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Romantic Tutu


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#1 glebb

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Posted 18 November 2001 - 10:14 AM

What is the proper length of the Romantic tutu?
It seems from lithograph reproductions I've seen, that the tutu should be very long, almost to the ankles. Makes sense in a Victorian world.

I was watching Royal Danish Ballet's LA SYLPHIDE on video and Lis Jeppesen, who is gorgeous, wears a rather long tutu. Not to the ankles but long.

I then watched English National Ballet in another production of LA SYLPHIDE and Eva Evdokimova,who is also gorgeous, wears a tutu just below her knees.

Why do you think the tutu went to the knees? Was it a choice to make the legs look longer? It doesn't seem as pretty as the longer tutu, to me.

#2 Juliet

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Posted 18 November 2001 - 12:00 PM

Well, another of those design questions for a Sunday morning....

Some designers do not like them that long, for some productions. Most of the designers working in ballet are not ballet historians, don't care to be, and are frequently more interested in their particular "vision" being onstage, than whether a costume is appropriate for the ballet or the dancer. As the twentieth century progressed, the spirit world seems to have had a fabric shortage...

For Giselle, I think they should be very long....again it is a question of proper fit and proportion. Certainly every ballet company cannot have a new costume for every dancer, but for Giselle, my personal aesthetic dictates that they should hit about 2-3" above the top of the ankle, certainly no lower. Sylphs can be slightly shorter, bottom of the calf, but no shorter than that.........

The lighter the skirt, the more otherworldly the character, I feel. Humans can wear below the knee tutus, but not sylphs or wilis....

Romantic tutus, in a ballet such as Coppelia, first act Giselle, first act Swan Lake, or anything using character dances in a ballet setting can be shorter: below the knee, just before the calf muscle widens. Frequently, these skirts are done in a variety of fabrics and great care must be taken with proportion so the dancers' legs do not look chunky. Thickness of fabric, aount of gathering, types and layers of colours used are all important considerations.

(I will stop now, before this heads into the "more than you ever wanted to know" category!)

#3 glebb

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Posted 19 November 2001 - 11:14 AM

Thanks for the info Juliet.

It's hard for me to imagine that a designer would not want to make the production look as true to the period as possible, except if the choreographer was doing a real departure version.

I'm involved in a production of Nutcracker that takes place in Victorian America. All details are taken from the period: costumes, hairstyles, sets, toys etc. Even the choreography nods to the styles of the era. In Act I the party guest parents dance a Virginia Reel.

#4 Juliet

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Posted 19 November 2001 - 09:24 PM

Maybe hard to believe, but one trip down the miles of racks of all those knee-length tutus in the world.........

Although I don't think tutu length is as objectionable as Giselle whacking her leg up skyward........

I like period Nutcrackers, though, for first act.....I've always enjoyed seeing what designers come up with....

#5 LMCtech

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Posted 20 November 2001 - 01:50 PM

That's one of the things I like about Mark Morris' Hard Nut. Period costumes in Act I. Just not the period we generally think of.


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