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Tag Archives: ballet

  • The Romantic Tutu Skirt

    While ballet tutus can take on many forms, when most people hear the word “tutu” they envision the ethereal Romantic style tutu skirt.  In honor of its timeless beauty, we would like to take a moment and share a little bit about this classic tutu style.

    The Romantic Era of Ballet

    The Romantic Tutu made its debut during the early to mid-19th century, a time in which “romanticism” in art and literature held great influence over the creation of new ballets. By many historical accounts, the Romantic period is considered to have begun with the 1827 Paris debut of La Sylphide where the Romantic Tutu skirt was first worn by Marie Taglioni.

    Marie Taglioni, La Sylphide wearing the first Romantic Tutu Marie Taglioni, La Sylphide wearing the first Romantic Tutu

    Many of these Romantic Ballet stories told tales of conflict between man and nature, society and the supernatural.  This era put the ballerina center stage “floating” on the tip of a toe in the forms of sylphs (La Sylphide), wilis (Giselle), and other ghostly spirits—who enslaved the hearts and senses of mortal men.

    Carlotta Grisi, 1841 as Giselle Carlotta Grisi, 1841 as Giselle

    The Romantic Tutu Skirt

    Due to this marked supernatural influence, the second act of these Romantic ballets (representing the spirit realm) began to be called the “white act” or “ballet-blanc”.  The corresponding costume was an elegant white skirt made of layers upon layers of tulle (fine netting). This other-worldy white skirt was what we’ve come to know as the Romantic Tutu Skirt.  This ghostly vision was enhanced with new developments in theater effects such as gas lighting (that could be dimmed), posing en pointe, and the use of wires to make dancers “fly”.

    What is a Romantic Tutu Skirt?

    Romantic Tutus are long, floating and ethereal.  They are usually 3-5 layers of soft tulle.  These soft layers can begin at the waist (Romantic Tutu) or fall from the high hip for a dropped waist look (Romantic Tutu with Basque).

    At Class Act Tutu, we LOVE romantic tutu skirts.  From the famous classic white to today’s vivid, colorful layers, we have the skill and ingenuity to create the tutu of your dreams!  We encourage you to put one on and get busy enslaving hearts!

    From Vail International Dance Festival, International Festival of Dance II, Giselle, August 4, 2012.  From Vail International Dance Festival, International Festival of Dance II, Giselle, August 4, 2012.
  • Pacific Northwest Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty Returns Better Than Ever

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Kaori Nakamura as Princess Aurora in Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty. Nakamura is one of four dancers performing the lead role in PNB’s presentation of the classic story ballet, running January 31 – February 9, 2014. Photo © Angela Sterling.

    Pacific

    Lavish storybook sets, decadent costumes and gorgeous dancing provide the stunning backdrop to Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’.

    Kaori Nakamura and Seth Orza brought the house to its feet in a standing ovation during Friday’s opening as Princess Aurora and her beloved Prince Florimund. Their technique was amazing, and the way they looked at each other? Hello! Talk about your fairytale romances! I loved how the two of them can take a character, even one as well known as Aurora and Florimund, and make them their own. Orza is just one of those dancers you love to watch…over ‘n over again. I’ve yet to see an “off” performance from him or one where I wasn’t fully enraptured with his character. He *IS* the Prince…every time, all the time.

    I was also highly impressed by how quickly Nakamura went from bubby teenage Princess in Act I, to delicately composed bride in Act III. While this electrifying ballerina recently announced her plans to retire at the end of the season, her performance proved that she still has what it takes to rock the ballet world for many years to come.

    Jonathan Poretta provided a breath of comedy (as well as a serious hint of creepy!) as the wicked fairy, Carabosse. I loved how he’d peek out from under his “hag hoodie” and how the strobe lights would “flash” whenever he (she?) flew through the air. (Mmmwwa ha ha haaa!) In fact, I was almost sad when he died at Florimund’s hand (just before that glorious kiss), but as we all know, good always triumphs over evil especially in fairy tales.

    Laura Tisserand’s Lilac Fairy was one of the best I’ve ever seen. The depth of her storytelling ability seems every bit as endless and beautiful as her extension (which is really saying something, folks!). Everything she does is just incredible.

    The king and queen (Otto Neubert and Maria Chapman) plead with the wicked fairy Carabosse (Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Jonathan Porretta) in Ronald Hynd’s The Sleeping Beauty. Photo © Angela Sterling.

    The

    And speaking of incredible, Act III’s Gold and Silver Pas de Trois (featuring Lindsi Dec, Andrew Bartee and Jerome Tisserand) was nothing short of jaw-dropping. Bartee has really come into his own as an artist (can’t wait to see more from him!), while Tisserand almost oozes with delicious charisma. Dec’s thousand-watt smile and clean technique shined brighter than any diamond, easily re-solidifying her place as an audience favorite.

    Just before the show, Artistic Director Peter Boal announced five (!!) well deserved company promotions: Elizabeth Murphy, Margaret Mullin and William Lin-Yee were officially recognized as soloists, while Lindsi Dec and Laura Tisserand were bestowed the title of Principal. Talk about putting a big, luscious cherry on top of a fantastic opening night!

