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The Costumes: Inside the Design Inspirations for Wonderbound’s “Winter”

This is the second installment in an exclusive five-part series on contemporary ballet company Wonderbound's Winter, which explores the season's haunting magic by incorporating all five of the audience's senses.

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Don’t forget to check out the previous installments in our five-part series on Winter. Part one offers a glimpse into the ballet’s soundtrack.

“We didn’t want to do cliché holiday stuff. [We wanted to explore] the more primal aspects of winter.” So began Wonderbound wardrobe supervisor and resident costume designer Rachael Kras’ quest to develop attire for the characters in artistic director Garrett Ammon’s (slightly dark) fairy tale, Winter.

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As a designer for the stage, Kras, 34, typically thinks big, as small details are often lost on an audience seated far away. But for Winter, the front row is located just feet from the stage, so Kras was able to dust off old ideas, focusing on bringing different textures and details to the costumes. As a designer for dancers, Kras’ top priority is always comfort and ease of movement. (Oh, and making sure everything can be easily washed between shows.) “Dancers are not your average humans,” she says. “Their range of motion is incredible. I’ve seen [male dancers] just shred pants in mid-air.”

Luckily, Kras is adept at modifying pieces for this particular occupation (she’s been sewing since she was 10 years old). Men’s shirts are made with stretchy fabric, and their pants sometimes have gussets to allow them to leap without the aforementioned splitting. Ladies’ dresses are typically fitted at the waist so they stay snug as the dancer moves. “It’s a blend of the creativity and engineering aspects,” she says. “Ballet dancers are intensely aware of what they look like. I love to build things that enhance their movement and that they feel beautiful in.”

See Kras’ elegant designs for Winter in process by clicking through the slideshow above.


Winter hits the stage December 10, 11, 17, and 18, with two shows each evening (6:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.) at Wonderbound Studio at Junction Box, 1075 Park Ave W. Tickets are $60 and can be purchased here.

Next up: Get a glimpse into what scents conjure thoughts of winter for perfumer Michelle Roark.

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(Follow our complete coverage of Wonderbound’s Winter)

Daliah Singer, 5280 Contributor

Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at daliahsinger.com.

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