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AnnaPavlovaAsGiselle

Anna Pavlova in Giselle, wearing a Romantic 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, 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. The late George Balanchine's athletic choreography later led to the creation of the shorter "powder-puff" tutu that is worn in Symphony in C. These tutus allow the entire leg to be seen.

In particular, the Romantic Tutu is a three-quarter length, bell-shaped skirt made of tulle. The hemline falls between the knee and the ankle. The romantic tutu is free flowing to emphasise lightness, to suit the ethereal quality of the romantic ballets such as Giselle or La Sylphide. It is said to have been invented, or at least popularized, by Marie Taglioni, first in 1832 in La Sylphide. There are two types of romantic tutus-one that starts at the waist and one with a dropped waist and basque called a romantic tutu with basque.

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