Tulle Makes Everything Prettier

Get an Up-Close Look at the Ballet's Most Treasured Tutus

The "From Stitch to Stage" exhibit gives Houston Ballet-goers a chance to revel at seven of the most fabulous costumes.

By Abby Ledoux February 26, 2018

Coppelia  giselle  divergence photo by claire mcadams zihrcn

Houston Ballet tutus on display in "From Stitch to Stage" include, from left: Coppélia, Giselle, and Divergence costumes.

As a childhood ballerina, half the appeal of my chosen craft was the tutu. The ability to plié, jeté, and, most importantly, twirl across the slick, hardwood floor of my dance studio in a tulle skirt never lost its thrill. Plus, the older—and better—you got, the more beautiful your garments became. Principal dancers dazzled in tutus both classical (short, stiff layers of tulle fanning like a crown from the hip) and romantic (full, bell-shaped, skirts deserving of their name).

Giselle 3 photo by claire mcadams uimjjp

I abandoned my ballerina dreams more than a decade ago, but my love of the tutu lives on. I even have a full, black tulle skirt to be worn Carrie Bradshaw-style on special occasions.

If you, too, find yourself mesmerized by the romantic ruffles and cascading layers of costumed dancers, you'll be pleased to learn of a new exhibit from the Houston Ballet on display in the Resilience Theater lobby at the George R. Brown Convention Center from March 1–4.

Giselle 2 photo by claire mcadams mur15e

The Giselle tutu.

"Tutus: From Stitch to Stage" offer audiences of the Ballet's Rock, Roll & Tutus performances an up-close look at seven famous costumes. Featured tutus include:

  • Coppélia tutu: A colorful, classical, hand-painted tutu by legendary British costume designer Desmond Heeley, which has been with the Houston Ballet since 1992.
    Coppelia 2 photo by claire mcadams wawp6u

    The Coppélia tutu.

  • Giselle tutu: An iconic, romantic tutu by Italian designer Roberta Guidi di Bagno that appeared on the Houston Ballet stage in 2016.
  • Divergence tutu: An industrial-strength, contemporary take on the classical tutu designed for its 2004 Houston Ballet debut by Vanessa Leyonhjelm.
  • Sleeping Beauty tutu: Heeley's dramatic, eye-catching design for the classic ballet.
  • The Nutcracker tutus: Several costumes from the Christmas classic by acclaimed British designer Tim Goodchild.
  • Don Quixote tutu: A preview of the costumes, designed by Judanna Lynn, that will be used in the Ballet's production of Don Quixote this season.
  • Swan Lake tutu: Kristian Fredrikson's elegant creation will be used in one of the most famous ballets.

See the treasured tutus for yourself—plus an educational display of a tutu deconstruction—when the Ballet brings Rock, Roll & Tutus to the Resilience Theater, March 1–4. Tickets start at $39.

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