After the popular movie Black Swan came out in theaters across the country, interest in the fitting and designing of classical tutus took an upswing. The fashion designers responsible for creating the strapless classical tutu for the Black Swan role were interviewed by many newspapers and fashion magazines. The tutu Natalie Portman wore as the Black Swan was a “fashion forward” concept.
The Black Swan ballet costume made for this movie was created without straps. This leads to the question; do real ballerinas dance on stage wearing strapless classical ballet costumes?
The world of Hollywood and movie making can be incredibly far from the truths of real life. In the ballet world where a dancer needs as much security from her costume as possible, strapless tutus are a fantasy indeed.
Secure, well-placed straps on a ballerina’s costume are a must-have. If the dancer is to feel completely free on stage, she must be certain that her costume will stay in place during her performance.
Natalie Portman’s co-star in this film, Mila Kunis, can be quoted as saying this about strapless classical ballet costumes:
“You would never go and do ‘Swan Lake’ and wear a full-on swan outfit without having a strap to hold the outfit up.Given that it is in a movie and it is a certain form of disbelief. They had no straps. So, the busts kept constantly falling, you know. And so you make it work. You figure it out. But they were beautiful.”
Natalia Makarova As The Black Swan
When you watch this beautiful video of Makarova, can you imagine her doing something so physical in a strapless costume? As you can see, Makarova is secure in her movements on stage without having to worry about an accidental “exposure” to the audience.
Strapless ballet tutus are not the norm in the ballet world where a ballerina is truly an athlete. As ballet performances continue to demand more and more physicality from the dancer, secure straps will become even more important to ballet costume design than ever before.