When I was ten years old, I was a ballet student in a small community ballet studio. For a large part of the year, a section of classroom time was devoted to learning the part that I was to play in the yearly recital. I was going to be a spring flower.
The students were able to purchase small 45 records at the studio to take home and play on our record players. This was circa 1970 and records were very popular. I practiced my spring flower routine over and over again and looked forward to getting my spring flower costume.
The costumes were chosen by the teacher who looked at the students and decided if the student was small, medium, or large. No measurements were ever taken!
When I received my lime green spring flower costume I was thrilled! That was, until I tried it on. The bodice section of the costume was made with row after row of elastic ruching. Sequins covered the entire surface of the bodice. The bodice length was too short for my long torso, so as I tried to pull the bodice further up on my chest, sequins began popping off and raining down onto the floor. The tutu skirt was pitifully thin and droopy with only a few layers of very poor quality tulle.
The recital went on as planned, and I danced the role of a very wilted and sad-looking spring flower. My costume disintegrated not long after that. I was too young to know anything about custom-made tutus back then, but what a difference a costume made just for my body measurements would have made!
Going on stage to give a ballet performance can be very nerve-racking. Having a professionally designed costume that fits perfectly and looks beautiful lets the dancer focus completely on the one thing that matters most; her dancing.