Here’s a look behind the scenes of our upcoming collaboration with Project Runway’s Timothy Westbrook and Danceworks Performance Company. Timothy discusses his work on the concert, Paleontology of a Woman, in an interview with Danceworks Marketing Manager, Lisa Wenzler below.
Fashion and dance? How fun! Get ready to experience a one of a kind experience. Join us at Next Act Theatre on Halloween weekend. Hope to see you there! —Deb Farris
Lisa: Timothy, how is this collaboration different from others you’ve participated in in the past?
Timothy: I have always had a very clear vision of what my projects look like. Collaborators in the other projects are following my prompts and while they give feedback, it never alters the presentation greatly from the first expectation of the project. In many ways I have acted as art director/producer for those projects and collaborators are the team following instruction.
With this project I feel as though it is a true collaboration. Each of the three contributing components are truly morphing and building a story together. I did not come into this project with expectations.
The level of positivity and professionalism that has been displayed has also been unmatched.
Dancers have a very specific discipline, because if they do not practice often they will lose their skill. Because of the level of detail, I have to be disciplined to work many hours a week. I find that my obsessive studio practice relates to the dedication of a dancer. And working with Danceworks has been down right fun!
Lisa: What prompted you to want to work with Danceworks Performance Company?
Timothy: Paleontology of a Woman, from the time of its first performance in 2009, has always been about movement. Alan Russell, the show composer, reached out to Danceworks, inviting them to attend the most recent evolution of the show last September. It was a very serendipitous merging of passions. After seeing their concert, Intersect, I knew that I HAD to work with them. Working with a dance company feels like the natural next step in the progression of my performances.
Lisa: How is designing/building costumes for dancers different from what you typically do?
Timothy: I work on a non-electric treadle sewing machine. All it does is sew a straight line forward. It doesn’t even go backwards. This type of stitch is not often used in dance wear.
I also love very structured garments and rarely work with stretchy material. Knitted fabrics are not in my fabric vocabulary, so this has been quite the experience. Creating successful leotards on the first try made it that much more exciting.
Dancers are not hesitant, they are not afraid of the shapes and expressions of their physicality. They are daring with their contortion and they know the capabilities of the body are limitless. They explore these human qualities in their skin every day but now that they are taking that journey to the new skin of my clothing—it has been wildly inspiring.
When I put a pair of pants on a person and ask, “Are they comfortable?” and the response of “Yes, very” is preceded by a cartwheel, you know it is going to be a good day. Clothing is meant to be moved in and lived in. Fashion shows only present the walking. Walking is only one thing we do while we live in our clothes. The dancers have enlivened the possibilities of what we can do in our clothing and they have re-imagined the silhouettes of my garments simply by existing in them.
Don’t miss Paleontology of a Woman, performed at Next Act Theatre, this upcoming Halloween weekend!
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Welcome to the Danceworks blog, where we're hoping to share a little bit more about the heart and soul behind Danceworks… what made us join the dance and keeps us dancing, what keeps us inspired, and where we can share some of the stories worth telling.