elizabethan bunny, and so that’s what he turned into,” she says. “Sometimes things kind of happen accidentally or they just evolve.”

Adding to the creative challenge, the costumes have to be designed so the dancer wearing it can have complete freedom of movement.

“For men’s costumes, the sleeves will be constructed separately on a stretchy undervest with a vest over top,” explains Wood. “So when they move their arms the whole thing doesn’t go up.”

The outfits also have to be pretty tight so that during lifts or other large movements the costume stays on the dancer and doesn’t move around.

“It’s a little different from theatre or regular clothing for sure.”

Ballet Victoria’s latest production, Alice in Wonderland, will take place May 17 and 18 at the Royal Theatre. For more information or to purchase tickets visit balletvictoria.ca.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Belgian man searches for family of fallen First World War soldier from Victoria

Mark Edward Berton attended Victoria High School and has his grave in Flanders Field

Oak Bay artist co-op highlights autobiographical Snapshots showcase

Snapshots runs from June 4 to 22 at Gage Gallery, 2031 Oak Bay Ave.

Saanich preschool celebrates 30 years with reunion event

Thousands invited RSVP for Carrot Seed Preschool 30-year celebration

Sidney Museum’s Chief Dan George exhibition sees surge of interest

Four mayors, federal Green leader, Tsartlip reps to attend June 21 opening ceremony

Young woman taken to hospital following Trans-Canada accident

Incident left woman with ‘minor injuries’ as West Shore RCMP continue investigation

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen found in torched SUV

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

Most Read