What could be better than leaping across the stage at the Lincoln Center? If you’re a dance enthusiast like designer Magda Berliner, it’s actually seeing one of your dresses under the spotlights and in action.
That longing comes true this Friday night for more than the fashion designer, with the world premiere of "Flit of Fury/The Monarch," a new work by New York City Ballet soloist Adam Hendrickson as choreographer and company dancer Aaron Severini as composer. The evening, a dancer’s choice and also featuring excerpts from George Balanchine's "Jewels" (the choreographer cofounded the NYCB in 1948), Jerome Robbins' "Dances at a Gathering," and Christopher Wheeldon's "Mercurial Manoeuvres," among others will benefit the Dancer's Emergency Fund. This financial fund provides loans to dancers for housing, health or other emergencies.
It’s well worth the paltry price of admission. The evening includes this video on Adam and Aaron’s inaugural collaboration.
Magda talked to La Vie en Rose about her part in this collaboration, which seems to extend to everyone involved. Besides Aaron, fellow corps de ballet member Kyle Froman shot this photograph of dancer Gretchen Smith, dressed in Magda’s design, during rehearsal.
LVER: How did you get involved in this project with the New York City Ballet?
MB: I had been introduced to Aaron Severini, the composer of the piece, by a mutual friend. Being a fan of the company and of dance in general, Aaron was
aware of my wanting to be involved in any projects he may be involved in. Aaron and Adam Hendrickson, the choreographer of the piece, are both members
of the NYCB corps.
LVER: Is this your first time designing for a dance or stage project?
LVER: What is the story behind this costume, not just in terms of character but your choice of fabric, style?
MB: Adam and I worked off an existing design I have done for my collection. Obviously lighting and the actual choreography of the piece influenced the execution of the costume. We started with the silhouette, which I altered to accommodate more movement. I then chose the fabric to enhance that movement. There are four male dancers also in the piece who are being dressed by the NYCB Costume Department; they are wearing orange. I wanted Gretchen, the female dancer, to harmonize with the other dancers but also stand out in a subtle manner, thus the layering of the grey and orange with a hint of metallic gold under the grey layer.
LVER: Your clothes always possessed a sense of movement, as if created by a dancer or performer. Were you a dancer?
MB: Unfortunately I have had little dance training–a bar or tap class here and there–mostly just late night clubs!
LVER: So how is designing something for an actual dance performance different from street clothes?
MB: Yes, designing for a performance is different, like film costuming which I have also done. As a designer, you must be aware of what action is being executed:
the lighting, the proportions of the performer and also the aesthetic goal. Like any other project it’s ultimately a collaboration between all involved, which is always the most fulfilling aspect of the piece.
I feel enormously grateful and thrilled to be involved in this project, it doesn't get any better than taking a bow on Lincoln Center Stage with the New York City Ballet!
[Photograph of Gretchen Smith by Kyle Froman]
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