In Retrospect to the Ballet Tutus of Today
As the dance became more and more renowned in the whole world, two types of balled tutus also emerged. First is the long romantic version or Juliet style ballet tutu and the short provocative version or Classic style ballet tutu.
The Juliet style ballet tutus are often attributed to the famous brilliant ballerina from Sweden, Marie Taglioni. In the 1800’s, she was known to be the first to dance “en pointe” (on her tiptoes in ballet slippers). The ballet tutus she wore were usually cut to below the knee to unveil the intricacies of her famous legwork. Those romantic ballet tutus were delicate, feminine and made of material. It allowed Taglioni to move about freely floating through the air and executing the precise movements that gave her cult status.
As the dance moved on to the pinnacle of its esteem, more connoisseurs of the art form demanded to see the complex movements that the dancers performed. It was then that the ballet tutus shrank. The style of ballet tutus commonly referred to as Classic is a short, stiff skirt that juts out horizontally from a ballerina’s hipbones exposing her legs entirely. This kind of ballet tutu is often worn with a leotard, which hugs the dancers body.
Today, ballet tutus are designed to allow dancers an ethereal, airy, feminine appearance. In most cases, it gives the purpose for one to move about fluidly while permitting the audience to view her elaborate gestures and complicated footworks. The skirt of which is typically made from a material called tulle and the pattern depends whether is it romantic or classic.
Ballet tutus are composed of three parts namely bodice, basque and skirt. The bodice is a piece that is designed similar to a corset. It is meant to hug the body while staying in place through the rigors of a dancer’s movements. The basque is the one that attaches the bodice to the skirt which gives the costume a unique structure. The skirt is either long and flowing if it is of romantic style or short and jutting if it is of classic style.
Up to now, you may still be wondering where “tutu” originated. Its origin is not as elegant and beautiful as the garment itself. Legend has it that the term stemmed from a slang word used by commoners who just sit on the floor as they watch a performance on stage. They use “tutu” as the word to describe what they have seen. Meaning, they often get more out of the actual show than what they have bargained for. Even if designers have eventually figured out a way to eliminate the embarrassing costume problem, the name “tutu” stuck.