How to Make a Ballet Tutu

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Ballet tutus have taken on a variety of different forms over the years. Learn the different styles of ballet tutus from a professional dancer in this free video on ballet.

Part of the Video Series: All About Ballet
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Video Transcript

Hi my name Sarah Shoemaker, and today we are going to talk about how to help get a tutu made. The materials you will need are really just a little bit of knowledge, and a person who is professionally trained in tutu making. The art of ballet goes back hundreds of years, and over the years tutus have taken on a variety of different forms. Early, early on tutus were actually ankle length, and dancing was done very conservatively where a lot of body parts were not really supposed to be shown. Of course through the years the skirts have gotten shorter and shorter to the point now where a classical ballet tutu is generally in the French style, which is almost straight out from the body showing the entire length of the leg. This is a style of tutu that was made for a production we did of the Ugly Duckling, although this was a swan. And this is a child's tutu, but it is a romantic style tutu in that it starts at the hip, and goes down about to the mid-calf. There's still several classical ballets that are done in production that use this type of tutu. Most commonly you might see this style of tutu in the Nutcracker usually for the waltz of the flowers, the cord de ballet of the flowers usually will wear romantic style tutu. The principle dancers are generally going to wear a French tutu, and this is a very sophisticated, and elaborate thing to make. Generally you need to find someone in your area who has made one before or who has been trained in how to make a tutu. It is a art form in and of itself, and to make a beautiful one takes an enormous amount of skill. It is made out of tulle, which is basically like a netting. And it has got layer upon layer upon layer on top of each other creating this stiff sticking out style of tutu. There is also a crotch part of the tutu, which is also generally made out of net, because you want it to be a breathable fabric. These things obviously can't be thrown into the washing machine to be laundered. This is also made out of tulle, but it is not as stiff of a tulle or of a netting, because it needs to have some fluidity, and some movement. Whereas this style tutu really needs to be stiff. This is also a French style tutu, but I purchased this one online. You can't tell from looking at it right now, but it actually when you put it on the body the layers of tulle do not lie flat. They actually end up sticking up, but it is created much the same way as the hand made one. You can see these separate layers of tulle. It is a stiff tulle all on top of each other, and it is attached to a basically like a trunk or a panty type effect. This one is made out of Lycra, but it is really preferable to have more of a breathable fabric or a net for that effect. So this is an example of a professionally made French tutu. It is handmade, and was done by one of the master drapers for the Boston ballet. And if you were to want a really high quality tutu you would want to go with someone who has a lot of experience, and has been trained in tutu making. So I would advise going to someone, calling your local professional ballet company, or someone nearby if you live in a small town that works with a professional ballet company, and they would be able to make a very high quality tutu that would last years and years. And that is how you get a tutu made.

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