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KathyKat

Tutu shape questions.

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While watching (actually re-watching) a favorite YouTube video from 2013 of the Sleeping Beauty fairies with Yulia  Stepanova, Xenia Ostreikovskaya, et. al. , I noticed the different shapes of the tutus or the way hang on each of the dancers. For instance while Stepanova’s tutu had a nice disc or “satellite “ shape, others, particularly the one worn by Tatiana Tiliguzova had what seemed to me an odd droop in front almost to the point of making a saddle shape. Just wondering why this would be. Would this be up to the dancers themselves or the costume personnel?  I see this a lot on different videos and it just seems so strange that some tutus are more symmetrical and others are floppy. Does anyone else find this peculiar or have any possible explanation?

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20 hours ago, KathyKat said:

While watching (actually re-watching) a favorite YouTube video from 2013 of the Sleeping Beauty fairies with Yulia  Stepanova, Xenia Ostreikovskaya, et. al. , I noticed the different shapes of the tutus or the way hang on each of the dancers. For instance while Stepanova’s tutu had a nice disc or “satellite “ shape, others, particularly the one worn by Tatiana Tiliguzova had what seemed to me an odd droop in front almost to the point of making a saddle shape. Just wondering why this would be. Would this be up to the dancers themselves or the costume personnel?  I see this a lot on different videos and it just seems so strange that some tutus are more symmetrical and others are floppy. Does anyone else find this peculiar or have any possible explanation?

I'm no dancer, but I believe the answer to your question is the tutu's age and shape. The "pancake" tutu's front tends to droop after years of usage, particularly if they are big, low waisted and bouncy. Those other types made of crispy layers of tulle, up high in the ballerina's torso, and so favored by the Soviets back in the days are a totally different story, as well as the bell shaped "new-old" ones we see in the recent reconstructions.

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A dumb question, perhaps: when did the shift away from the knee-length tutus we see in various reconstructions to the short, flat "pancake" tutus happen and where? 

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On 8/18/2019 at 6:21 PM, California said:

A dumb question, perhaps: when did the shift away from the knee-length tutus we see in various reconstructions to the short, flat "pancake" tutus happen and where? 

I think the Classical Tutu was a 20th century development. And the Classical Tutu apparently comes in Bell or Pancake forms, and the Pancake Tutu can refer to at least 3 different sub-styles: the Pancake tutu, the Platter tutu and the Karinska/Balanchine/Powder-puff tutu (created for Symphony in C ballet ). It's all about the construction.

I'm not sure when the pancake was designed/invented - if there was a particular ballet associated with it. It would be fascinating to know...

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Posted (edited)

I believe the key is the introduction of the wiring vs the older usage of multiple crinoline layers under the outer skirt-(a la Raymonda/Coppelia/Paquita reconstructions).

The wiring completely changes the whole concept .

 

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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Oooh, hadn't seen that video before -- thanks!  Part of the issue was about modesty -- the Russian royal family was pretty conservative when it came to costuming, and you don't necessarily bite the hand that feeds you.  In her memoir "Theater Street," Karsavina talks about undergarments and some of the changes that occurred when she traveled to Europe with Diaghilev.

On 8/17/2019 at 8:52 PM, KathyKat said:

While watching (actually re-watching) a favorite YouTube video ...

Oh, you're not alone.

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3 hours ago, sandik said:

Part of the issue was about modesty -- the Russian royal family was pretty conservative when it came to costuming, and you don't necessarily bite the hand that feeds you.  In her memoir "Theater Street," Karsavina talks about undergarments and some of the changes that occurred when she traveled to Europe with Diaghilev.

When Ratmansky was staging the reconstruction of The Sleeping Beauty, he said in an interview (or was it at one of the Friends' open rehearsals?): you never show the Czar your crotch -- his way of explaining the knee-length tutus as well as the prominence of 90 degree extensions. If you look back at old film of Russian dancers, the men are wearing modesty shorts in performance, well into the 50s. 

