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New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com

Seamless teamwork at Brighton ballet

By JOYCE SHELBY
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER




With their really big winter show scheduled for Saturday, the young dancers of the Brighton Beach Ballet Theater were understandably busy all last week.

Toy soldiers marched, snowflakes flurried, dolls pranced and mice practiced their fight scene on the first floor of the Shorefront Y on Coney Island Ave. - all to the music of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker."

And up a steep flight of stairs behind the stage at the Y, where the ballet theater is based, another important part of the production was taking place.

The ballet company's costume mistress, Lidiya Dubovikova, and seamstresses Ludmilla Stecenko and Larisa Kravchenko were putting the finishing touches on new costumes.

"This is what makes our production different," said Irina Roizin, founder of Brighton Beach Ballet Theater, as she admired Kravchenko's newly completed Russian doll costume done in satins and velvets, with white fake-fur trim.

"Fifty percent is these beautiful costumes," Roizin said. "Everyone who comes to see our show talks about our costumes."

Stecenko, who was a costume designer in St. Petersburg, Russia, came to Brooklyn two years ago to work for Brighton Ballet.

"Ludmilla is known for her work on Russian folk pieces," Roizin said. "Her husband is a set designer, and for the past 10 years, they have worked at the nightclub Troika."

Kravchenko, who is from Ukraine, holds a master's degree in math and physics. Sewing was a hobby before she came to the U.S. seven years ago, she said. Once here, she turned making costumes for dancers into a full-time business.

"Her costumes go to London, Paris - all over," said Roizin. "She's busy all year round. That is why we needed Ludmilla."

With more than 100 children and 20 professional dancers involved in Saturday's production, costume-making could not be left to the last minute.

Work begins each September in preparation for the performance. And while most outfits are carried over from one season to the next, new costumes are added every year. This year, Kravchenko's elaborate, life-sized Russian doll costume is the featured piece.

The production, titled "A Winter Fairy Tale," is an original one by company choreographer Edouard Kouchnarev that contains many elements of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker."

"But we wanted a story with more diversity," said Roizin. "We have dancers from China, Africa and India who perform in native costumes. This is our third year doing the production this way ... and it ends in the Land of Peace, with all countries coming together."

"A Winter Fairy Tale" will be presented at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Millennium Theater, 1029 Brighton Beach Ave. For tickets, call (718) 769-9161.



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