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The Nutcracker Ballet

  • Loving Our Colors!

    We LOVE Colors

    At Class Act Tutu we LOVE our Color Layered Romantic Tutu styles.  We have so many colors of our exquisite tulle, that your options are nearly unlimited.

    Depth, Shading & a Stunning Visual

    Layering colors adds depth and shading that changes with movement and provides an absolutely stunning performance.  We think this look works very well for your Nutcracker Ballet's Waltz of the Flowers or Snow Scene. Check out our "Rose Splendor" ensemble in action in the video below.

    Ballet Academy East, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker™ Waltz of the Flowers.

    Dress Up Your Barbie

    One way to easily visualize how your color choices come together is to order our ruffled swatch sets and to dress up your Barbie (or soda bottle or whatever!).

    Tutu Swatches

    Order Your Color Cards and Ruffled Swatches Today!

    The price of our Tutu Bodice & Skirt Color cards and/or our Ruffled Swatch sets is deducted from your tutu order and shipping is FREE!  Order today and plan your Nutcracker Ballet tutus!

    Ruffled Swatches

    As always, if you need any assistance, contact us at 800.820.1667 or drop us an email. We are always happy to assist you.

  • Urban Nutcracker

    We are sharing this fun post from Dustin Todd Rennells that talks about creating all new costumes for Tony Williams', Urban Nutcracker.  Enjoy!

    by Dustin Todd Rennells

    Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker Photo: RavenWolfe Photography Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker Photo: RavenWolfe Photography

    This was one of my favorite overall projects to do for Urban Nutcracker. This tutu came to us at a great price from Class Act Tutu when I begged for a good price for our amazing show. It came naked just wine and black. Through the help of numerous volunteers all the gold window panes and sequined borders were sewn on and tacked down. First is Katrina Gould as Sugar with her backup of Sugar Plum Attendants in several beautiful images by RavenWolfe Photography. Next is my original drawing of the piece that I had envisioned. This is most likely the closest to my original idea. Lastly is the tutu we had used for 6+ years. Definitely a new concept here! Sugar embodies the city of Boston, wine/brick red like the buildings with glowing lights of a city during the holidays. Thanks to Anita Handy-Velasquez, Amanda Lapham, Yara Figueroa, Molly Mclaughlin-Drubin and Judith Alvarez for their additional work to this costume and headpiece. Based on original drawings by Rebecca Cross.

    Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker Photo: RavenWolfe Photography Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker Photo: RavenWolfe Photography
    Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker Photo: RavenWolfe Photography Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker    Photo: RavenWolfe Photography

     

    Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker Photo: RavenWolfe Photography Katrina Gould in Tony Williams' Urban Nutcracker    Photo: RavenWolfe Photography

     

    Concept for Urban Nutcracker's Sugarplum by Dustin Todd Rennells. Concept for Urban Nutcracker's Sugarplum by Dustin Todd Rennells.
  • Quick Tip - Let the Fabric & Trim Do the Work!

    Hand work can be delightful if you have time, but in a crunch, it may not be an option. Here is what I do:

    Find nicely embellished fabric so that little or no adornment needs to be added.
    Find fabric that needs no edge finishing (that is, no hemming).

    My favorite choice is embellished (sequined, beaded, embroidered) tulle like we used in this “Spanish” tutu design:

    RedSquarelargeTutu-813

    spanish_tutu

    To create an overlay for your skirt:

    • Cut a “donut” shape with the “hole” the measurement of the bottom of the tutu basque.
    • Choose the length of the overlay.
    • Cut an 8 inch slit at the center back.

    news-overlay

    If needed, use a coordinating trim to edge the outside of the skirt circle.  This trim can be hand stitched or machine sewn.

    news-overlay-trim

    For the bodice, cut a shape that follows the lines of the bodice. Again, if needed, outline the fabric with a co-coordinating trim.

    news-overlay-bodice

    If time and budget permit, add beads or crystals.

    news-overlay-crystals

    Tack bodice & skirt overlay in place so that it is secure but easy to remove for cleaning.

    Voila!  An elegant tutu embellishment without a lot of stitching time

  • Sightings: Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's Waltz of the Flowers

    It is so fun to see what various companies do in presenting The Nutcracker Ballet (and pretty fun to find they are wearing our tutus when doing it!).

