BAXTER - The lighted, silver hooded unitard costumes the dancers wore Sunday in the halftime show at the Super Bowl in Dallas, were made in Baxter.
In fact one of the dancers who took the stage with the Black Eyes Peas helped design the costumes was a 2007 Brainerd High School graduate. That was Ali Clough, who also is a designer for Just For Kix in Baxter.
Ali and her mother, Cindy Clough, chief executive officer of Just For Kix, flew to Texas early last week to help Super Bowl choreography organizers with the costumes. Shortly after arrival, Ali was asked if she wanted to dance because there was one spot open. Ali jumped at the chance and rehearsed the dance during the week before the big game.
"It's amazing to see how this is all put together," Cindy said last week. "To see all the things they have to do to stage a show of this magnitude, it's incredible. The halftime show with all the lighting and staging is unbelievable and to be able to see it live is great."
Cindy said that it took 500 people to move the stage that is used for the halftime show for the rehearsals, as well as the live performance. Cindy said there were 30 bus caravans with police escorts to transport the performers to the Cowboy Stadium.
"It's exciting for me (as a choreographer) to see all the background work," said Cindy. "The Super Bowl has this organized to a 'T' and the average person wouldn't think about all the things that go into this. There's a lot of people who work on this event and even the food and water for all the workers and performers is a major task."
Cindy said she was asked to do the costumes for the Super Bowl in early December.
"Doing these costumes is the biggest thing we've ever done," Cindy said of the costume-making portion of the Just For Kix business that she opened more than 25 years ago in her backyard. "It'll open some doors for us. We were able to get this job because of people we know."
Cindy said it was through Kristen Patterson Terry, who used to work in the Just For Kix Brainerd office as an intern and summer camp dance teacher years ago, that Just For Kix got the job. Terry, who is a Wayzata native, was in charge of doing the choreography for the Super Bowl. Terry is a free-lance producer and choreographer, who formerly lived in Los Angeles but moved to North Carolina.
Just For Kix staff designed and made 390 costumes that were shipped to Texas in late January. The costumes were worn by high school dance members from the Dallas and Fort Worth area and by the professional back-up singers for Black Eyed Peas.
Ali designed the costume and she said they had to create a sample piece for the Super Bowl before they got the job. Ali said Super Bowl organizers liked the sample, but added more features, such as Velcro to add their strings of lights and more zippers to the front and back of the costume.
"It was pretty easy to design the costume," said Ali. "It's a basic unitard, that is what they wanted. We used a silver tricot foil material that stretches and won't break easily. It's quality stuff.
"There are 72 2-inch pieces of Velcro on each costume. They made a lot of changes to the costume, but the final product is really cool. The most challenging part of this whole process was communication since they're in LA."
Ali said the materials put into the costumes consisted of 1,550 yards of Velcro, 718 zippers, 850 yards of fabric, 72,000 yards of thread, 267 yards of elastic and more than 1,150 working hours to get the job done. There were 10 core people who worked on the costume, plus another 10 office people who helped.
Ali said Just For Kix makes all their dancers' costumes and its biggest production has been making costumes for the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day.
"This (Super Bowl costumes) is the biggest thing and most important thing we've ever done," said Ali. "This is a big deal. It's exciting."
Ali said sizing the costumes was a little tricky. She said they were given the dancers' heights and weights and that was all for the costumes. Ali said normally they measure chest, waist, hips and girth for fit.
"We had to make a few extras just in case they don't fit," Ali said.
Jeff Olson, a supervisor who has been employed by Just For Kix for 10 years, said making the costumes has been huge and exciting for the workers. Olson said most of the costumes/dance outfits that Just For Kix makes are for its programs all over the state and for other high school dance teams.
Olson said once the costume design was approved a challenge was making sure they could get all the materials on time. Most of the materials came from California.
Olson said the employees were just coming into their slow time for work when they found out that they'd be doing the Super Bowl costumes.
"This is a once in a lifetime thing," said Olson. "I'm a football fan and everyone watches the Super Bowl."
Olson said that all costumes are made of good quality, go through inspections and that there would be no "Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunctions."
Jeanette Bundy of Just For Kix said all the employees worked together to get the job done and everyone did work that was outside their normal job duties. Bundy said the employees were rushed to get the costumes done, but they were successful.
"It was a lot of sewing," said Bundy. "Everyone here had to sew on these costumes.
"Making the costumes for the Super Bowl made me nervous and scared, but also excited knowing the importance of it. It's a big thing."
Merry Guntorius, another employee, said she did whatever was needed to get the costumes done, including printing out markers for the pattern.
"The hardest part was the Velcro," said Guntorius. "It was a lot of work."
Kerri Sanderson, floor production supervisor, said she worked on everything from doing the orders to sewing to organizing everything. Sanderson said working on the Super Bowl costumes was a rewarding experience.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.