60 Years of Designing the Ballet debuts at the Design Exchange

This summer, explore 60 Years of Designing the Ballet, an exclusive exhibition hosted at Canada’s design museum, the Design Exchange (DX). From July 11 to September 2, 2012, the DX offers an enchanting glimpse into the design of the iconic dance institution, the National Ballet of Canada. From archival tutus worn in classic productions like Swan Lake that span back to the 1950s and early days of the National Ballet to a retrospective of costume sketches and cherished set design items like the Nutcracker doll (The Nutcracker), get an insider’s look at the design that has helped the National Ballet captivate the hearts of Canadians and ballet-aficionados worldwide.

“The DX is proud to partner with the National Ballet of Canada in celebration of its 60th anniversary, offering a unique, retrospective look at the icons, creativity, and design behind the company,” explains Shauna Levy, President of the Design Exchange. “This exhibit follows the DX’s renewed strategic direction, acting as a prime cultural example that design can be seen in everything, everywhere. It is an integral part of our daily life and activities.”

Curated by Costume Designer Caroline O’Brien, who was resident designer and wardrobe supervisor of  Canada’s National Ballet School from 1989 to 2007, the exhibit is an expression of the history of the National Ballet, featuring an array of costumes, set pieces, photographs, and videos that illustrate the design process. Three ballets, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, and Emergence, will create the narrative focus of the exhibit, with archival items also on display from: Cinderella, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, The Firebird, Don Quixote, Giselle, and more. The exhibit revisits much-loved productions with video footage including behind-the-scenes footage of The Nutcracker, and an interview with famed British costume designer Richard Hudson (Romeo and Juliet). Visitors can fulfill their wildest ballerina dreams at the interactive barre station, where they will try on tutus, and learn classic ballet poses through video instruction. Prepare to be whisked away by the romance of one of the most classical art forms at the DX’s 60 Years of Designing the Ballet.

The Tutu Project, a year-long project to create 60 original tutus for the National Ballet’s 60th anniversary, will be on public view for the first time in conjunction with the Design Exchange’s 60 Years of Designing the Ballet exhibit. Created throughout the 2011/12 season, the entire collection will also be on display, along with archival tutus, at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts for ticket holders, June 13-17, 2012. The 60 tutus were created by school children, Canadian fashion designers like David Dixon and Juma, artists like Julie Moon and Tania Sanhueza, and jewellery designer Shay Lowe, and collaboratively by visitors to TIFF Kids International Film Festival, Toronto Fashion Week, Word on the Street, Toronto Pride, the Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa, Share the Magic and members of Kids Corps.

For an intimate look into designing the ballet from costumes, sets, and lighting, join the DX for BALLET TALKS: Designing the Ballet panel discussion on July 18, 2012. The cost is $10 and is free for DX Members. To register, please visit http://guestlistapp.com/events/100641.

Also, on July 24, 2012, join the DX for BALLET TALKS: Talking Tutus with Caroline O’Brien, as the exhibition curator and renowned costume designer examines the tutu from the historical and contemporary perspective. The cost again is $10 and is free for DX Members. To register, please visit http://guestlistapp.com/events/100659.

For more information on the DX and its exhibitions, please visit www.dx.org.