Polka dots, stripes and colors spring to life in Boston Ballet’s upcoming production, “Kaleidoscope,” a ballet of four 20th-century works. Ranging from the more classical “Pas de Quatre” to the energetic “Gaite Parisienne,” the costumes mirror the versatility required of the production’s dancers.
Costume and Wardrobe manager Charles Heightchew explains that each set of costumes required extensive work. The Boston Ballet costume team built the costumes for the first two works, designed and created the costumes for the third, “Pas de Quatre,” and repaired the costumes for the fast-paced finale, “Gaite Parisienne,” which are on loan from the American Ballet Theatre (ABT).
To develop the costumes for “Pas de Quatre,” Heightchew and his team worked closely with Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen and did extensive research.
“We looked at old engravings of the typical costume for ‘Pas de Quatre,’ compared it with a style of romantic skirt and bodice, and came up with a pretty strictly classical version of it,” Heightchew says. “The design of the costume is really based on what the choreographer is looking for.”
Heightchew explains that the costumes for the second work in “Kaleidoscope,” “The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude,” were challenging to build. The team used written directions and hands-on duplication to figure out how to make the unusual saucer tutus that accompany the high-energy piece.
The can-can-inspired costumes for the final piece, “Gaite Parisienne,” were by iconic French designer Christian Lacroix in the ‘80s and reflect the high-energy music of the number.
“The music is quite bright and dynamic,” Heightchew says. “[Lacroix] used primary colors … lots of polka dots, lots of stripes, lots of texture in the costumes, so it is a much more dynamic-looking production.”
“Kaleidoscope” will run from March 17-26 at the Boston Opera House. Tickets begin at $35.