Jeanne Ruddy’s PARADE where Dance, Costumes and Fashion Merge

Jeanne Ruddy, founder, artistic director and choreographer of Jeanne Ruddy Dance and former Martha Graham principal dancer, is looking to shift that spotlight to reveal the unique challenges inherent in the creative process of costume design for dance with the presentation of PARADE: Dance, Costumes and Fashion Merge, a collaborative event slated for Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 6:00p.m. at JRD headquarters, The Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street (one block north of Spring Garden St. between 15th and 16th Sts), that highlights and honors the twelve-year partnership between Ruddy and accomplished dance costume designer (and member of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire costume design support staff), Jeffrey Wirsing.

What were the challenges he faced in creating costumes that would bring Ruddy’s vision and explanation of each piece to life? What were the difficulties given the choreography? How could the costumes help to get the message across? What lighting and sets were envisioned? How would he work with guest choreographers, some of whom had very specific costume ideas? What fabrics would communicate best? What colors? Many or all of these issues will be explored, highlighted by the dancers modeling and moving in the costumes, accompanied by the music of each actual work as well as video to augment the experience as each piece is discussed.

Ruddy and Wirsing, who have collaborated since the inception of JRD in 1999, originally met more than twenty years ago when both were working on Martha Graham’s famed interpretation of The Rite of Spring in 1984. At the time, Wirsing was an assistant to Halston working on costumes and Ruddy was a Principal dancer with Graham. Wirsing ultimately collaborated with the Graham Company for more than twenty years, serving as Costume Designer and Creative Advisor before joining Ruddy to help her launch JRD.

Since that time, Wirsing has helped Ruddy realize her own choreographic vision and creative growth, as well as that of the many noted guest choreographers who have set commissioned works on the Company. From the blood-red one-shoulder piece he created for Significant Soil – Ruddy’s own paean to her personal battle with breast cancer that has become her signature work  –  to the environmental /ecological call to action of Oceans I:Wetlands, the underwater drama of Breathless to the fulfillment of vision for Robert Battle’s STILL; Susanne Linke’s Quasi Normal and Martha Clark’s   Sandman, the costumes, dancing and video excerpts from the finished products of Ruddy and Wirsing’s collaborations will be presented and modeled by those who wore them – the  company members of Jeanne Ruddy Dance.

The evening will begin with a pre-performance reception and silent auction and conclude with a reception following the program. Tickets are $50.00 and may be purchased online at or by calling 800-514-ETIX (3849).

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