    Aspen Santa Fe Ballet   Photo: Rosalie O'Connor Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Photo: Rosalie O'Connor

    In Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's Nutcracker, instead of the Land of the Sweets, Clara is brought to a beautiful turn-of-the-century carousel, complete with blinking light bulbs and vintage carousel animals.  We found this photo of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's "Flowers" wearing  Class Act Tutus posted in the Photo Essay: Nutcrackers Around the Nation Display Regional Flair from PBS.   Check Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's performance information on their website and get your tickets to see this lovely version of The Nutcracker Ballet.

    These Waltz of the Flowers Tutus feature Class Act Tutu's Scoop Neck Bodice with  a Color-Layered Romantic Tutu with Basque.  Embellishment by the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Costume Shop.

    Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Time Out Magazine Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Time Out Magazine
  • How To Make a "Sugarplum" (for your Sugarplum Fairy Tutu)

    Sugarplum

    Sugarplum

    These Sugarplums were designed and created by Christine Joly of CJDL Design for this year’s Class Act Tutu Nutcracker Sugarplum Fairy tutu design.   These decorative Sugarplums are made using a combination of heat-formed thermoplastics and glued seed and bugle beads.  They are light, sturdy, can be sewn through and are drop-dead gorgeous!

    We are going to tell you step by step how to make these beautiful "Sugarplums" and if you scroll down to the bottom of this post you will find a list of sources for everything that you need for this fun project.

    If you are interested in having your Sugarplum tutu embellished by us, you may contact us for a design quote.

    What You Will Need

    1. One “Cabochon” (oval with a flat bottom) shape
    2. A stiff cardboard template of your shape
    3. Fosshape
    4. Heat gun, steam iron, steamer, or hair dryer
    5. Craft Glue
    6. Heat Proof Work Surface (foil covered metal pan or tray)
    7. Acrylic Paint(s)

    Step 1.  Make your template.

    • Trace your cabochon and add an extra 1/8 inch around the edge.  Cut out.
    • See the middle photo in the trio of pictures below.  NOTE:  The template is just a hole. You can see the tin foil lining the tray underneath.

    Step 2.  Cut your Fosshape.

    Fosshape is a fun “thermoplastic” cloth.  It feels like felt.  Fosshape starts out flexible and moldable but stiffens when heated.  It can be heated with a steam iron, hot air gun or hair dryer set on high.  This material, once formed, maintains its shape, can be sewn or glued and is wonderful for ornamentation, headpieces, masks, props, etc.  See our “Sources” at the end for more information on this fabric and where to purchase.

    • Cut your Fosshape fabric into pieces large enough to heat set over your mold.  This material can shrink up to 30%, so make sure your pieces are large enough.

    Step 3.  Shape and Heat.

    • Working on your heat proof work surface, place a piece of the cut Fosshape over the cabochon.
    • Carefully work your way around the shape holding your heat tool 4 to 5 inches from the surface.
    • When the Fosshape becomes soft and limp, press your cut-out template down and over it. (See far right photo in row below)
    • Fosshape cools very quickly, so you will have to work fast and keep pressure applied over the form.
    Cabochon, Template, Pressed Shape

    Cabochon,

    Step 4.  Paint Your Shape

    • With acrylic paints, paint the surface and base of your stiffened Fosshape.
    Painted Shape

    Painted

    Step 5.  Glue on Beads

    • Sort your beads into containers.  Christine used lighter shades as a highlight and three “plum” tones for the body.
    Sorted Beads

    Sorted

    • You will glue your beads onto the form in increments—not all at once.
    • Begin by squeezing a strip of glue along the top of your shape.  With a spoon, pour your beads over the glued area so they cover the glue.  (HINT:  Pour right back into your container so you have less to clean up!)
    • Gently tap down with your finger so that the beads are pushed into the glue.  Have a moist cloth available to wipe your fingers.
    • Let this harden at least ½ hour.  The glue can take up to 3 hours to fully dry.
    • Repeat this with all your shapes then move onto a different area of your form until the entire surface is covered.
    • IMPORTANT: Go back over your plums and gently push the beads into the glue BEFORE the glue has completely dried.
    Glueing Beads

    Glueing

    Step 6.  Finishing

    • Trim your “Sugarplums”, wrap with decorative cording, and stitch onto your project.
    Sugarplums Applied to the Tutu

    Sugarplums

    Sources

    Here is what we used and the easiest place to purchase that we could find.  If you have source suggestions, we would love to hear from you.

