The Cutting Edge

Guest writer: Laura Lynch, Houston Ballet costume shop supervisor

The room is always abuzz with the sounds of industrial machines.  I’m speaking of course about the Houston Ballet costume shop.

As the shop supervisor, I oversee the costume shop in the creation of costumes from rendering to completion, as well as refurbishing and altering existing costumes.

Currently the shop is busy with the finishing touches for Stanton Welch’s new ballet, The Core (formally known as “Gershwin” in our shop).  Also, we are building a few new skirts for Serenade because many of our new dancers are taller than the existing skirts…so the only solution to keep the design integrity is to build new ones.  The shop is preparing Cinderella for stage, which includes new builds (Cinderella and Stepmother) due to sizing issues.  When we rent a show not all the costumes work for all our casts.  When this happens we sometimes have to build new.  We are also altering existing costumes so they look their best on our dancers.

I am currently in the process of scheduling personnel and working on our upcoming show strategies for Reps 5 and 6.  The designer for Rep 5’s Kudelka premiere (Denis Lavoie) will be coming in for our production conference soon, and we await designs.  Also arriving this month will be the designer for next season’s Marie (Kandis Cook) for production work and to present the final designs.  I am working with the co-designers for Rep 6’s A Doll’s House (Houston Ballet costume shop’s own Monica Guerra and Travis Halsey), helping them purchase materials and objects.  I’ll organize all the treasures we find so that when we begin the build, anyone in the shop can easily find what they need to move forward on whatever project they may be working on for that show.  This is something I do for all our new build productions.  I also prepare “Bibles” for each show, which contains designs, designer notes, reference notes, swatches, receipts, correspondence, casting, and any information gathered during the production process of the build.

I showcase all new build designs on a design board located in the costume shop so anyone can refer to the designs with ease.  I like to have the build designs visible for the shop as well as those who visit the shop.

Included in our busy season, we also do pre-season work on The Nutcracker, which this year requires a substantial amount of rebuild.  The shop will be rebuilding Symphony in C for the upcoming season as well.

 In a nutshell…we are busy.



Costume design for The Core’s “Dancing Girl”.  All rights reserved by designer Holly Hynes.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s