Far Over The Rocky Mountains Cold

My name is Gina, and I'm a Theatre Production and Design student at Brock University.

This is a blog to chronicle my adventures in Banff, Alberta from June to August 2013 while I take part in a theatre work-study at the Banff Centre.

On my way home…

Expect a big update either in the next few days or when I get back from Dragon Con over labour day weekend. Man, I’m going to miss this place.

Click on each photo to see the captions!

Holy Updates, Batman!

It’s been ages since I’ve updated, but since I’m feeling under the weather today, I suppose I should use my downtime wisely and let you all know what’s been going on over the past month!

I’ve done so many things and had so many amazing opportunities while I’ve been in Banff. So many that I hardly have time to update, because I’m always out doing something! But where to begin…

First of all, I spent Canada Day here which was incredible. We saw the parade and a group of us climbed Tunnel Mountain to watch the fireworks from a bird’s eye view. There’s nothing quite like seeing fireworks amid the beautiful framework of the Rocky Mountains.

But if I thought Tunnel Mountain was beautiful, I definitely had no idea what to expect with Sulfur Mountain - a mountain that makes Tunnel look like Banff’s largest ski jump. I climbed it with Sam a few weeks ago, and nearly died from the heat and the effort in the process (hobbits are not meant to climb mountains!), but upon reaching the summit I was literally in tears at how beautiful and how well worth the hike it was… coupled by a severe loathing for the tourists who took the gondola up. But we took the same gondola down, so perhaps we cheated a bit, too.

I also made it out to the Calgary Stampede which was loads of fun, and I took the opportunity to make my way through the city as well with the help of Anastasia and Sam`s friends who all lived or live there.

As for work, I’m incredibly busy with the Dance Masters show. Last night was our opening night and it went so well. I’m working as a dresser and makeup artist, and I couldn’t be happier with my job, which is based around four dance numbers; Tchaikovsky pas de deux (Tchaikovsky / Balanchine); Apollo (Stravinsky / Balanchine); Four Last Songs (Strauss / van Dantzig); and a new work by Donald Sales, winner of the Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award. Initially I began dying copious amounts of fabric for the show, designed by the amazing Jorge Sandoval, and then moved on to sewing all things spandex. For anyone who knows me, they know my love of spandex. I think most of the girls in wardrobe think I’m crazy for actually volunteering to sew stretch fabrics, but that’s just my bag, baby! The costumes are beyond what we expected, especially since our time was cut short nearly a week because of the flooding, but we knocked it out of the park! I feel so privileged to have had the chance to work on this show, and the guidance of Ruth Bartel (our cutter from the National Ballet in Toronto) has been an absolute gift.

Next up, we’re moving on to Owen Wingrave, an opera that’s come in from the Guild Hall in London, England, during which I’ll also be a dresser. Yay!

I’ll close this post with a few photos of what I’ve worked on, and I’m sure I’ll post some more photos later from my trips around Banff and Calgary!

For more info about the Dance Masters show, click here: http://www.banffcentre.ca/event/6113/dance-masters/?d=2013-07-23+19:30

"Freckle" and "Teal" - I worked on Freckle’s jacket and parts of Teal’s outfit including the jacket, socks, and painting.

The “Lady Ducks”. These were my babies. I made all the bodysuits, did the paint tests, the sleeve details, and drafted and made the socks.

The “Male Ducks”. I did the makeup for one of the boys as well as pieced together each of those socks. I also did some work on one of the jackets.

"Trumpet Twin #1". I did all the paint samples for this which were handed off to scenic painting so they could paint the full costume. They blend into a graffiti wall, making the dancers invisible until they start to move. So cool!

The “Male Swans”. These guys are too fun! This was the fabric that I dyed (jackets, lining, and pants) which Anastasia then tailored into some high-fashion suits!

Till later! <3

Updates coming soon, I promise!

I’ve had a super busy week with the start of the Dance Masters show, and it’s now Canada Day weekend which means things have been crazy left, right, and centre. I’ll do my best to get something posted early this week, but for now, have a photo from my canoe trip into the Vermillion Lakes the other day.


So this week the ladies of wardrobe took part in the Brussa Masterclass which is graciously sponsored by Andrea Brussa, a Calgary based donor who funds an annual workshop for costuming, based specifically around skills for dance. This year, the class was a dye workshop, taught by Sylvie Beaudrealt, a Dye Specialist from Cirque Du Soliel in Montreal.

I had an amazing time doing this class, and I learned so much about working with acid dyes on fabrics like spandex, stretch velvet, mesh, and silk, and I’m really excited to be able to transfer these new skills into my costuming work.

Our mentor, Patsy Thomas, filmed us on the final day of the workshop, and I put this video together for Andrea, since she couldn’t make it into Banff because of the flooding throughout Alberta.

Have a look at what we accomplished this week! I’ll certainly never forget it, and I really look forward to getting out to Montreal in the future and seeing the Cirque Workshop where Sylvie does her work.

Banff Day #15

Wow! What an amazing day! Easily the best day I’ve had since I got to Banff, which is saying something because every day has been pretty awesome.

The day began with me sleeping in, as the birthday party last night ran pretty late, but it seems everyone had that idea, and a few of us gathered for brunch around noon at a place called Ricky’s on Banff Ave. I’ve been thinking about pancakes all week, so I was pretty pleased to get to eat some.

Afterwards, I finally got to open up a bank account (since my bank doesn’t have a branch in Banff), and then my friend Bret took a few of us around to see some of the cool shops around town. This was followed by a stop to the candy shop, of course.

Then we headed back to my building to delve into some character creation for the D&D game we’re starting, and if nothing else, it was a good laugh because our characters are far from the usual. I’m really looking forward to getting this game going, namely because my friend Sam has created a gnome cleric named Jeff who is a hand model and worships a god called Callarduran Smoothhands. I’ve conveniently kept this as a link so you can see that this deity is, in fact, not something we made up.

My character is a dwarven fighter who sports a lovely beard and thinks she’s just it in terms of attractiveness and cunning.

After we created our characters, we moved on to meet some more friends at Sushi Bistro, followed by a night at the movies to see Man of Steel, which was FANTASTIC.

What a great day. Now I just need to make sure I actually go and do groceries tomorrow while I’m out shopping for zombie makeup supplies for an event!

Banff Days #10 - #14

A lot happened this week and I was way too busy and tired to update nightly, so here’s a video encompassing most of what I did this week.

There will be a photo post to follow later today, likely with another blog entry.

elizabeth-of-dale asked: //Ahhh sounds like you're having lots of fun! That town looks so pretty.

I am! It’s great. I’m hoping to have my Thorin costume finished in time to do some photos in/around the mountains!

Day #9

Today was more or less a kick back and relax kind of day, so there’s not much to be said. I did watch the Tony’s though, which was quite awesome. Apparently my roommate is friends with the woman who played Christine in the Phantom of the Opera performance, so that was really awesome to see.

But now I’m off to bed! Work in the morning!