    The Sleeping Beauty runs through February 9th. Tickets available at PNB.org.

  • Sightings: The Ballerina Supremacy

    The Ballerina Supremacy, Madison in Seattle Washington

    The

    Class Act Tutu had lots of fun this summer!  We got to dance around the Seattle area with Day Kol (Photographer, The Ballerina Supremacy).  Day is looking for ballet dancers in the Seattle area.  Head on over to The Ballerina Supremacy 's Facebook page to message him if you are interested in collaborating.

    The Ballerina Supremacy, in Seattle Washington with Madison

    The

    The Ballerina Supremacy, Madison at The Evergreen State Fair

    The

    Model:  Madison Abeo, student at Pacific Northwest Ballet

    Styles shown:  "Pancake" Style Classical Tutu Skirt, White worn with (Top & Bottom Left Photos): Vala Dancewear's Cross-Back Corset Leotard in "Lipstick" (Style #22003 - New style coming 2014) and (Bottom Right) Photo "Siren" Leotard in Steel (Style #22001-New color coming 2014).

  • 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

  • In a Relationship!

    Huffington Post has an in-depth interview with Pacific Northwest Ballet's Artistic Director, Peter Boal and Principal Dancers, James Moore & Kaori Nakamura about Jean-Christophe Maillot's version of Roméo et Juliette.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Dancers James Moore & Kaori Nakamua in Jean-Christophe Maillot's Roméo et Juliette.       Photos: Angela Sterling

    Pacific

  • Sightings! Signature Theatre's "And the Curtain Rises"

    curtainrises
    Take a look at our romantic tutu skirts and "Sweetheart" tutu bodices used  in Signature Theatre's production of, And the Curtain Rises.

    "The world premiere musical comedy And the Curtain Rises loosely re-imagines the theatrical bedlam surrounding the creation of the first American musical.

    Set in 1866, this classic backstage tale follows novice producer William Wheatley as he finds his production in shambles: bruised egos, secret plots, romance, some skimpy costumes, an uncompromising author, and a cast on the verge of revolt. All is complicated when a French ballet troupe is forced to seek refuge in his theatre after a fire erupts in an adjacent theatre..." To learn more about the production or for ticket information, please click here.

    curtainrisescloseup
    {Photos appear courtesy of Signature Theatre; Photography by Scott Suchman}

  • Sightings: Behind the Scenes at PNB's photo shoot for Giselle

    Photo shoot for Pacific Northwest Ballet's Giselle

    Behind the scenes at PNB's Giselle photo shoot.  Photographer:  Angela Sterling.  Dancer/Model:  Amanda Clark.  Photo ©Phil Thompson.

    Behind

    Our timeless white Romantic Tutu skirt was used in this photo shoot done by Angela Sterling for Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of Giselle.    Pacific Northwest Ballet's, Giselle runs June 3-12, 2011.

    Based entirely on the original material from 1841 coupled with all new staging by artistic director Peter Boal, PNB's Giselle is being heralded as a major World Premiere event.  Just think--for the first time ever, American audiences will experience this hauntingly beautiful tale in its original splendor! {How fabulous is that?!} Everyone here at Class Act Tutu is really looking forward to it.

    While its June Premiere is still several months away, we thought we would treat you with these lovely behind-the-scenes photos for PNB's Giselle.  Enjoy!

    Photographer:  Angela Sterling.  Dancer/Model:  Amanda Clark.  All photos ©Phil Thompson.

  • Sightings: Whole Foods

    How Fun is This?

    Here is the Florida Classical Ballet Theatre performing in the produce section at Whole Foods Market in Palm Beach Gardens!

    Florida Classical Ballet

    Florida

    Style shown is Class Act Tutu's "Bird of Paradise" Color-Layered Romantic Tutu Skirts.

    click for more information on this performance

  • Sightings: Regina Opera, "Carmen"

    WendyChu in "Carmen" (Regina Opera)

    WendyChu

    The Brooklyn Daily Eagle says, "The principal dancers, Wendy Chu partnered by Nolan McKew were magical..." in this performance of Carmen by the Regina Opera. 

    Read the full review here.

    Photo © Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2010

    Wendy is wearing Class Act Tutus' Sweetheart Bodice with Nude inset in "Amethyst" with a Color-Layered Romantic Tutu skirt in:  Dusty Rose, Wine and Eggplant

  • Congratulations, Susan Jaffe

    SusanJaffeA hearty congratulations goes out to Ms. Susan Jaffe, American Ballet Theatre's new Ballet Mistress. According to American Ballet Theatre's Facebook page, Ms. Jaffe's promotion will be effective as of October 2010.

    Susan Jaffe retired from her position as a Principal Dancer with the company back in 2002, after an amazing 22 year career. Then in 2003, "she co-founded the Princeton Dance and Theater Studio in Princeton New Jersey, a school she co-owns with Risa Kaplowitz. She is also co-founder and co-director of DanceVision and DanceVision Youth Ensemble in Princeton." ~ American Ballet Theatre Facebook Fan Page


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