Today we have a guest post from Nicole Jolin, who made some wonderful paper mache masks for a dance she choreographed. Thanks for showing them to us, Nicole!
Nicole said: I’m a retired ballerina and now teach classes at the ballet school that I grew up in. I went to South African 3 years ago, traveling through Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Ever since then I have wanted to create an African dance in resemblance of my experience. The story I created is the villagers come at the end of their day to sing and dance around a fire pit. There is an elder woman of the tribe that is a story teller. She tells the villagers a story about the animals. The villagers, then become the animals. I wanted the dances and costumes to be realistic. My animals are Zebras, baby lions, Crowned Cranes, Leopard, Cheetah and Impalas.
I made paper mache masks using Jonni’s techniques from her book. Once I got started, it was pretty simple. The most challenging part was building the mold. I used Styrofoam, cardboard, foil and lots of duck tape. I made the front of the masks, and then molded the mask and attached the skull cap to each of my dancers so they would have a perfect fit to their head/face. They turned out great! I can’t wait until everything is on stage.
Now my boss wants me to make a life size paper mache elephant for Clara to ride on stage with during our Nutcracker. I have figured out how to do that, but will probably take a year and a half to make, with all the paper mache needed. That project is in the works and I will keep everyone posted as to how it turns out.
Here are some picture of masks that I made for my African dance I choreographed: