Costuming from Nature

Wednesday 10 March, 2021

Ranging from minimalist to luxuriant and extravagant, costume designs for dance are as diverse as the artform itself.

Costuming is as integral to any new dance work as the choreography, score, lighting and set design. Costume designs have long been a core feature of the work of Australian Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director, Garry Stewart; from the iconic emerald green tutus of G through to the frosty hues of South, ADT’s costumes are as symbolic and illustrative as they are functional. The costumes both magnify and embellish the incredible movements of ADT’s talented dancers.

Creating the beautiful costumes seen in Supernature has taken hundreds of hours of intricate work. Garry has again worked with leading Adelaide-based, award-winning Stage Designer, Wendy Todd, on the costume designs. Under the expert eye of Tammy Wheeler (former Wardrobe Supervisor for Graeme Murphy at Sydney Dance Company), these costume designs have been given life and form, with costume construction undertaken by Tammy and Seana O’Brien.

As Wendy has said of the costumes, “We were inspired by the lamella (gills) of fungi. Exploring nature and early forms of species such as fungi gave rise to the pleating of fabric in the skirts, tops and inserts of the costumes. The structure of the costumes is less human in part and then more human in part, examining both human and non-human existence in nature.”

In total, Garry, Wendy, Tammy and Seana have created nearly thirty individual costumes for the world premiere season of Supernature. The craftmanship apparent in each costume equals that on display in the world’s leading design ateliers.

The intricate, individually tailored costumes for Garry Stewart’s Supernature have been made possible with generous support from Stephanie and Julian Grose, Brigitte and Stephen Lane, and Nick Hays.


All images (c) Sam Roberts Photography.