George Balanchine said, "There is Shakespeare for literature and Karinska for costume,"
but Agnes de Mille would remember something else...
...opening nights with dancers standing in the wings wearing only leotards and praying their
costumes would arrive before the curtain went up. Suddenly, there was a rush from the stage door...
Karinska had arrived!
Lines of seamstresses carrying clouds of gathered tulle sped silently into the wings, seized
dancers as if they were so many dolls and began throwing half-finished costumes on sweating bodies.
Seams were frantically pinned as the orchestra began the overture and the ballet master
started calling for entrance formations. Corps de ballet members were shoved onstage as
their cues began, wincing in pain from the needlepoint pins were creating in their backsides.
But from the audience the costumes were absolutely lovely.
Return to Book Page