Wardrobe: Types of Tutus

I am sure you have realized, but PNB is honored to have one of the best Wardrobe Departments in the business. Each morning I pass by the Costume Shop. I am fascinated to see the repairs and constructions for the upcoming PNB performances.

At the beginning of the season when I first joined PNB, the Costume Shop was in the midst of constructing Ian Falconer’s designs for the new George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®. {View Post} The Department had expanded to every available inch of space in the Phelps Center to make the new production as lavish and incredible as it was designed to be.

I wanted to learn more about the different styles of tutus, so I have asked Larae Theige Hascall, Costume Shop Manager to give me her insight.

Tutu Anatomy. Credit: Offbeatballerina.com
Tutu Anatomy.

 

Classical Tutu

  • Short & stiff skirts
  • Designed to show the ballerina’s legs
  • Three variations on styles

Diamond Tutu

The Bell-Shaped Tutu sticks out loosely from a dancer’s hips, but does not use a wired hoop. Sometimes a Pancake tutu is ‘tacked’ so that it takes on more of a bell shape

Examples: George Balanchine’s Divertimento #15 or Marius Petipa’s Paquita

PNB dancers in George Balanchine's Divertimento #15. Photo by Angela Sterling.
PNB dancers in George Balanchine’s Divertimento #15. Photo by Angela Sterling.

 

 

Pancake Tutu

The Pancake Tutu has a short, stiff skirt that has a wired hoop to keep it’s shape.

Examples: George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® (Sugar Plum) or Kiyon Gaines’ Sum Stravinsky

Benjamin Griffiths and Leta Biasucci in George Balanchine/Ian Falconer's The Nutcracker. Photo by Angela Sterling.
Benjamin Griffiths and Leta Biasucci in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. (c) Angela Sterling.

 

Maria Chapman in Kiyon Gaines' Sum Stravinsky. Photo by Angela Sterling.
Maria Chapman in Kiyon Gaines’ Sum Stravinsky. (c) Angela Sterling.

 

 

Powder Puff Tutu

The Powder Puff Tutu is a short skirt, but does not use a wired hoop for a softer, fuller appearance.

Examples: George Balanchine’s Western Symphony or Diamonds

Carla Körbes and Batkhurel Bold in George Balanchine's Diamonds. (c) Angela Sterling.
Carla Körbes and Batkhurel Bold in George Balanchine’s Diamonds. (c) Angela Sterling.

 

 

Romantic Tutu

  • Length between knee & ankle
  • Emphasizes airiness

Examples: George Balanchine’s Emeralds & The Nutcracker (Waltz of the Flowers) & Coppelia (Swanhilda’s Friends), Kent Stowell’s Nutcracker (Sugar Plum)

Willian Lin-Yee and Elizabeth Murphy in George Balanchine's Emeralds. Photo by Angela Sterling.
Willian Lin-Yee and Elizabeth Murphy in George Balanchine’s Emeralds. (c) Angela Sterling.
PND Dancers in George Balanchine's Coppélia. Photo by Angela Sterling.
PND Dancers in George Balanchine’s Coppélia. (c) Angela Sterling.
PNB Dancers in Waltz of the Flowers in George Balanchine/Ian Falconer's The Nutcracker. Photo by Angela Sterling.
PNB Dancers in Waltz of the Flowers in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. (c) Angela Sterling.

 

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