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There seems to have been a switch during the turn of the century in Russia in the shape, from the bell shaped skirts with crinolines of Tsarist era to a very high waisted busy version of the powderpuff, seen by the likes of Dudinskaya in her pics of Raymonda or Semionova as Odette. Still...it looks as this early powderpuff versions still don't use the very complicated wired design that makes a completely different skirt, very flat and bouncy.  I don't believe Diaguilev era designs include any of those yet, although a bit of a wiring might had been introduced in the bottom of some skirts, as in Petrouschka's ballerina or Karsavina's Firebird. By the time the troupes of de Basil, Massine and early Balanchine in America, I can see flat tutus already in use.

 

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Posted (edited)

I've been poking about to try to find some early pancake tutu references, but haven't been very successful.

Wherever the pancake tutu originated, it likely wasn't with the Ballet Russes or Balanchine. I can't recall any examples of Balanchine ballets that use pancake-type tutus - only instances of the powder-puff tutu developed by Karinska and Balanchine, and even the classical tutu used by many companies for Diamonds looks to me to be a  powder-puff tutu as designed by Karinska.

Maria Tallchief danced the role of Sanguinic in the early version of The Four Temperaments:
https://nycdancestuff.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/tallchief-2.jpg

Maria Tallchief in one of the early Firebird tutus (this version looks like a pancake tutu):
https://media.gettyimages.com/photos/maria-tallchief-in-the-firebird-1960-picture-id588458867?s=2048x2048

Tanaquil Le Clercq and Jerome Robbins in Bourrée Fantasque, 1949:
http://cinephil.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/TL0526.jpg

Tanaquil Le Clercq in Balanchine's Jeux D'Enfants, 1955 (this could be considered a pancake tutu):
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/00/55/b0/0055b0d2b9a7f16560d028a6252a8b4c.jpg

Melissa Hayden in Stars and Stripes costume (a possible pancake tutu):
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/New_York_City_Ballet_in_Amsterdam%2C_repetitie_New_York_City_Ballet._Choreograaf_George_Balanchine_geeft_aanwijzingen.jpg

Suzanne Farrel in Symphony in C costume:
https://images.nypl.org/index.php?id=swope_782011&t=w

Jewels tutus, 1967:
https://blogpnborg.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/balanchine-paul-verdy-mcbride-farrell-cr-edwardpfizenmaier.jpg

Edited by pherank

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I prefer the powder-puff tutu.  I think NYCB's "new" Symphony in C tutus are awful (too big and somewhat floppy.)  

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Posted (edited)

There are definitely tsarist era early versions of our actual "pancake tutu", and they are certainly not soft skirts with crinolines.  Still, I can't really tell how much, if any, wiring is involved on them. They look pretty stiff and crispy.

Kshessinskaya in "Le Talisman"

Image result for kshesinskaya le talisman

 

Legnani and Preobrajenska in Le Corsaire

Image result for legnani le corsaire

Pavlova in her signature swan role. Here I think more traces of the complicated pancake tutu form can be seen.

Image result for pavlova swan

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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Here's an early version of what looks like a pancake tutu:

3d494f9f0c27439da1a85f0e66325683.jpg

 

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1 hour ago, canbelto said:

Here's an early version of what looks like a pancake tutu:

3d494f9f0c27439da1a85f0e66325683.jpg

 

That one looks more like a simpler version of the busy powderpuff tutu.

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Posted (edited)

The history of the Firebird via costume. Note: I mix the Fokine and Balanchine versions because they are so clearly derived from the same DNA.

Tamara Karsavina's original feathery concoction:

10854980836_4a1413bfd8_b.jpg

Irina Baronova's shorter bell-shaped tutu:

tumblr_mujf2iieCk1r616oeo1_400.jpg

Margot Fonteyn's pancake tutu:

74c8909959db7d0b1bac126e9a281a9b.jpg

Maria Tallchief's powder puff tutu:

4cc6ac48efccc647730bd1827e17bbd5.jpg

 

Gelsey Kirkland's return to a semblance of the feathery Karsavina concoction:

6cb923c5bac13a101ee4d8d2d2f479a3.jpg

Teresa Reichlen's return to the red powder puff, although with a longer skirt and less puff:

Firebird-c42681-8_Reichlen_NCrop.jpg?cb=

Meanwhile at the Mariinsky the Firebird with the pancake tutu:

14763833366_8a5b9a787a_b.jpg

Although at the Bolshoi they go for more of a platter tutu:

d2002f6a7bbc57eb00bdbbbd8ccee9c7.jpg

Edited by canbelto

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