It’s February 2, which means it’s time to celebrate an iconic fashion piece for dancers: the tutu! World Tutu Day takes place every year on February 2 and celebrates the classic ballerina costume and an opportunity to educate the public about ballet.
Want to learn more about this classic fashion staple for ballerinas? Keep reading!
History of the tutu
The tutu debuted in 1832 with a performance by the Paris Opera Ballet that rang in the Romantic era of ballet. The light fabrics used to create the tutu gave audience members the impression that the dancer was floating on stage. The tutu is named both for its layers of tulle and children’s affectionate name for “bottom.”
The tutu has changed a lot over the centuries but has the general shape of a fitted bodice with a large skirt. By the end of the 19th century, the tutu length was shortened to above the knee. This tutu change accommodated the new, challenging pointe work in ballet technique.
At the turn of the 20th century, the tutu was considered the “ballerina’s stage uniform,” regardless of her role. Designers continued playing with tutu shapes over the years to highlight dancers’ movements in new ways.
Today, tutus are often made with the intent that dancers will wear them for 20-30 years. However, they are very expensive to make, and more elaborate designs can cost up to $10,000, making tutu ballets expensive for dance companies. In addition, Tutu construction can take over 100 hours for more detailed tutus.
More than just a fashion piece, tutus serve as a physical reminder of how ballet has evolved over the centuries. The fashion piece is just as evergreen and iconic as the dance style and will likely continue to evolve as the style of dance does. So on this year’s World Tutu Day, join us in celebrating the impact ballet has had on our industry and the joy it has brought to dancers and audiences everywhere.