Tutu Étoile History
Tutu Étoile and MensBalletCostumes.com began from the passionate love of all things dance. As a small child, I dreamt of the beautiful costumes that I would wear as a dancer. I began my dance training at the age of 6 in the Checchetti technique. I found myself quickly becoming one of the youngest to graduate from the highest level offered in the 1970's. Due to the strict body type requirements of the time, I opted to continue my dance training with my focus moving toward modern dance and classical jazz. Knowing what I wanted to do in life, I left high school early to continue my training at the prestigious California Institute of the Arts on full scholarship at the age of 16.
Cal Arts is where I got my first taste of costuming for dance. With having some basic sewing skills, I spent most of my free time in the costume shop soaking up as much information as I could from the renowned Martha Ferrera who was on faculty and running the costume shop at that time. Soon after graduation, I was contracted to dance and assist in magic for David Copperfield. This is where I began my professional costuming career. I first designed and built costumes for the live stage show and then continued with his television specials, all while under contract as a dancer.
After a forced retirement due to injury, I had the fortune to begin work in Houston Ballet's costume shop. This is where I honed my dance costume making skills. One day while working on the white and black lead swans in Ben Stevensen's production of Swan Lake, one of the principal dancers came into the shop, sat down beside me and asked, "Why isn't there a company that offers high quality rehearsal tutus"? And so the wheels began turning!
My initial intention was to exclusively offer rehearsal tutus. However, soon after launching the company we very quickly realized there was a large requirement for custom undecorated and decorated costumes. The addition of costume pieces quickly happened within our first year.
The name Tutu Étoile came about in our first photo shoot at Houston Ballet's studio. While photographing Principal dancer's Barbara Bears and Mirielle Hassenbohler, we chatted about my vision for the company and I expressed needing to decide upon a name. Barbara, suggested that I use the word Etoile and explained that the term Etoile is used at the Paris Opera as the title for their principle dancers. The English translation of “Etoile” means, "Star".
Our official launch date was 1998, and over the past years we have enjoyed working with companies such as Moscow Ballet, Boston Ballet, Carolina Ballet, Glorya Kaufman School of Dance (USC), California Inst. of the Arts, Benjamin Millipied’s Los Angeles Dance Project and creating rehearsal tutus for principal dancers Wendy Whelan (NY City Ballet) and Sarah Webb (Houston Ballet). Additionally, we created the costumes for the movie, “Red Sparrow’. Costume designer Trish Summerville.
We are now pleased to offer a wider selection of Mens Ballet Costumes. This unique website allows our clients an Ala Carte experience to create a wider variety of styles.
Today we continue to have the pleasure of working with dance companies’ large and small, worldwide. Also, our costumes are created for individual dancers for guest appearances and competitions including the Youth America Grande Prix.
We pride ourselves in designing and constructing beautiful one-of-a-kind costumes that hold the highest quality in standards and last decades.