Costume Designer / Cutter / Draper / Dyer / Airbrush Painter: Molly Akin-McKinley

Strength and agility are the very core of Trainer, a ballet poeticizing circus animals breaking free from the constraints imposed by their trainer.


Refraining from merely putting the dancer in a solid animal print bodysuit, the human body was blended with the animal's while retaining the core of the dancer's humanity. 

Contouring the arms and legs was a key element to superimpose the silhouette of the animal framework onto the muscular structure of the dancer. Mesh cutouts allowed for this contouring and for revealing more of the dancer's own body. 

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A mid-tone color of each animal - leopard, tiger and lion - was dyed and then airbrushed. The stomachs were lightened and the backsides darkened. The respective animal print was then applied in an enlarged scale and the concentration spread out to prevent from disrupting the line of the dancer's body.

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A mockup unitard was created and fit on every dancer, each given their corresponding color-coded reference for pattern corrections.

Each unitard was shared between comparably-sized dancers with a total of 10 unitard patterns created from the markings gathered from 20 dancers. 4 Tiger, 3 Lion/Lioness, and 3 Leopard Unitards were created.

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Costume Designer: Molly Akin-McKinley

Cutter/Draper: Molly Akin-McKinley

Dyer/Airbrush Painter: Molly Akin-McKinley

Choreographer: Qianping Guo

Photographer: Porfirio Solarzano

Set Designer: Lyndell McDonald

Lighting Designer: Lyndell McDonald