Jeunesse Classique Ballet – Snow Tutu Renewal

The Cause

Jeunesse Classique Ballet Society is a not for profit and charitable organization that promotes, preserves and presents full length classical ballet to audiences across Alberta. Our dancers come to us through open audition from dance school throughout Alberta. They range in age from as young as five to their mid-twenties. Most of the dancers use the performance experience to enhance their ballet education and to prepare them for the rigors of a career in dance or the performing arts.
As a ballet company that performs and tours extensively, we rely heavily on our stock of white classical tutus for many of our productions. In no production are they showcased more spectacularly that in the Nutcracker's Snow Scene. The Snow Queen introduces her Snowflakes as they dance for Clara and the Nutcracker Prince and she sends them on their magical journey to the Kingdom of the Sweets.
These tutus are the backbone of this scene and a classical white tutu is used in a wide variety of productions by changing out overlays and adding new decorations on the bodices to suit the scene and the production. Sometimes the tutus are 'quick-changed' from one scene to another within a production. In addition, our dancers are young pre-professional ballerinas who come in a variety of sizes and their sizes can change dramatically from the start of a season to the production date. Needless to say, our tutus undergo many transformations at the hands of our dedicated wardrobe volunteers. Some of our tutus are nearly two decades old and have been lovingly cared for and maintained to keep them in service this long. However, over time, fabrics have a tendency to stretch and yellow and the constant stress of performance and alteration causes the costumes to wear out and decay.
We are hoping to bring our snow tutus, the classical white tutu, the workhorse of the ballet company back to life. We are proposing to create 24 new classical tutus from scratch using traditional tutu making techniques coupled with contemporary fabrics that can better withstand the rigours of heavy use. We will be producing a video of their recreation with an eye to preserving this traditional and dying art of tutu construction. We hope to have these new snow tutus on stage for our 2017 production of the Nutcracker this fall to celebrate our 30th Anniversary.

Who Will it Benefit?

Dancers are able to perform at their peak knowing that they can rely on their costumes to move and flow with them as they create their artistry on stage. This confidence is clearly seen by our audiences and we consistently receive many positive comments on how visually stunning our costumes look on stage and how technically adept the dancers are in Snow scene from the Nutcracker. Our volunteers, who have tirelessly crafted over 500 wardrobe pieces in our extensive collection will benefit from first hand knowledge of the dying art of tutu making. The general public and students of the arts who view our video will gain an appreciation for the challenges in creating tutus, their history, their place in the world of ballet and gain an understanding of the details on how the classical white tutu, the workhorse of the ballet repertoire, is designed and built to withstand years of constant alteration, touring and performing,