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Theatre costume

  • Place of origin:

    New York, United States (made)

  • Date:

    1966 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Karinska, Barbara, born 1886 - died 1983 (costume designers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    [Theatre costume] Silk, elastic, organza, Russian braid, gold braid, artificial jewels and gauze
    [Theatre costume] Lacquered woven horsehair, plastic and artificial jewels

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Cecil Beaton

  • Museum number:

    S.387 to B-1985

  • Gallery location:

    Theatre & Performance, room 103, case 1, shelf A

  • Image in copyright

With its tight fitting, low-cut, sleeveless bodice and horizontal skirt sticking out from the hips, the ballet tutu is the iconic costume for the ballerina. Designers, however, have often conjured up costumes which stretch the boundaries of the conventions. This costume for George Balanchine's ballet Bugaku, designed and made by Barbara Karinska, retains the overall traditions while adding enough reference, especially in the lacquered wig and kimono sleeves, to link it to the overall Japanese theme.

Most tutu skirts are composed of layers of net, but for Bugaku, Karinska devised a skirt of linked 'petals', each the depth of the skirt and highlighted by a rhinestone. The overall effect is much harder than the traditional tutu but is in keeping with the intellectually rigorous Balanchine choreography. The costume was worn in the wedding scene of the ballet with a long, diaphanous cloak; for the second scene, the tutu was removed to reveal the briefest of bikinis.

Physical description

[Theatre costume] Classical tutu. Boned strapless bodice of shell pink wild silk supported by flesh coloured elastic over the shoulders. Attached to the elastic at the top of the shoulders are pale pink fine organza kimono sleeves bordered with bold lurex Russia braid. The top of the bodice is edged with narrow gold braid studded with small brilliants, which continues over the elastic straps and the top edges of the sleeves and the back edge of the bodice. Vertical bands of the same braid cover the seams down each breast and centre front and back side seams. The top edge of the bodice is trimmed with small artificial pale pink flowers and brilliants. At the hip line, the bodice finishes between each seam in a point, accented with a cluster of three brilliants. From immediately under the bodice and over the top skirt of the tutu is a narrow sunray-pleated frill of gold gauze. The skirt is of three layers of double silk - the innermost of deep sugar pink and paler pink has a serrated edge and inserted hoop support. The two top layers are formed of individual centre-seamed petals, the upper layer of sugar pink shot ivory silk, the lower, wider skirt, of shell pink. The point of each petal and the join between each petal on the upper layer defined by a diamond brilliant.
[Theatre costume] Japanese style female wig of heavily lacquered black woven horsehair cloth trimmed with various small ornaments and two hairpins.
[Theatre costume] Pair of pale pink-white tights

Place of Origin

New York, United States (made)

Date

1966 (made)

Artist/maker

Karinska, Barbara, born 1886 - died 1983 (costume designers)

Materials and Techniques

[Theatre costume] Silk, elastic, organza, Russian braid, gold braid, artificial jewels and gauze
[Theatre costume] Lacquered woven horsehair, plastic and artificial jewels

Dimensions

[Theatre costume] Height: 44 cm bodice
[Theatre costume] Height: 26 cm, Width: 24 cm, Depth: 27 cm

Object history note

Costume for the leading female dancer worn by Suzanne Farrell in George Balanchine's ballet Bugaku, first performed by the New York City Ballet at the City Center of Music and Drama, New York on 20 March 1963. The costumes were designed by Karinska.
Allegra Kent created the leading role and Suzanne Farrell, whose name appears in part of the cosutme, danced the lead in 1966.

Descriptive line

Costume for the leading female dancer in George Balanchine's ballet Bugaku, New York City Ballet, 1966.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

New York City Ballet by Peter Williams, John Percival, and Noel Goodwin. Article in Dance & Dancers, London, June 1963, pp. 16-19.
Spotlight: Four Centuries of Ballet Costume, A Tribute to The Royal Ballet (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1981), pp.76-77

Exhibition History

Theatre and Performance (Victoria and Albert Museum, Galleries 103 -106 01/01/2009-31/12/2009)
Spotlight, Four Centuries of Ballet Costume: A Tribute to The Royal Ballet (Victoria and Albert Museum 08/04/1981-26/07/1981)
Spotlight, Four Centuries of Ballet Costume: A Tribute to The Royal Ballet (Victoria and Albert Museum 08/04/1981-26/07/1981)

Materials

Silk (textile); Plastic; Nylon; Elastic; Gauze; Organza; Gold braid; Horsehair; Artificial jewels; Russia braid

Techniques

Weaving; Sewing; Lacquering

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Stage costumes; Hats & headwear

Collection code

T&P

Qr_O105627
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