That would be an imaginary tutu, much like our imaginary audience behind the mirror. But it was the instruction given by our teacher in pointe class: you have to dance as if wearing a tutu! It is not just about attitude, regal carriage and all that ballerina cred. There is a practical reason. A short tutu shaped like a teacup, saucer or pancake (pick your prefered visual) can get in the way of your usual port de bras. And unless you want tutu to turn into an obstruction of dance, you have to move and hold those arms above the tutu-line. I had never given it much thought before, but the tutu is more than frilly decoration. It evolved from long to less to give freedom of movement and to show off the ballerina´s legs, but in the process it also shaped the way ballet is danced!
|Boston Ballet: Larissa Ponomarenko. Photo: Rosalie O' Connor.|
Imagine yourself dancing in a tutu.. I gotta tell you, for me it borders on the tutu much. If you look at it purely from a fashion do -pointe of view, powder-pink tights and short pancake skirts are more of a don´t, at least for a short and curvy grown-up woman like myself. And if you´re feeling butt-conscious, wearing a saucer tutu is akin to carrying a neon-sign arrow pointed at your booty! There is just not much in the way of derriere coverage. I prefer longer tutus like the corps in the picture is wearing. Pretty and flattering. That, however, would be missing the point of the exercise. Butts aside, I try my best not to dwell on it, especially as my tutu is all make-belief anyway.
You would think my imagination would allow me to wear my own design, but all I can "see" is Elisabeth Platel´s Grand Pas Classique tutu. It´s no wonder - since we started practicing parts of the GPC variation, I´ve watched Platel´s dancing on youtube about a 100 times. I´m hoping something will stick by osmosis alone. Oh, and did I mention our teacher told us to dance like a queen? At this point it was hard to keep a straight face, as I was still adjusting my port de bras to my invisible tutu.. But for once, I cast my inner sarcastic critic aside and held my head up high. Majestically and high above the tutu-line. ;)