We sat down with Goldstream Group’s Operations Manager and Evaluation Consultant, Jen Danielson, to learn about her role as the Costume Coordinator for the North Star Ballet
Jen has been interested in costuming since she was a teenager. She even applied to work with North Star Ballet, a nonprofit dance school, and company, when she finished graduate school. “They didn’t call me back,” Jen told us, laughing. She finally got her chance to volunteer when her daughters were students, around 2007.
Jen worked her way up through the years. “I started helping with dressing kids and minor alterations,” she said. She began to take on more responsibility under ballet mistress, Sue Perry Jordan.
Of Sue Perry Jordan, Jen said “She was a very accomplished seamstress and costumer. I consider her a mentor.”When she was diagnosed with cancer, she made a concerted effort to pass as much knowledge as she could on to me. I met with her once a week for more than a year. She showed me how to build tutus and how to draft patterns to fit specific dancers. She showed me costuming construction techniques that make costumes easy to alter for new bodies. She passed away in 2016 and I have been continuing her work ever since.”
Jen sees volunteering as a calling. She believes that organizations focused on arts and education, like North Star Ballet, make Fairbanks a better place. “I am fortunate to be able to support them in a very specific way,” she told us. When we asked Jen what she most enjoyed about volunteering, she said, “It is very rewarding to work on a major production. Many people work together to make art that could not be created by an individual. I appreciate the opportunities the ballet gives to young people.”
Most recently, Jen has assisted in dressing the cast and organizing volunteers for their upcoming production of “The Firebird”,a story ballet with music by Igor Stravinski. The local production is realized by the North Star Ballet artistic director Courtland Weaver and ballet mistress Wendy Walker. It will feature choreography by Norman Shelburne and design by Celeste Sullivan. This production is a part of their 35th Spring Gala, which features first “The Firebird” as well as five original repertory pieces.