    Large Glass  (Fire Mountain Gems and Beads) or Acrylic (Art Fire ) “Cabochon” shape.

    Fosshape - Richard the Thread – Here you will also find additional instructions on using Fosshape.

    Aleen’s Tacky Glue & Acrylic Paint can be found easily at most craft stores like JoAnn or Michael’s

    Stay tuned!

    Next we will learn how to make the leaves.

    Sugarplum Parts

    Sugarplum Tutu ©CJDL Design for Class Act Tutu

    Sugarplum

    Sugarplum Ombre Detail

    Sugarplum

  • Quick Tips: Threading Your Needles

    Threading a Needle

    As we approach the Nutcracker Season, those of us that have ANYTHING to do with costumes, think about any way we can save time.  Whether you are hand stitching, embellishing, or tacking a tutu, you need to thread a needle.  Here are some ideas to make that task both faster and easier.

    Thread Multiple Needles

    Approach  your hand stitching "assembly line" manner by grouping threading your needles.  This way you do not have to stop to re-thread.

    Put White Behind the Needle

    White behind the needle make the eye much more visible.  Keep a small piece of white paper or index card handy to place behind the eye of the needle.

    Cut Your Thread with Sharp Scissors at an Angle

    A clean cut thread cut at an angle is easier to get through the eye of a needle.

    Stiffen the Thread

    Use bees wax to stiffen your thread.  It will be so much easier to control.

    Use a Tweezer

    Those long, bent handle tweezers that are used for serger threading can work great to hold the thread while threading any needle.

    We would LOVE to hear from you if you have any tips to share.  Just contact us!

    Finally, here are some past posts you may enjoy:

    Tacking Your Tutu - Parts 1 through 4

    At Class Act Tutu we specialize in getting you professional quality tutus in many colors and styles.

    We love providing made-to-order tutus that you can embellish.  Check out our "How to Order Your Tutus" page for some step by step instructions on getting just the ballet costumes that you want.

    Don't forget to take advantage of our Nutcracker Ballet Early Order and Volume Discounts.

  • Review: Growing Through Arts - The Nutcracker Ballet Story & Activity Books

    nutcracker-ballet-by-aleksaAh, The Nutcracker! It's often a child's first "real" taste of the world of ballet, inspiring many a young Sugar Plum, Clara and Nutcracker Prince!

    Now you can encourage your little one's love for this classic holiday tale with this sweet storybook from Growing Through Arts.

    The Nutcracker Ballet by Aleksandra features delightful illustrations and charming prose that are sure to please budding ballerinas and baby danseurs of all ages. This beautiful hardcover book features a generous 11x11 size (perfect for those chubby little hands!), character building questions carefully woven throughout the story to fuel further discussion, and a handy glossary which explains new terms in a clear and simple way.

    The Nutcracker Ballet Practice & Play Book is a robust 32-page activity book filled with fun mazes, printing practice, pattern recognition exercises, drawing lessons, hidden pictures and - one of the best features by far - the Nutcracker Paper Doll!

    Class Act Tutu's Testing Lab featuring Miss Avianah

    Class

    The book features standard dimensions of 8.5 x 11", colorful illustrations and a larger font making it ideal for preschoolers through 2nd grade. While the book contains plenty of stand-alone learning activities, it's designed to complement The Nutcracker Ballet storybook.

    Both the story book and activity book are written by Russian Pointe's own Aleksandra Efimova, illustrated by her sister, Elizaveta Efimova, and published under Aleksandra's latest venture, Growing Through Arts. Founded in 2010 and "inspired by the classical, world-acclaimed Russian educational system, Growing Through Arts products are infused with the philosophy that participating in the arts can have a dynamic impact on children’s careers, educations, and social lives. Our system combines a uniquely powerful set of learning elements to boost your child’s mental and emotional growth."

    Their products build on and develop:

    • Creativity and imagination
    • Confidence, leadership and character strength
    • Memory, abstract thinking, discipline, focus, and a wide range of pre-academic skills
    • Arts vocabulary and much more!

    The Nutcracker Ballet by Aleksandra & The Nutcracker Ballet Practice & Play Book offers children an insightful peek behind the curtain and brings to life Clara's world and that of her beloved Prince like never before. I was very impressed by both the quality of these items, as well as their unique ability to encourage a young child's love for dance in such a positive and insightful way. These books would make a great Christmas, birthday or "just because" gift for tiny dancers.

