Monday, 10 October 2011

Tutu Dreams

Today's post is inspired by my wonderful friend, N, and a truly adorable photo of her when she was tiny (well, when I say tiny, I mean very young, as she is still a very petite grown up!) - apparently she had to wear a tutu for her ballet exams. I love this photo because she looks so proud of herself, so balletic and also because she looks so much like her daughter (who is in the ballet class that I help with. In fact so much so, I had to double check who it was!)
N in her Tutu as a child. I am so retrospectively jealous!
When I was little, the only thing I wanted more than to be a 'real' ballerina was to wear a 'real' tutu. I dreamed of tutus, I imagined that, simply by wearing one, I would be transported into a land of sugarplums and pirouettes. Sadly, I went to a very strict and serious RAD ballet school, where the focus was on getting girls (for we pretty much all were girls) through their RAD grades so they could start pre-vocational/ vocational training. The closest I came to wearing a tutu in all the years that I attended the school was wearing a little cotton broderie anglaise dress for my primary exam. I can't even show you a picture so you'll just have to trust me on this - it was no tutu, much to my disappointment.

There's nothing quite as balletic as a white tutu, right?
(image courtesy of
Even now, I still harbour a longing to wear a tutu, and sometimes even wonder if I did ever actually have occasion to wear one whether all my ballerina dreams would come true in an instant. My fear is that if it did happen, perhaps I would have no reason to carry on dancing, for my very 'raison-d'etre' as a dancer would be utterly fulfilled. I think now, as a grown up, my preference would be for a romantic rather than a 'plate'/ classic tutu, but actually, I really don't think it would matter, since I'd be so excited that you'd have to restrain me to stop me from dancing!

What is it, I wonder, that makes tutus so alluring to the little girl in all of us? Ballerinas (professional ones, that is) say they are often uncomfortable and restricting, but I think, to me, they are the very essence of being a ballerina, and I don't think I'll ever stop dreaming of the day I get to wear one!


  1. So sweet! I remember the first time putting on a tutu and almost crying. Such a magical moment for any dancer!

  2. You've hit the nail on the head. They're always portraid as the very essence of being a ballerina, so of course all amateur ballerinas dream of wearing one.

  3. YES! I dream of wearing a tutu, as well. I even ordered a cheap one off ebay, but it just wasn't the same. I dream of the day I can wear one for an actual performance! :) LOVE this post!

  4. Hmmmm. Well, I can say that the vast majority of professional dancers don't harbour any desire to wear a tutu because it's so rare that they are comfortable and because it takes a whole new level of training to dance without being able to see your legs (and to not go on -stage with your legwarmers still on) etc,.

    But a performance tutu, properly made, is a couture garment and beautiful. I can see why the look of them makes aspiring dancers misty-eyed, but as ever the reality is a bit different! Needless to say, I've written about it at length and when you see what the tutus are made of (a tutu is the skirt only, not the bodice) and how few people make them because it's hard manual work with very rough materials, it's something of an eye-opener!

  5. i still get excited when i get a new tutu!