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Milwaukee Ballet's Mirror Mirror inspired by Snow White

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Milwaukee Ballet's Mirror Mirror inspired by Snow White

By Rachael Glaszcz. CREATED May 12, 2014

"Mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?" It's a phrase from the classic fairytale, Snow White.

The Milwaukee Ballet's artistic director, Michael Pink, set out to explore a different side of the classic.

"What I wanted to do was delve a little bit into the back story which is why is the mirror magic, and why does the stepmother want the mirror so much?" Pink said.

The unique project is something Pink has been working on for a decade. To help bring the production to life, Pink brought in scenic and costume designer, Todd Edward Ivins, who envisioned a fashion forward fairytale.

There are almost 70 costumes and each has been months in the making which is remarkable considering the audience will see them for about 5-8 minutes apiece.

Dancer Susan Gartell plays Claudia, Snow White's wicked stepmother. Gartell has seven costume changes, the most of the cast. "These costumes are just as much part of the set and story as anything else. So not only do they help me embody the character and take me from scene to scene, but they help the audience transition as well," Gartell said.

The costume changes will take place right in front of the audience. "We're not changing off stage. I have four demons that are around me at all times so they're manipulating me, they're changing my clothes and that is just powerful storytelling if anything else," Gartell said.

14 people have been constructing the costumes for a year and a half. They are working with almost 200 yards of fabric. And as Ivins says, the costumes aren't the only things that are unique to Mirror Mirror. "The music is from scratch, everything is from scratch. It is not a Snow White that you've seen. And it is a new ballet. They are adding to world culture with this new ballet."

Mirror Mirror runs May 15-18, 2014. For more information visit: http://www.milwaukeeballet.org/performances/mirror-mirror