For the last 16 years, Leonor has been Ballet Arizona’s rock behind the scenes, creating magic on and off the stage. She specializes in bringing fabric to life by designing costumes that compliment and elevate our dancers’ performances.
I have been sewing my whole life. Growing up my mother told us, “you have to know how to do two things: to cook and to sew.” She also said that, “above all else, a woman should have an education and a career so she could be independent and not depend on her husband or anyone for anything.” When I went to school, I decided to go into Costume Design and focus on fabrics & colors.
Maria Simonetti and Leonor Texidor. Photo by Deanna Dent.
Once I finished my Masters in Barcelona, I moved back to San Juan, Puerto Rico. There, I had a series of jobs and mentors that taught me everything I needed to know and would eventually help me succeed here at Ballet Arizona. Once I graduated, the only work I could find was at the University Library. I ran the Receiving & Purchasing department. There, I learned to be organized, but I never felt fulfilled so in the evening I volunteered to do the costumes for a street theatre group, and there I learned how to make something out of nothing and how to observe the way fabrics move, and how the director and the actors work.
Leonor Texidor and Ballet Arizona’s Costume Shop team.
One day I heard about a seamstress position at the local PBS station. I interviewed, got the job and moved my way up the ranks. My mentor there taught me many lessons, but I think above all she taught me patience. Patience to never say ‘no’ to a Director, and instead give him or her alternate options ‘you don’t like this, well what about this other option?’
Bukuri Zejnati and Flor Arce working on costumes for “All Balanchine” and “Topia”
At PBS I also learned to work for yesterday. Everything needed to be ready yesterday. At Ballet Arizona, we have the privilege of having a month or so in between shows, but for TV, everything was instantaneous! If Ib or Nayon asks me for something, I try and get it to them the next day. I am just another instrument in their toolbox. I’m here to help take that weight off their shoulders so that they can focus on their choreography and vision.
Iris Weng working on a costume for “Topia”
Ib and I have worked together for so long. We have a mutual respect for each other and listen to each other’s ideas. Of course I always try and say, ‘but what about this,’ and push the limits a bit, but I always know that I’m here to help fulfill his or any other choreographer’s vision for their piece. I am here to make sure that I am helping them convey the message, meaning and feeling that they want the audience to experience through their costumes.