The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Cops, courts and fires

June 22, 2014

Fire destroys priceless 'Nutcracker' costumes

ANDERSON — The Anderson Young Ballet Theatre is scrambling after a fire at its costume cleaner and storage center in Muncie destroyed some of the troupe’s costumes.

The costumes were for the dancing group’s annual holiday ballet, “The Nutcracker.” The estimated cost of the costumes is $52,000, according to AYBT board president Cheryl Shank.

The fire occurred about a month ago but Shank said the group just learned this week from the cleaner’s insurance that all their costumes were deemed a total loss. All told, about 30 costumes were destroyed by the fire.

Shank said the unique nature of these costumes makes them so valuable.

“These costumes we lost are not something you can just buy off of a rack,” Shank said. “They are specifically made for each character.”

She mentioned the cavalier’s costume as one such outfit. She said the jacket is three pieces that had to be specifically designed. The sleeves separate from the rest of the jacket to make lifts easier.

It’s details like that which makes the losses so devastating for the dance group. Shank said aside from the customization, nearly every costume also has specific jewelry, embellishments and other handiwork. She said paying someone to add those back on to new costumes could cost an additional $14,000.

While the group and Vogue Cleaners, the company housing the costumes, have insurance, Shank said the fear is the money might not come in time.

“If we want to have these new costumes for the play in December we need to start buying fabric now,” Shank said. “We’re worried we won’t have the money for the costumes in time.”

Shank said the group can’t afford to miss “The Nutcracker” performance, which is scheduled to run on Dec. 18-21 this year in the Paramount Theatre.

“‘The Nutcracker’ has been a tradition for a number of years,” Shank said. “It is our main source of income.”

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