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Tag Archives: White Tutu

  • 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.
  • Quick Tip: From the Costume Shop at Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB)

    We first published this blog entry almost exactly 4 years ago. It remains one of our all time favorite tips: How to create an elegant and very "Degas"  tutu look on a budget. Enjoy this re-post.

    In 2006, Fleming Halby (then director of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Seattle school) staged the only surviving scene from August Bournonville's "Konservatoriet". Class Act Tutu was honored to provide the white romantic tutu skirts for that performance.

    PNB School's "Konservatoriet "  ©Rex Trainter PNB School's "Konservatoriet " ©Rex Trainter

    The staging of this piece has always provided a great inspiration to us in how to create a beautiful classic look reminiscent of the early French ballet.   We were lucky to get to spend some time in the PNB costume shop learning how Victoria McFall created this lovely vision.   Here is what we learned.

    What you need:
    1. White Leotard
    2. White Romantic Style Tutu skirt
    3. Satin Ribbon
    4. Sheer Fabric for Sleeves
    5. Nude Elastic

    The Leotard
    • Start with a camisole style leotard. Remove the straps and replace them with nude elastic.
    • Create a pattern for an off the shoulder sleeve with a gusset. Here are some views of PNB’s sleeve and pattern:

    Sleeve with Gusset Sleeve with Gusset
    Sleeve and Pattern Sleeve and Pattern
    PNB Sleeve Pattern PNB Sleeve Pattern

    • Here you can find instructions for making your own pattern for gussets.
    • Stitch your sleeve onto the leotard

    Sleeve with gusset sewn to leotard Sleeve with gusset sewn to leotard

    The Skirt
    • Start with a romantic style tutu skirt. PNB used Class Act Tutu’s Romantic Style 5-Layer skirt in a mid-calf length.
    • Edge stitch a nice satin ribbon onto the waistband at the top and the bottom. Victoria used pale blue and white for Konservatoriet.

    Satin Waistband & Bow Satin Waistband & Bow

    • Sew down a faux bow if desired.

    This idea can be used for many different tutu looks and combining a professional quality tutu skirt with an inexpensive leotard can stretch your costume budget.

  • Sightings: The Ballerina Supremacy

    The Ballerina Supremacy, Madison in Seattle Washington


    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 Ballerina Supremacy, Madison at The Evergreen State Fair


    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).

  • Ballet Inspired Makeup Tutorial

    Ballet Makeup Mash-up!

    We wanted to share this Ballet inspired makeup tutorial with you because it is so fun (and because we LOVE Lisa Eldridge).

    This video features Roberta Marquez, principal, Royal Ballet.  It is styled with the Sleeping Beauty wedding tutu using "Bollywood"  inspired makeup by Lisa Eldridge.

  • Amazing Costumes on a Budget: Savannah Arts Academy

    The Wizard of Oz, Savannah Arts Academy - Lollipop


    To kick-off our "Amazing Costumes on a Budget" series, we'd like to take a moment and introduce you to the talented Christina Powell-Dance Department Chair of the Savannah Arts Academy in Georgia. Christina knows all about creating fabulous, professional-looking costumes--without breaking the bank! When we asked if she'd be interested in sharing some of her best "trade secrets" with our readers, she eagerly accepted. So, if your dance production is in the middle of a financial bind, you might want to take a few notes. So grab a pen (or bookmark this page), and get ready to be inspired!

    Class Act: So tell us, what initially prompted you and the Savannah Arts Academy to be "beautiful on a budget"? Was this something you've always done or did the current economy have something to do with it?

    Christina Powell: Working for a public school in a dance department that is fully supported by fundraising efforts and ticket sales to productions (we receive no funding from the local or state government), we must be extremely creative with our funds. We must work around [financial] issues to be beautiful on a budget. We ask for a lot of help from local seamstresses who donate their time and sometimes even the cost of materials to create costumes for us. For tutus, we order the skirts with basques from Class Act Tutu and the matching basque fabric for the bodices. We then have parent volunteers or local costumers make the bodices for each dancer to complete the look. In addition, we sometimes work with fashion students from our local art college, Savannah College of Art and Design.

    Class Act: Are there any specific actions that you take to do this? How does it all come together?

    Christina Powell: Well, at the beginning of the year, I take inventory of our costume closet and create a list of the most wanted items that I’d like to purchase for the year. Two years ago, we ordered an entire set of white romantic tutu skirts from Class Act Tutu. This was our first big tutu purchase! In order to save money, we had the bodices made to complete the look. We used those tutus for a Swan Lake excerpt and for the Fairy Corps in Cinderella. We used them again this year for the Emerald City Corps during our ballet, "The Wizard of Oz". Each time we use the white tutus, we change the decoration to fit the part. For the Emerald City Corps, a parent volunteer added emerald tulle overlays and a gold ribbon design on the bodice. The tulle was purchased in bulk from Class Act Tutu. Outside of ordering tutus, we also order other costumes that I feel like we’ll get a lot of use out of. For example, we ordered some Rockette-like white costumes that we wore in our Winter Dance Concert. We used them again for a local holiday event in downtown Savannah. The girls dressed up as snowflakes using these same costumes. Then in, "The Love of Broadway", our final show this year, we used these costumes again with added gold accents to perform “One” from A Chorus Line. So, my advice is that you prioritize your costumes needs, determine what costumes you can get the most out of, and take baby steps each year until you create a wonderful costume closet!

