okay. close your eyes. think about your favorite tutu that you have worn. for me, it was this costume (me in the pink):
i was a pretty snazzy stepsister, if i do say so myself.
pretty decked out, huh?
ANYWAY. Tutus are a very important part of ballet. Ballet is telling a story without using words, and costumes help us tell that story through theatricality. Many ballets requires specific costume for variations, the Sleeping Beauty ballet being one of them. The Bluebird variation requires a blue tutu with feather accents to insinuate bird-likeness, and Carabosse must wear dark clothing to signify evil. In Don Quixote, Kitri wears a Spanish tutu, usually red and black, to culturally match with the story.
There are many different kinds of tutus, such as Balanchine, Romantic, and classic Pancake.
Long and flowy, this ankle-length ballet skirt reflect it's time period. The tulle tutu is bell-shaped and free falling to emphasize lightness, and are in dark ballets such as Giselle and La Sylphide.
This short, flat skirt is very full at the top, yet stiff with wires and hand tacking near the bottom layers. This kind of ballet tutu is used in countless variations, including the Lilac Fairy, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and many other principal parts.
Bell tutus are one of the less common tutus, but are very popular at some old-fashioned dance companies. Slightly longer that a pancake, it is of the same construction but without wiring, kind of a cross between pancake and romantic. These tutus are often seen in paintings by Edgar Degas, as the one above.
(Middle) Originally designed for the ballet of George Bizet's Symphony in C by Barbara Karinska, the "powder-puff" was often used by George Balanchine to extenuate the long legs of his dancers. With a similar anatomy of the pancake tutu, the Balanchine tutu has less layers of tulle than the pancake tutu, and no wiring, giving a flowy, soft look that expresses the length of the dancer's legs.
Platters are almost exactly like pancake tutus, except they are completely flat and less full at the top. These tutus are often used for ballet class.
Just by researching this topic I learned so much! I hope that you expanded you knowledge on ballet apparel :)
If you liked this, see my post on Ballet Leotards.