Student costume designer awarded scholarship

Photo courtesy of Theater Department


By Melody Ortiz

East Los Angeles College student Daniel Balladares had the opportunity to present his costume designs at the American College Theater Festival this February.

ACTF is a yearly festival that includes theater-related workshops, seminars, performances and presentation awards. Balladares presented his designs from ELAC’s production of “Chavez Ravine.”

Though he didn’t end up placing, Balladares received a collaboration award along with Michael Moretta, the sound designer, and Tim Valdovinos, the prop master for their work on “Chavez Ravine.”

Receiving the Don Childs Collaboration Award granted Balladares, Moretta and Valdovinos each week-long scholarships to the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas.

The SILV will have a month-long program in June where participants can choose a week out of the month of different classes being offered.

Balladares said he and the other two designers picked a SFX class. “We’re going to get to use a water cannon and fireworks…(we) were all excited because they don’t offer that (at ELAC),” he said.“The instructors were like, ‘You should do something we don’t offer here.”

Balladares also won the Focal Press KCACTF Award for First Time Regional Entry for Costume Design.

“I wanted to go in and gain some new experiences and also potentially some new opportunities towards a costume-related career path,” he said about his ACTF experience.

Balladares has been attending ELAC since 2010 and found his calling in theater arts around three years ago.

He got into costume design when he had trouble finding help making a cosplay costume.

“I (thought), ‘Why don’t I just go and learn? I might as well just see if I can do it on my own,’” Balladares said. “I just kind of wandered in here (the costume shop) and I never left.”

He said he would like to work with wardrobe for performances.

“I really like wardrobe, where you help actors get into their costumes and help with quick changes,” Balladares said.

He also said he likes craftwork, such as dyeing and painting costumes or making blood splatter or aged, etc.

Moretta said he met Balladares while working on the production of “Chavez Ravine.”

“He’s very hardworking and has genuine love for his craft,” Moretta said. “There’s a natural abundance of ingenuity in him that I really saw during the process on ‘Chavez Ravine.’”

Valdovinos said he is proud of Balladares’ accomplishment at ACTF.

“He’s definitely creative, fun and vocal about his ideas,” Valdovinos said. “(I) knew he worked super hard on his project.”

Balladares wanted to be a teacher before this revelation but was constantly told by others to change career choices due to the low income teachers receive.

He grew up in Monterey Park, where he still resides.

He has applied for internships and colleges and is waiting to hear back.

He’s applied to California State University, Dominguez Hills and San Francisco State University. So far, he was accepted into CSUDH.

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