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tutus forever

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This is about trends and the issue of correct costume in ballet.

To me, the tutu is the trademark of ballet and should continue to be the primary costume for the ballerina. I mention this because it seems that the trend is moving away from this garb and thus the ballet is losing its traditional trademark.

Moreover, the tutu is an essential element in choreography. If I was a choreographer I would insist on the tutu as the proper costume to express music. Without the tutu I would not be able to express two important aspects of music... one is "bounce" and the other is "shimmer". Light garb that falls flat does not bounce and cannot shimmer or quiver.

Sometimes I wonder if the choreographers realize what they lose when they allow modern garb to replace the tutu. Its a loss to move away from the tutu. It is loss of trademark and loss to choreography.

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However, some reference to the period in which a ballet was set in has a great influence over what sort of costume is to be worn. A Swan Queen in a "nightgown" costume just wouldn't do it, and a Giselle in a short tutu would be just as wrong, even though both have been essayed by designers. Romeo, having been set originally during a period of Marxist-Leninist Realism, would nearly demand an historically accurate Renaissance costume plot.

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Everyone to his taste.

This issue is too involved for me to address properly on this discusssion board, but I will submit, ronny, that while tutus are indeed beautiful and appropriate for many sorts of ballet, they are not for every piece.

The shape, construction, and design of the tutu has changed and evolved over the last century or so, and currently there are many different variations. There are many, many things to address when dressing a dancer and when designing a ballet---sometimes a tutu, of whatever length or design, is not the best choice.

I appreciate that you enjoy classical tutus, and hope that you will send lots of business my way!


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Hmm. Agon in tutus. Now THERE'S a thought. (Just seeing if Leigh is awake. :) )

Tutus have become a whipping boy, though, so I appreciate ronny's enthusiasm. "THESE dancers don't wear tutus, of course," is something that one reads from the "going beyond ballet" set. I'd like to see new ballets in tutus -- more business for Juliet, too :)

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It may be what you get used to. When Balanchine changed Ballet Imperial to the Piano Concerto No. 2, he ditched the formal tutus for flowing chifon. At first I missed the tutus, but eventually I got so used to seeing them that they became part of the movement of the ballet. In fact, the flowing costumes themselves became -- in their own way -- an part of the choreography. And when ABT did Ballet Imperial a few years ago and used their favorite "long stiff" tutu, I found I missed the flow that the chifon imparted. What a difference a costume makes in the feel of the ballet!!

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I always find it interesting when they do change the costumes, sometimes it does change the feel, although I think there's no hope for Martins J de Cartes!

like concerto barrocco done in black as opposed to white. or swan lake, black swans vs. white swans. granted, those are just color changes, but that has an affect to.

I'd second Alexandra's more ballets done in tutus. I like the natural line it creates, it's like dancers in their Sunday best.

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I like tutus best, as well.

The fancier, the better.

I am, however, exceedingly picky about type selected for the choreography, fit on the dancers, and overall design. There are an awful lot of *really* cheesy tutus out there......

However, the majority of female dancers will look better in a bad tutu than a good unitard.

Men look good in just about anything.;)

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I think the notion that "Classical Tutu = Ballet" is akin to the popular view that "Ballet = Swan Lake". The tutu is role specific and because the two best known ballets (Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty) have their stars clad in tutus, I believe this has lead to the notion that the tutu is a sort of ballerina's uniform.

Young dancers aspire to wear a tutu. It's very pretty and it's probably the very first costume they saw as tiny tots going to their first Sleeping Beauty. Every child's ballet book shows ballerina's in tutus. When they do get to wear their first tutu in performance, it is not the wearing of the tutu that has been achieved. The achievement is the ability to perform the role which requires the tutu as costume.

In my view the tutu is a costume like any other for dance. Along with setting, lighting, choreography and music, costume is an essential part of the choreographer's arsenal in creating mood and emotion in a performance. If the choreographer feels that a tutu is the most appropriate costume for the dance, then fine... A modern example is the tutus used in Divergence - I think they're superb! But I'm not going to miss tutus in new ballets if the choreographer doesn't want to use them.

Just thinking about it... ballets I've seen in the last six months which don't feature classical tutus: Spartacus, The Sentimental Bloke, Black Cake, Giselle, Subtle Sequence of Revelation, Catalyst, The Leaves are Fading, Marguerite and Armand, Tryst...

... Sorry ronny, I can honestly say that I didn't miss tutus at all! :)

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Actually, they worked pretty well. the piece has a formal yet asian quality to it. The costumes reflected that.

I'd like to address the above comment that every little dancer wants to wear a tutu. That is true. Then you wear one and discover it is one of the most uncomfortable things ever designed. The ITCH.

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