This is the sixth installment in our Assemblé 2014 blog series. Tickets are available at the Civic Center Box Office or www.ticketmaster.com . See Assemblé 2014 March 22 and 23 at Rosa Hart Theatre!
By Rhonda K. Chargois
Last Saturday, Raye Delle Robbins and her husband, Jerry Grizzle, arrived at the studio packed with luggage for their Florida vacation and with Raye Delle’s work—a stack of pancake tutus for Lake Charles Civic Ballet’s Cinderella. With the March performances of Assemblé 2014 fast approaching, the additions to Cinderella’s living images fell to our good friend Raye Delle.
As the new fairy costumes were unpacked, we oohed and ahhed over the beautiful creations. It was like opening packages at Christmas, only better. The finished tutus will bring to life the character and compliment the movement of each ballerina. Nearly completed, the costumes require only minor alterations. Marking chalk, pins, and a few simple tips to dancers were all that was needed during this fitting. Our visit with Raye Delle included a trip through Lake Charles Civic Ballet’s history, an education in costume construction, and a glimpse into her exciting career as a Costume Designer.
Raye Delle created the costumes for Lake Charles Civic Ballet’s 1988 Cinderella, but Lady Holly has commissioned several new pieces for this season’s performances including new fairy costumes. These new costumes were necessary to update the theme and style of the ballet. The tutus were custom made for each dancer. Raye Delle explained that when the tulle is sewn together the tutu portion resembles a ball of fluff. Then each each layer of tulle is hand-tied to the layer below to form the tutu’s pancake style. The fairy costumes are classical, ballet style tutus—not the animated story version from television. With beautiful fabrics from Houston and New York City, her finished designs are built to grace the stage for years.
Her husband, Jerry, supports her passion and always with a smile. He acts as her shipping department, takes the occasional message, and can glue sequins, if needed. On shopping trips, he is her chauffeur and the assistant who carries bolts of fabric to the cutter’s table with Raye Delle’s yardage requirements. They work as a team and packing for a trip means packing Raye Delle’s work first.
Raye Delle was a theatre major so she didn’t construct her first tutu until after college. Years ago that lucky first client was her 3 year old daughter. Currently, Raye Delle works as Costume Shop Manager at TUTS in Houston, Texas. When asked about plans for retirement Raye Delle replied—Never! Why would I? Jerry smiled.
Purchase Your Tickets Today for Assemblé 2014 and witness Raye Delle Robbins’ spectacular creations as part of Lake Charles Civic Ballet’s Cinderella.
Visit our website at www.lakecharlescivicballet for more details and for more about other guest artists featured as part of Assemblé 2014.