WEST HARTFORD — West Hartford’s Ballet Theatre Company is turning 22! For the past 22 years, the company has served Greater Hartford and beyond in offering professional performances, training aspiring dancers, and serving youth in underserved communities through enriching arts-based experiences. This 2020-2021 season, the company is ready to showcase its talents to the community in a different and exciting fashion, according to an email from organizers.
What better timing than in this 2-2 (tutu) season to highlight one of the most lovable and often underappreciated parts of ballet productions; it’s tutus and their designers. The company will showcase its vast collection of tutus and performance costumes in museums and galleries throughout New England in an exhibit titled, “Through the Tulle.” The complete exhibit will include 22 selected costumes from BTC’s past productions of “The Nutcracker,” “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Don Quixote.” Although tutus are a focus of this exhibit, they will not be the only featured pieces. Men’s character tunics and other character costumes, often fairy tale creatures, will also be on display.
Our hats are off to the talented designers responsible for the pieces of this beautiful display. Tracy Dorman, co-founder, executive director, and head costume designer at BTC, is responsible for a large portion of BTC’s costume repertoire. Mostly self-taught, Dorman has been designing and constructing performance wear from simple skirts to elaborate tutus since high school and for the first five years of BTC’s existence, Dorman was the sole costume designer for the company.
Today, BTC’s costume department consists of two other talented costumers, Pat Nurnberger and Norma Savarino. Nurnberger obtained her Master’s Degree in Costuming from UCONN and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. After a career as a fashion designer in New York, she fell in love with designing theater costumes for her daughter’s ballet school and has since fully devoted herself to the arts designing for operas, musicals, and, of course, ballets.
Savarino has spent the past 20 years designing custom performance attire for individuals and large ensembles. Her experience ranges from middle school and high school theatrical productions to music videos and touring impersonators. Alongside her passion for theatrics, she developed a passion for outfitting High School Colorguard and Winterguard members for competitions and enjoys designing numerous uniforms, coordinating flags, and elaborate props for field competition. With many years of experience and truly gifted minds, these three designers are responsible for every stitch, snap, and embellishment found on the costumes presented in the exhibit.
The traveling exhibition will offer different content depending upon the location, its space, and its audience. A first glance of the exhibit with a limited number of selected costumes will be on display at the Noah Webster House and West Hartford Historical Society from through Oct. 28.
The exhibit will be open in its entirety at the West Hartford Art League from Nov. 1 through Nov. 22. To finish out the year, the exhibit will make its way to the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington. Exhibit locations for 2021 will be released at a later date.
For more information visit www.dancebtc.org and sign up for BTC’s newsletter to receive up to date information on where the tutus are headed next. Track the tutus on social media by following BTC on Facebook and Instagram (@dancebtc) and look for fun family-friendly contests, new announcements from the costume room, and more.