Happy Tutu Day! To kick off Tutu Day, celebrated and named because it’s Febraury 2nd (2.2) date, we decided to share with you some facts you may not know about the tutu, ballet’s most recognizable piece of costumery.
The tutu has a long history, so whether you’re a dance enthusiast or a total beginner, we hope you love these tutu fun facts!
The tutu was originally designed by Eugene Lami, for ballerina Marie Taglioni to wear in La Sylphide in 1832. In the drawings we have, we can see she was wearing a “romantic tutu.”
There are 2 main styles of tutu, the Romantic and the Classic. The Classic tutu has 4 iterations, the Platter, the Pancake, the Bell, and the Powder-Puff, all of which are used in different ballets!
Aside from the above more traditional styles of tutu, choreographers can work with costume departments to create much more graphic and unique tutu shapes. Here is a fun example of this, William Forsythe’s Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude.
While the tutu started long as we saw with Marie Taglioni, the lengths of the skirt shortened over time to show off the dancer’s legs, feet, and pointe work.
Tutu’s are often stored upside down, to ensure that they retain their shape.
Due to the expensive nature of a tutu, dancers will wear a “Practice Tutu” to rehearsal, which allows a dancer to get used to the feel and shape of it (particularly important for partnering work), without damaging those expensive performance ready costumes!
Tutu’s are made up of layers of tulle and netting. The layers are shortest next to the dancers legs, and steadily get longer, and can often take up to 15 metres (49 feet) of material.
A well-cared for Tutu can last up to 20 years. Knowing how much time, effort, and money go into creating these beautiful pieces, ensuring they last is why ballet companies invest in proper wardrobe departments to care for them.
The tutu is an integral part of helping the dancer become their character. Putting on the White Swan Tutu vs. the Black Swan Tutu helps the dancer embody the character, allowing them to deliver a beautifully danced and well acted performance.
We love learning about the history of the Tutu and are excited for the future of this beautiful piece of ballet! Let us know, what is your favourite tutu fact? How will you be celebrating Tutu day?
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