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Class Act Tutu Blog

  • Boston Ballerina to Become Next Ballet Master

    Roman Rykine and Larissa Ponomarenko in George Balanchine's "Diamonds" (Gene Schiavone/The George Balachine Trust)


    "Principal dancer and icon Larissa Ponomarenko is retiring from the stage after 18 years with the company. In her new role as Ballet Master (sounds powerful, doesn’t it?) she will have the chance to channel her knowledge and grace to the next generation of dancers — through teaching, coaching and assisting with the production of upcoming performances." (....)

    Congratulations, Larissa! What an exciting honor! And YES we most certainly agree that the title of "Ballet Master" sounds deliciously powerful indeed! ;) Read all about Ponomarenko's new job title here.

  • Catching Up with ABT's Kelley Boyd

    Kelley Boyd / American Ballet Theatre


    Very few people can claim to report to work as a ballerina. But Kelley Boyd can... Check out this fun albeit brief encounter with one of ABT's rising stars! (You can listen to the audio or read the transcript - your choice!) :)

  • Exposing the Dancers Behind Royal New Zealand Ballet

    Paul Matthews - Photo courtesy: Kent Blechynden/Dominion Post


    Ballet has made a whirlwind return to New Zealand popular culture with the success of Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman, and TV3's The Secret Lives of Dancers.

    The TV show and movie are doing wonders for popularizing the lives of ballet dancers, says Paul Mathews, a 24-year-old professional dancer with the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB), but he is skeptical about the way such programs tell the dance story. Read the story in its entirety here.

    How do you feel about the way movies and TV depict the dance world? Leave a comment below with your thoughts!

  • {Sightings!} The Resurrection of Giselle...

    As we first reported way back in September, Class Act Tutu received the HUGE honor of having our white romantic tutu skirt used in the photo shoot for Pacific Northwest Ballet's upcoming production of Giselle.

    Completely re-staged and based entirely on the original 1841 Stepanov notation, PNB's Giselle resurrects the long forgotten subtleties and complexities of ballet's greatest - and most beloved - tragedy.  We cannot wait to see it.

    Here are some videos produced by Pacific Northwest Ballet including - what else? - our tutu skirt!  The first is all about the creation of the actual Giselle poster, while the second features actual footage from the photo shoot itself. Enjoy!  (PS: Amanda Clark - you look gorgeous!)

  • Ballet Austin: Building Birds - The Grand Finale`

    birds ...and now, Ladies and gentlemen! The moment we've all been waiting for!

    Ballet Austin's gorgeous birds of "The Magic Flute" are ready for their close-ups! :) Woohoo!

    Don't they look amazing?! We just love how everything came together so beautifully! {Love that swoopy finishing touch!} You can all about this fanciful feathered tale (sorry, couldn't resist) here.

    Thank you, Ballet Austin for the terrific shout-out! We are honored and thrilled to have played a small role in your production's success. Thank you for the opportunity!

  • The Creation of a Black Swan Tiara

    Black Swan Design Sketch CJDLDESIGN


    We love sharing the work that goes on behind the scenes in dance and theater and for our clients.  One of our favorite artists/designers is Christine Joly de Lotbiniere of CJDLDESIGN. Whether it be masks, fabric dyeing & painting, tiaras or tutu embellishment (and more), Christine can do it all!

    Here is a post Christine did depicting some of the process involved in the  making of a Black Swan Tiara that she is creating for a Class Act Tutu client.  We cannot wait to unveil the finished product (along with the Black Swan Tutu that is in the works as well).  Keep watching!

    1. Using a thermoplastic coated synthetic felt, (which starts out flexible and becomes stiffer the more it's heated) and a heat-gun, I shape the material in a curve. Once it's formed and cooled I draw the design of the crown. Steel wire is then bent to conform to the design and sewn down by hand.


    2. A second layer is formed to mimic the first. This surface layer includes recessed holes which will hold the swarovsky crystals. The design is then traced and cut out with a sharp blade.


    3. The second layer is glued down over the first wired one. Multiple pins keep the layers sandwiched together.


    4. Fitted onto a custom hammered copper tiara base, which I designed and built to fit the crown, I apply multiple layers of a pigmented wood filler (similar to but without the weight of gesso), sanding between each layer until the desired thickness is reached. I use an assortment of small rasps and files to carve and smooth the shape.


