Swan Lake, one of the best-known classical ballets of all time, has some of the most recognizable costumes in ballet history. Performed all over the world, the classical tutus featured in Swan Lake are fundamentally similar in structure. Royal Winnipeg Ballet's production features the design of acclaimed British costume designer, Peter Farmer, who has designed costumes for the likes of the Royal Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, and Chicago City Ballet.
Audiences have become familiar to the iconic, innocent white swan tutus of Odette, Queen of the Swans, and the black swan tutu of the temptress Odile, the evil Baron von Rothbart's daughter who bears a striking resemblance to Odette.
In total, there are 28 tutus in Royal Winnipeg Ballet's production of Swan Lake. These tutus date back to 1987 when the RWB first performed the full-length production. However, a quarter of century of wear and tear has taken its toll on these tutus. This year, in order to present Swan Lake for RWB's 75th anniversary, the RWB wardrobe department is replacing all 28 tutus.
Each tutu requires a great amount of detail work and is sewn by hand, layer by layer. One tutu takes approximately between 50 and 60 hours to create. The tutus are built to last for up to 25 years and each tutu costs between $1,800 and $2,000.
The new tutus are designed and built to fit the current dancers of RWB. Having a tutu built especially for you is an extremely special moment for a dancer. "It's one of the tutu for adult most memorable and special moments of my dance career so far," shares RWB corps de ballet Alanna McAdie.
You can help RWB dancers experience defining moments like McAdie's by donating to the RWB's Tutus in tutu for adults Bloom campaign, raising the $60,000 needed to replace all 28 tutus in Swan Lake. You can donate as little as $20 or you can also sponsor a whole tutu with a $2,000 donation -- this includes having your name sewn on a special label and will be attached to the tutu you are sponsoring. By making a donation, you will help RWB keep their tutus beautiful for many years to come.
If you wish to donate to RWB's Tutus in Bloom Campaign, please visit rwb.org/tutusinbloom.
Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Swan Lake runs from March 4 to 8 at the Centennial Concert Hall. For tickets and information, visit rwb.org.