The Importance of Alberta Ballet School’s Wardrobe Department


“If you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you do good.”– Georges St-Pierre

Alberta Ballet School takes great pride in its wardrobe department. Quynh Chestnut, Head of Wardrobe, has put in thousands of hours to ensure students are not only looking their best but feeling their best in the detailed costumes. Quynh’s track record for impeccable design – and impeccable fits – allows Alberta Ballet School to stand apart from other schools. She allows each of our dancers to stand out on stage.

Quynh’s Journey to Alberta Ballet School

Quynh immigrated to Canada in 1980 and immediately put her talent to work in the theatre community starting with Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, and the Banff Centre of Performing Arts.

Quynh’s role with Theatre Calgary in 1990 was focused on tailoring. She recalls doing all the period jackets and bodice for each performance – time, energy, and so much learning. In 1991, she moved to Banff and for 5 theatre seasons, Quynh worked as a First Hand, a supervisor role for the wardrobe team.

Following her theatre work, Quynh spends over 5 years in wardrobe and costuming for motion pictures and television including Lonesome Dove – The Outlaw Years, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (Emmy Award winning), Into the West, Passchendaele, Hellboy, Brokeback Mountain, Shanghai Noon, Assassination of Jesse James, Underworld, and others.

As she worked on the sets of several television shows and movies, she also started to do some work with Alberta Ballet in the 1990s assisting the Head of Wardrobe with cutting and sewing. At the time she remembers starting to fall in love with the ballet and the time and effort put into a dancer’s costume.

Quynh’s Role as Head of Wardrobe

Quynh officially joined the Alberta Ballet Company in 2010, and in 2015 she became Head of Wardrobe at Alberta Ballet School.


“The school needed a new Head of Wardrobe so the Company at the time asked me to step in. At the end of that season, I needed to pick where I wanted to stay primarily – I’ve been with Alberta Ballet School ever since,” Quynh beams.

Quynh costumes all students in both the professional and open divisions in Calgary, with over 750 students custom fitted for Year-End Performance each year.

Quynh explains that she loves how happy the students at Alberta Ballet School are when she comes to fit them. “They always make me smile and laugh. They are so excited!”


“I remember a specific fitting they were going to be carrots and the dancer left and ran to her mom saying: mom doesn’t eat me tonight – I’m a veggie! It brightens my day, makes me have a big smile, and melts my heart. They have beautiful smiles when they see their costumes and it melts my heart, it really is a give-take relationship.”

Quynh cannot imagine another role that would give her the same feeling of pride and excitement. We are honoured to have her experience and talent as a part of our team.

Thank you, Quynh for always adding excitement and joy to our students.