  • Sightings: Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's "Nutcracker by the Numbers"

    We love these mathematical rundowns of productions.  It gives a small sense of all the work that goes on behind the scenes to create a performance.  We were thrilled to see this piece posted by Aspen Santa Fe Ballet that show some Class Act Tutus in the piles!

    Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, "Nutcracker by the Numbers"

    Aspen

    Aspen Santa Fe Ballet has performances of the Nutcracker in Omaha, Santa Fe and Aspen.  Get your tickets!

  • A Peek Inside: The Rock School's Nutcracker 1776

    The Rock School's "Nutcracker 1776"

    The

    The Rock School for Dance Education's 'Nutcracker 1776' provides a delightful patriotic twist to a traditional holiday classic. Nutcracker 1776 "tells the tale of two children entrusted with an enchanted key and Nutcracker that lead them far from their home in colonial Philadelphia."

    Not only were we at Class Act Tutu proud to have created some of the production's costumes, we were curious about the inspiration behind this beloved production.

    We posed our questions to The Rock School's directors, Bojan and Stephanie Spassoff.

    What was the inspiration behind Nutcracker 1776? Why did the school decide to "travel off the beaten path" and branch out like this? (Which by the way, was an awesome idea!)

    We wanted to "re-invent" a new Nutcracker.  Distill it and make it Philadelphia-centric.  Ben Franklin is our "Drosselmeyer" figure - a cross between Dumbledore and Drosselmeyer.  Instead of a German Parlor in the opening scene we are in Ye Olde City Tavern Inn, a real Philadelphia tavern  during colonial times where virtually all of the Founding Founders met, discussed and planned the issues of the day.  This seemed to us to make it much more personal for our Philadelphia audience as well as sneaking in some actual history.

    How has the community received the production over the years?

    This is only our third year of doing this production but the response has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic.   The School's Rock Reach outreach program has a special dress rehearsal for over 1,800 under served children from schools in Philadelphia, Camden and Chester County.  The children are thrilled to see what may be their first and only Nutcracker.  The response rivals a rock concert!

    That's amazing! So do you offer a more traditional production as well? If so, how do attendance/ticket sales compare between the two?

    No, we do not as this production is specifically geared to be more accessible for families with young children and fathers who do not want to sit for two and a half hours.  It is truly still a traditional Nutcracker.  We try to keep it fresh every year by adapting to the students enrolled in The School.

    In closing, what advice would you give other dance schools or companies looking to spice things up over the holidays?

    Just look at your audience to see what is going to make it more feasible for them to go and enjoy something for the whole family, that is beautiful, elegant, and yet dynamic.  It is also important to review show times, assess when the performances are better attended, and to take into consideration feedback from the audiences.  Incorporating elements of magic, the unexpected and a variety of smaller charming little parts for children in the production is pleasing to both participants and the audience.  Keep the joy in the dancing!

    For more information about Nutcracker 1776 or to purchase tickets, please visit their website at TheRockSchool.org.

    Class Act Tutu created the V-Neck Tutu Bodices and the Romantic Skirts with Basque (color:  White) for The Rock School's Snow Scene as well as the "Betsy Ross" Classical Tutu Skirt (color: Royal Basque/Red Skirt   style:  soft classical).

  • The 'Muttcracker' Provides Fun Holiday Twist

    Bailey and Tex: The Shih Tzu, Bailey, is the Nutcracker Prince, and the black lab, Tex, is the Mouse King. The photo is a reenactment of their famous epic battle. | Courtesy of DMS Photography

    Bailey

    Seriously, how cute is this?! "This holiday season, Jamie {a Shetland sheepdog} will join nearly 30 other costumed dancing dogs in “A Canine Version of The Nutcracker,” or simply, “The Muttcracker.” There will be no barking “Jingle Bells” — the music is all from the Tchaikovsky score audiences know and love. But the Nutcracker Prince is a Shih Tzu, and Marie (also known as Clara in some productions) is played by a pug. Jankowski’s two other Shelties, Bonnie and Lizzy, are also on the playbill." What an adorable and absolutely fantastic idea! For more information including performance times and super-cute gallery pics, click here.

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