Friday, September 25, 2009

Form and movement in costume design

I was asked by my friend Anusha, to design costumes for a performance she was choreographing. It was a modern dance piece inspired by Bharatnatyam - a traditional Indian dance form. An abstract piece focusing on form and composition with four dancers.

I watched some of the practice sessions and came up with some ideas. The challenge was to highlight the form of the body and yet make the costume comfortable enough to do the complex movements.

Layering was one of the concepts i was exploring, to be able to see the taught body form and yet have a feeling of fluidity and then there were a whole lot of questions going through my mind.Could it be a body suit? would that look too "balleyish"? single piece? separate bottom? primary loud for an intimate performance? muted pallette? flowy fabric vs fabric that had some volume? how deep can the neck go? etc etc

The final piece was a bottom inspired from harem pants made for diaphanous chanderi fabric which had silver tissue in the weave. A short crop top in different shades of teal with the black of the inner body suit showing at the waist. The best touch though was the silver leaf that i had pasted on different parts of their body, a great way to embellish without the fuss of moving or rubbing against the body.

I ended running around till the very last minute getting the fittings right. Four bodies with completely varied proportions were driving me up the wall! In the end it felt good to watch them dance in the costumes i had created and it was a great way to learn more about form &function!

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