Ballet Tutu Designers-Are There Enough To Go Around?

Ballet students and professional dancers know that the costume they wear makes all the difference in the world. Even those dancers who are accustomed to personal fittings and appointments with a designer may not realize the true scope of what goes on to get the costuming right. The larger the dance company, the more work is involved in coordinating the costumes. Somebody needs to know what they are doing.

Every Tutu Requires A Maker

Just as this classical tutu in shades of blue was skillfully crafted by Costume Creations, each tutu that has ever been produced has a maker. In the case of ballet costumes that must be made to order for a personal fit, there is a talented, experienced designer/ fitter in the background.

Will We Suffer A Shortage Of  Skilled Haute Couture Tutu Designers In The Near Future?

Many in the dance world go along taking for granted the traditional skills of all who dedicate their time and talent making ballet and theatrical costumes. However, after watching the video below made by the Royal Ballet Theatre, one comment really stuck with me.  Professional haute couture tutu makers may be a dying breed.

Creating Bespoke Classical Tutus- A Labour-Intensive Skill In A Fast-Paced World

Why are some professional, world-famous ballet theatres noticing the shortage of  those who know a thing or two about tutus?  Ballet is based on time-honoured traditions. It takes days to make one traditional paste pointe shoe by hand. It takes weeks to make an embellished costume of exquisite beauty. In today’s fast-paced world, many young people are not exposed to hobbies and creative endeavors that involve delayed gratification.

How many teenagers today sit down to a sewing machine and enjoy making their own clothing? The love of  creating a thing of immense beauty from a bolt of fabric with your own two hands begins at an early age.

Dancers even choose to apply their pointe shoe ribbons using  snaps instead of sewing them on because it’s faster. It is thought-provoking to think about where the next generation of ballet couture designers will come from.

The Royal Ballet Talks About The Shortage Of Tutu Designers

“Things of beauty take time and patience to create. As Rome was not built in a day, neither is the classical ballet tutu.”



  1. Thank you for your appreciation of this very complex art form. Ballet tutus are an integral part of the ballet and the choreography – the fit and line and look of the tutu is essential to the look of the ballerina. It requires a lot of patience and “love of ballet” to make a tutu as one tutu can take about 2 weeks to make.

  2. I found it interesting that they have to book tutu designers so far in advance. Without them, ballet performances wouldn’t be what they are today.

    Off the rack factory garments just don’t seem to work well for classical ballet. I wonder what the backstage costuming needs of big theatres will be in the year 2050???

  3. Thank you !!!!!!! It was such a pleasure to read your remarks about the art of building a professional tutu. As a tutu designer and maker I hear all the time about the “cost” and the lack of $$$ for dancers when parents will pay whatever it cost for a child to play a sport……I do not know what has happened to people who teach dance, own studios, and put on shows thaqt are sub par. The cheap costumes tell an audience just what someone thinks of their art. A beautiful costume on the right dancer for the right part is like a pure note of music.

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