Costumes of "Qualia" - Wonder & Worldbuilding
Costuming has a rich and storied history in dance, from the inception for a character and the construction by a designer, to the way a costume leaves an impression and impact on the dancers and audiences members.
As we approach a season where many people will be choosing costumes to wear for various Halloween and spooky-themed events, over the next two newsletters, we'll be sharing some behind-the-scenes insights into the costuming of our recent performances.
This week we'll look at "Qualia" and the stylistic choices of our monochromatic, minimalistic black costume.
During the Q&A at our April premiere, we shared briefly with the audience about the costume selection. Now that we're in a reflecting season on the last several months of creative work, here is an in-depth response to the reasoning behind the costume.
Dark colors can evoke a sophisticated and formal aesthetic. In the case of selecting uniform black turtlenecks, paired with black pants, I aimed to direct attention to the choreography's spatial patterns, the time elements of speed and stillness, and the flow of energy created by the dancers' movements.
The monochromatic and minimalistic black costume allowed for the watcher to focus on the space, time, and energy of the choreography created within the world of movement that was "Qualia."
The uniform black costume also enhanced the lighting for the work. When I first started choreographing "Qualia," I envisioned the idea of a night sky when the dancers looked to the ceiling, creating a sense of wonder and worldbuilding.
It was serendipitous that at the premiere at The Foundry, there were string lights hanging above the stage, creating the effect of a night sky. It was unplanned and absolutely wonderful. The black costumes also enhanced the shadow effects created with the rest of the stage lighting.
In the vein of wonder and world-building, the minimalist black costumes also provided an opportunity for the audience to use their own imaginations about "Qualia," which was exactly the intention based on the piece's title and definition of one's own individual experience.
The audience could experience their own "qualia" while engaged with the choreography.