DEC students always shine bright on stage while wearing an incredible array of costumes. We chat to KAT MOORE about the work that goes into creating these amazing garments.


Clouds, pumpkins, garden fairies and minions – Kat Moore has helped design and sew them all since she joined the DEC community 10 years ago.

She learned to sew as a child and later in life developed her garment making and pattern drafting skills when she launched a kids’ clothing label with a fashion designer friend.

But her three daughters’ obvious talents and passion for competition ballet soon forced her to take the plunge and learn how to sew a tutu and other elaborate dancewear. Olivia, Arabella and Lucia Moore have kept their mother extremely busy ever since, with Olivia now dancing fulltime with the Royal New Zealand Ballet and her two sisters highly likely to also pursue professional dance careers.

Kat says she credits Prue Gooch for helping develop her knowledge of costuming. “She has taught me countless tricks and I enjoy the hours we spend together in the DEC sewing room making costumes for the shows. My inner desire for bling and textiles is always satisfied and I enjoy the creativity of turning a mundane thing like a pumpkin into something that looks magnificent on stage.”

Prue starts planning costumes about eight or nine months prior to every show. “I enjoy the whole process – helping to come up with the initial ideas and then working out how to make them. Sometimes the quantity we need to produce is daunting but seeing how great the kids look at the end makes it all worthwhile.”

The DEC sewing room is jam packed with costumes – many of which are re-used or re-purposed each year. “We also try and work with the existing fabrics we have to keep the costs down. Once we know what music and characters we’re creating, and what each class is going to be, we figure out what we can use or modify from previous years, and what we need to make from scratch.”

People who can use sewing machines are a rarity these days, and Kat volunteers her time because she believes many hands make light work. “When other sewers crop up it’s always a godsend, but there’s plenty of hand-sewing work to be done too. If you’re able to sew on buttons, thread through some elastic or cut out a pattern, we’d love for you to join us!”

Kat can legitimately call herself a fulltime ‘dance mum’ but she also works around 20 hours a week as a nurse at Tauranga Hospital’s special care baby unit. While she “hates to think” how many hours she puts into sewing (especially in term four), the end result is always worth it.

“I enjoy the creative side of it and seeing the end product. It’s always really satisfying.”

This year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk will be staged at Baycourt on Friday December 13th and Saturday 14th. To purchase tickets, visit the DEC shop or Baycourt’s ticket office.