It's the construction and history of these classic tutu styles that Clarke, costume designer and craftsman for ballet companies, film and television projects, author of six volumes on the subject and founding director of the Library of Costume and Design, will teach in three workshops at Melbourne's Kangan Institute from this month.
The Art of the Tutu is at Kangan Richmond campus, Melbourne:
- June 25 to 30 - Juponnage;
- July 6 to 14 - Russian Style;
- September 21 to 29 - English Style.
The earliest style, the Juponnage, he describes as ''long, flowing, almost a bridal look with an ethereal, floating quality.'' Its elegant composition of bodice, modesty bloomers and up to 16 layered skirts of mousseline or tulle, dominated ballets such as La Sylphide (1832) and Giselle (1841).
''Then, in the late 1870s, ballet changed, the tutu changed,'' Clarke says. The graceful, drifting movements of the Juponnage ceded to the demands of French choreographer Marius Petipa.
'''Petipa started mixing in the physicality of Italian and Russian folk dances,'' Clarke says. He demanded his company kick higher, thrust wider, dance faster.
The classic Russian and French tutus, increasingly shorter, tightly anchored by a second-skin basque and spring-coil boned corset, evolved, enabling dancers the freedom to perform Petipa's revolutionary repertoire.
Clarke illustrates the beauty of a perfect tutu. Ayane Otsuka, 18, wears a classic Russian style in black, red and gold net and lace. Clarke fluffs her stiff, almost horizontal tutu, showing how its net tiers narrow onto the carefully fitted knickers.
''This suits Paquita and its quick, sharp movements,'' he says. Meg Royle, 15, models Clarke's English style in cream and gold. Its tutu skirts are slightly flopped and belled and move with a softer, slower bounce as she dances. Finally, with a few impossibly graceful steps from Les Sylphides, Sarah Mitchell, 19, demonstrates that ethereal, floating effect Clarke described earlier, of an ice-blue Juponnage.
Video of tutu craft and classic styles with Adrian Clarke, Ayane Otsuka, Meg Royle and Sarah Mitchell.