    5. I work on the angle of the crown as it sits on the tiara base. This is left to dry/air cure for 2 to 3 days.


    6. Size and silver leaf are applied over the crown and a portion of the base.


    7. Pigmented varnish is then applied to tint the tiara to a gunmetal color. Swarovsky crystals are then affixed as are custom made jewels and settings. Not complete yet, copper combs will need to be soldered onto the tiara base which then will be wrapped in silk velvet ribbon dyed to match my customers haircolor.


    This Black Swan Tiara can be purchased from CJDLDesign.

    If you would like to see more of Christine's design work along with some fun costume, art and fashion posts, view  CJDLDESIGN's Facebook page  for more of Christine's amazing work.

    If you are interested in custom tiaras, tutu embellishment or other professional quality costume design contact us.

  • Ballet Austin: Building Birds - Part 5

    Photo courtesy of Ballet Austin


    It's almost time for the dancers of Ballet Austin to "shake their tail feathers"!

    Check out the exciting fifth segment in their Building Birds series here. Don't forget to check back next week when Wardrobe Assistant, Emily Cavasar unveils the finished product! :) {Oooh, it's all so close we can hardly stand it! *Squeal*}

  • Sightings! Olympic Ballet Theatre's Coppélia "Dawn" Tutu

    As mentioned in the previous post, Class Act Tutu received the honor of creating 9 tutus for the "Dawn" scene featured in Olympic Ballet Theatre's production of "Coppélia - The Girl With Enamel Eyes". And now for your viewing pleasure is the lovely Miss Katie Alice Rookstool, modeling our Classical style tutu for her solo in "Dawn". Isn't she gorgeous? :)

    {Special thanks to both Katie Alice and her mother, Laura Rookstool for the use of this sneak peek photo!}

    Katie Alice Rookstool wearing "Dawn" tutu. Photo courtesy of Laura Rookstool


  • Olympic Ballet Theatre's Coppélia - The Girl with Enamel Eyes

    This weekend April 16-17th, Olympic Ballet Theatre in Edmonds, Washington will reveal its most impressive display of artistic collaboration to date; I'm referring to Coppélia - The Girl with Enamel Eyes.

    Mara Vinson as "Swanhilda". Photo courtesy Olympic Ballet Theatre


    The work itself, which took 5 years and nearly $50,000 to complete, marks the end of founding Artistic Director, Helen Wilkins 30 year reign and ushers new Artistic Directors Oleg Gorboulev and Mara Vinson (both formerly of Pacific Northwest Ballet) into the royal court. (Insert wild, thunderous applause coupled with showers of confetti here) :)

    "This charming light hearted ballet is one of the world’s best loved and carries with it the spirit of humor for the whole family. Honoring the legacy of Arthur Saint-Leo, who first produced the masterpiece in May 1870 at the Paris Opera, with music by Leo Delibes, this ballet is both classic and comedy. The importance of such a theatrical treasure is not lost on the OBT design team, “a project of this scope is exciting to do and we are happy to have the right amount of time to get it done well!” said Craig Wollam, technical director of the Seattle Scenic Studios." - Olympic Ballet Theatre Press Release.

    And not to toot our own horn but... (TOOT!), Class Act Tutu is proud to have played a part in this extraordinary production as well! Look for our Classical and Romantic tutus featured in the "Dawn" scene. :)

    The performances take place at Edmonds Center for the Arts on Saturday, April 16 at 2:00 & 7:00 PM and Sunday, April 17 at 3:00 PM. Prices are $20 for children 10 and under, $25 for students through high school and seniors, and $30 for adults. Service charges apply. All seats are reserved. Tickets for all performances may be purchased by calling ShowClix at 1.888.71.TICKETS, or online at

    In closing, we'd just like to say "MERDE" to all the dancers!!! We know you're going to be great! :)

  • Ballet Austin: Building Birds - Part Four

    assembleIn this segment, Ballet Austin Wardrobe Assistant, Emily Cavasar provides us with a sneak peek at the intricate tail feather pattern process! {She makes it look so easy, doesn't she?} :) Check out the post here.

    Don't miss the previous posts in this series:

    Ballet Austin: Building Birds - Part One
    Ballet Austin: Building Birds - Part Two
    Ballet Austin: Building Birds - Part Three

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