    Class Act: You know, I wonder how many other dance companies will read this and think, "Hmm. Why didn't we think of that?" Now, I also heard that you re-decorate your tutus. Would you share some examples of that with us?
    The Wizard of Oz, Savannah Arts Academy - Poppies


    Christina Powell: Yes, we do this a lot! For the lollipop tutus, I ordered that set of costumes at the beginning of the year. For our Winter Dance Concert, we used those tutus for a Sleeping Beauty excerpt. Then, we redecorated them for the Lollipop Corps for Wizard of Oz. We do this for all of our tutus. We always sew decorations onto the costumes so that we can easily take them off to change the look for the next performance. Never use glue! Also, skirt overlays are a great way to add color to costumes and to completely change the original look. The skirt overlays work best on white romantic tutus.

    Class Act: Do you have any final words of advice or any "Top Tips" that you'd like to share before we close?

    Christina Powell: It is so easy to get overwhelmed with costuming needs, especially if you are just starting to build a costume closet and you’re on a budget. When I took over as the chair of the Savannah Arts Academy Department of Dance, we didn’t even own a tutu! That was two years ago. Now, we own two complete sets of romantic length tutus (a white set and a pink set), a set of euro-tutus (red for the Poppy Corps for Wizard of Oz),  four romantic tutus for the Cinderella fairies (Summer, Spring, Winter, and Autumn),  and several pancake tutus (Fairy Godmother, Mazurka lead for Cinderella, Wizard for Wizard of Oz, etc). We have already used the white tutus in four shows, and the pink tutus in two shows. The red pancake tutu has been worn for the Mazurka lead in Cinderella, the Spanish variation for Nutcracker, the Don Quixote pas de deux, and the Poppy Lead in Cinderella!  Lots of use out of the red pancake tutu! Also, the winter fairy tutu was also re-worn by Glinda the Good Witch for Wizard of Oz. The best advice I can give someone wanting to build a costume closet, is to prioritize! Think about what kinds of costumes you need for your upcoming shows. Think about what you can get the most out of. Start basic (a set of white romantic tutus is a great place to start! They are so versatile and beautiful on stage!!!), and again--take baby steps! Breathe! And most of all, have fun!

    Thank you so much, Ms. Powell! Your creative ideas are going to come in handy for so many dancers out there. We wish you and the Savannah Arts Academy continued success! If you'd like to learn more about the programs available through the Savannah Arts Academy or attend future performances, please click here.

    Denise Opper ~ Media Relations

  • {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!)

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

    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.

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

  • Sightings: Pacific Northwest Ballet at the Guggenheim / Pointe Magazine

    Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers wearing our tutus in Pointe Magazine! (see Pointe Magazine, December 2010/January 2011, p 75).

    This was part of the "Works & Process" lecture-demonstration at New York's Guggenheim Museum back in May, 2010.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet's presentation featured performances by company members and the discussion, "Balanchine's Petipa" led by Doug Fullington. "Balanchine's Petipa" explored the influence Marius Petipa's choreography had over George Balanchine, with a special focus on choreography for men.

    The Guggenheim museum's  "Works & Process" series offers audiences the amazing opportunity to get "up close and personal" with some of today's top creative minds and the world's most beloved artists.

    Did any of you happen to see it?  If so, leave a comment and tell us about it.

    Photo:  Sylvia Plachy   Pointe Magazine Dec 2010/Jan 2011


    Thank you Sylvia Plachy (photographer), Pacific Northwest Ballet and Pointe Magazine for showing our tutus in such a lovely way.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers are wearing Class Act Tutu's 5-Layer Romantic Tutu Skirt (style: 1260-5   color: white)

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

    The Rock School's "Nutcracker 1776"


    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

    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).

  • Tutu Ensemble of the Week: Aurora Borealis

    Aurora BorealisGentle and graceful, teasing and elusive, the Aurora Borealis is nature's most dazzling display of perfection.   The Aurora Borealis  calls out to the explorers, dreamers, and star-gazers each evening, gently drawing them near for her private performance.  As she streaks across the heavens in a powerful fusion of color, wind and light, her admirers are rendered speechless--captivated and awestruck by the beauty which is hers alone.  This is the admiration she longs for; this is what brings her life meaning.

    You too can leave your audience speechless with the help of Class Act Tutu's "Aurora Borealis" innspired tutu ensemble! Choose your style of Tutu Bodice in Soft White paired with a 5-Layer Romantic Tutu skirt featuring cascading layers of snowy white, palest pink and icy blue, our Aurora Borealis ensemble is as stunning as the Northern Lights themselves. We  think this would made a stunning snow scene for your Nutcracker Ballet.

    For one week only, you can purchase this celestial charmer at an incredible savings! Click here to order.

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