Back in February I was asked to design and make the costumes for Leeds uni dance group called 'Dance Expose'. It sounded really interesting as well as being a challenge!
The theme for the annual dance show was 'London Underground', with each dance being inspired by different aspects of the capital. There were around 20 different dances, each with their own genre and theme. My task was to design, source the fabric, and make the costumes for the dancers.
I had roughly 7 days to make the costumes- as this coincided with my course trip to Paris, so I had to work very hard to meet the deadline.
Each dance consisted of between 6-16 dancers, so it was very confusing keeping on top of the different dances and who were in them! I devoted a whole notepad full of lists and lists of each dance, it never left my side the whole time!
The choreographer of each dance gave me an idea of what kind of costume they wanted, some of the themes were 'London Zoo', with a samba theme. Others included a robotic theme for 'London Science Musem'.
I also had to source the fabric, as cheaply as possible due to the show being on a limited budget. I visisted Leeds market for this, as they have fabric at low prices. I was forever scribbling down noted and calculations, as I had to buy so much fabric and work out precisely how much I needed, without creating waste.
I had to think of ways to make the garments, as quickly and precisely as possible. I made wrap skirts for some of the dances as they were easy for the dancers to take on and off in the quick costume changes. I also made circle skirts, net tops, and many, many shoulder pads (at least 50!) to attach to the outside of tops.
For one of the dances, the influence was 'Lady Gaga'. From this idea, I constructed a paper pattern for a hood to work from, and managed to create 14 hooded open front tops with silver trim in one night. I also worked hard to make 16 samba influenced dresses in one night as well!
It was hard work, but it was definately worth it in the end when I went to see the show. The costumes looked good, and the dancers invited me on stage at the end to thank me. I even got a big thankyou in the programme that was available at the show!