All about tutus

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Alexandra Ansanelli wearing a pancake tutu

A tutu is a skirt worn as a costume in a ballet performance, often with attached bodice. It consists of a basque (or waistband, as it can either be part of the bodice or a separate band) and the skirt itself might be single layer, hanging down, or multiple layers starched and jutting out. The bell-shaped Romantic dress of the mid-1800s gave way to the tutu at the end of the 19th century. Connoisseurs of ballet, the Russians wanted to see the new technical feats and fancy footwork of their ballerinas. The new long, floppy, 16 layer tutus reached to the knee and allowed the female dancers much greater mobility in such technically demanding ballets as Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and Paquita.


Anna Pavlova in Giselle, wearing a Romantic Tutu 

Edgar Degas, Classical Bell Tutus in "The Dance Class" by Degas, 1874 

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