Duke School alum Megan Gulla ('99,) shared with Ballet Herald what her typical workday looks like as the Head Costumer with the San Francisco Ballet. Ever wondered what 14 hours looks like when you're the person responsible for all costumes, accessories, and shoes that go into a single Ballet production? Check out Megan's full feature here.
A Day in the Life of Megan Gulla '99
(as told to Ballet Herald)
- 9:00 AM:
- The day starts with a staff briefing on Zoom – I do this from home. During the meeting I announce that I am a new member of the Cultural Competency and Equity Coalition!
- 10:00 AM
- Hop in my car and start my drive to the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House.
- 11:00 AM
- Prep for fittings! I pull the required costumes and get them across the street to the ballet building – how convenient! And yes, that means I am often seen rolling a rack of fluffy costumes through an intersection.
- 12:00 PM
- Fit two dancers – this means measuring and taking notes and making sure the dancers feel comfortable in their costumes. I also need to keep tabs on which costumes might work better on other dancers and how I can make that work for multiple casts. I record everything in my book of measurements, this book is the key to my staying organized.
- 1:00 PM
- Take those tutus back to the Opera House, label with dancers’ names and put costumes back where they belong. I also take this time to check in with the crew who arrived while I was in fittings and get them the casting updates for tonight.
- 2:00 PM
- I pull tutus for the next round of fittings and get them across the street to the ballet building.
- 2:30 - 4:00 PM
- Fit four dancers.
- 4:00 PM
- Make the trip back to the Opera House with those costumes, ensure they are labeled and put back as well. We use these great sliding storage containers that our crew built. It allows us to stack a bunch of tutus without them getting in contact with each other, and they lay perfectly flat (which is very important to maintain their structure).
- 5:00 PM
- Dinner break! San Francisco has a lot of great food options close to the Opera House. Tacos today!
- 6:00 PM
- Next, I type up the notes from today’s fittings for my crew members so everyone can work on the necessary alterations. I also check in with dressers before the show and make sure everyone has everything they need for that evening. The dressers are integral to a performance, ensuring everyone has the right costume and that any quick changes go smoothly.
- 7:00 PM
- A lot of my time is spent prepping for future shows. Now I am dyeing shoes to match dancers’ skin tones for shows this upcoming weekend.
- 7:30 PM
- Curtain up!
- 8:30 - 10:00 PM
- Throughout the show I pop backstage between pieces to make sure everyone is ready. I also watch the monitor to make sure everything looks good (meaning no loose strings or costume mishaps). I also begin pulling more costumes for my next round of fittings.
- 10:45 PM
- I make sure my book of measurements is safe on my desk. I finish the night by leaving a note for my closing crew – in case I need to leave a specific reminder about a costume but mostly just to thank for them for their hard work!
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