Ballerina Tutus

Written by Jill Morrison
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Ballerina tutus are classic costume pieces for ballerina dancers. The original design of the tutu was short and stiff. It was presented in 1876 for the ballet Swan Lake. Today, tutus are made in a variety of lengths, colors, and materials. Each style allows for a different range of movement and for a focus on specific parts of the ballerina body.

Types of Ballerina Tutus

The short, classical tutu is the most recognizable style of all ballerina tutus. This style allows for freer leg movement and for arm movement that is farther and higher from the body. With the development of synthetic stretch fabrics, classical tutus became easier to work with and floor work became an acceptable type of movement. This material also allowed for emphasis on shape and line through ballerina costuming.

Calf-length tulle skirts are romantic styles of ballerina tutus and they are also known as Juliet skirts. This style draws attention to the ankles and feet. These skirts are commonly worn by ballerinas on pointe because the feet are emphasized. Calf-length tulle skirts flare with leg movements such as the arabesque and catch the air with ballet jumps.

The romantic style of tutu was shortened for music hall dancers. This drew more attention to the bloomers and ruffled underside of the skirt, rather than the tutu itself. Today, tutus are worn by children and dance students, rather than only in professional productions. Tutus can be made from chiffon, nylon, matte Lycra, organdy, tulle, and other materials. They may also have accents such as lines of sequins or metallic patterns.


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