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Edgar Degas, Classical Bell Tutus in "The Dance Class" by Degas, 1874.)
Anna Pavlova in Giselle, wearing a Romantic Tutu
A brightly-coloured classical pancake tutu on a dress form.

A ballet tutu is a skirt worn as a costume in a ballet performance, often with attached bodice. It might be single layer, hanging down, or multiple layers starched and strutting out. It tends to add a floating motion when ballerinas dance in them.

Tutus are often wrap around skirts, fastened in the waist by ribbons sewn in its waist. They may also be attached to leotards, usually long armed. While romantic tutus and skirts are usually carried in regular clothes bags, the classical 'pancake' tutu requires a special round bag for protection and transport: folding it would ruin its shape and looks. Practice tutus (two/three layers of fabric) are seldom protected in a bag.

There are several types of ballet tutu:

  • Romantic Tutu: three quarter length bell shaped skirt made of tulle with a fitted bodice and sometimes sleeves. The hemline falls between the knee and the ankle. The romantic tutu is free flowing to emphasise lightness and ethereal quality of the romantic ballets such as Giselle or Les Sylphides. It is said to have been invented, or at least popularized, by Marie Taglioni.
  • Classical Tutu (bell): A short, stiff skirt made with layers of netting with a slight bell shape and fitted bodice. It extends outwards from the hips and does not use a wired hoop. It is usually longer than a classical (pancake) tutu. These are used in the famous ballet paintings by Degas.
  • Classical Tutu (pancake): A short, stiff skirt made with layers of netting that extends outwards (from the hips), and has a fitted bodice. The pancake style has more layers of net and uses a wire hoop and much hand tacking to keep the layers flat and stiff.
  • Balanchine/Karinska Tutu: also known as the "powder puff" is similar to the bell and pancake tutu with the exception that no hoops are used and there are fewer layers of netting. The skirt is loosely tacked to give a softer, fuller appearance. This style was designed originally for the ballet version of Georges Bizet's Symphony in C. It has gained an iconic reputation.
  • Platter Tutu: A tutu with a flat top that sticks straight out from the ballerina's waistline.


Tutus are usual made from the following materials:

External links

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