LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - She’s been keeping students on their toes for 50 years, and has kept nearly every costume she’s had made all those years. Pat George Mitchell stores many of the costumes at her Studio of Creative Arts in Longview, and some will dance again at the upcoming performance of “The Sleeping Beauty” with Ballet West.
Pat George Mitchell knows what is needed for a performance, and she keeps pretty much all of it in several places, including her studio.
“It’s overwhelming when you walk in here, because the first 20 years was in my mother’s closet,” Mitchell said.
“She must have a big closet,” I observed.
“She did,” Mitchell agreed.
Her studio was a church when she bought it nearly three decades ago.
“We finally had, I thought, a large enough room to put the costumes in,” Mitchell stated.
But years and performances add up and so do the costumes, so many are in storage. Of course, this year’s team up with Ballet West and the performance of “The Sleeping Beauty” requires a lot of costumes.
“Certainly it was go
ing to be smarter for them to use what I have as opposed to making new ones on their behalf,” Mitchell explained.
She has plenty to choose from and they are:
“More glitzy than most. I love choosing materials and beautiful ribbons, and I love Swarovski crystals. I think I was the glitter queen before there was glitter,” Mitchell smiled.
After the warm up her company rehearses, some in those costumes. Ballet West looked at photos of the costumes.
“They said we like this, this, and this. What do you think? I said this would work on these bodies, this wouldn’t, and so on and so forth. I have some costumes that are the oldest costumes that I have in the whole entourage of costumes,” Mitchell said.
She has taken good care of the costumes, some nearly fifty years old, and is making sure everything will be ready for the performance. Many have been worn only once or twice, and the names are there to prove it.
“To have my kids see the names in the costumes, and they get to write their names in them now,” Mitchell added.
A legacy Pat hopes will outlive even her.
If you want to see those costumes put to use, there are four performances of “The Sleeping Beauty” open to the public this weekend: Friday, March 1, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 2, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, March 3, at 2 p.m.. All performances will be at the Belcher Center at LeTourneau University.
Ballet West II teams with the Longview Ballet for the event. Beckanne Sisk, a former student of Mitchell’s, and Chase O’Connell, Ballet West II principal artists will be performing.