The Tutus

Description

Tutus made by participants at Family Day Fest in Downsview Park and Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.

     

See the Tutu Project collections

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Legacy

 
A selection of National Ballet tutus featuring iconic costumes from some of the great moments in the company's history.
 

Community

 
Tutus decorated by community groups around special community themes.
 

Partner 

 
Innovative visions of the tutu by friends and supporters of the National Ballet.
 

Friends

 
Tutus reflecting on the company and looking ahead to the next 60 years created by alumni, staff and friends of the National Ballet.
 

Artists 

 
The tutu reimagined by members of Canada's community of artists.
 

Designers 

 
Couture interpretations of the classical tutu from members of Canada's fashion and design community.
     
  Return to the main Tutu Project overview page for more information on the project >  
   

Legacy

A selection of National Ballet tutus featuring iconic costumes from some of the great moments in the company's history.

 Italian Ballerina from Gala Performance - First Performed November 18, 1953. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

Italian Ballerina from Gala Performance – First Performed November 18, 1953. Designed by Kay Ambrose. 

This tutu was worn by Lois Smith, Canada’s first Prima Ballerina, who danced 17 seasons with the company and became its first star, performing nearly all the lead roles in the National Ballet’s repertoire. Anthony Tudor’s Gala Performance is a one-act parody of traditional ballet conventions showcasing the preparations for a gala and the performance itself at which three rival ballerinas compete for the audience’s approval. The production is more of an amusing theatrical piece rather than a truly balletic production and the costumes designed by Kay Ambrose after the original 1938 English version emphasize the parody with their over-the-top designs and grand decorations.

In 1954, Gala Performance was the first National Ballet of Canada production to be filmed by the CBC alongside the Pas de Trois from Swan Lake. This historic event marked a long relationship between the National Ballet and the CBC.  Televised performances allowed a wider audience exposure to ballet while the young company was establishing itself as a national institution in a geographically vast country.

 Kitri, Act III from Don Quixote - First Performed November 6, 1985. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

 

Kitri, Act III from Don Quixote – First Performed November 6, 1985. Designed by Desmond Heeley.  

The role of the spirited Kitri has been performed by some of the National Ballet’s most illustrious ballerinas including Karen Kain, Gizella Witkowsky and Sonia Rodriguez. A stylized adaptation of historical Spanish dress, this tutu has been interpreted to better reveal the dancer’s footwork, as with all classical tutus. Nicholas Beriozoff’s Don Quixote has become a favourite production for many in the company thanks to Former Artistic Director Erik Bruhn. Bruhn, who had an excellent international reputation when he was a dancer, is credited with successfully procuring Beriozoff’s choreography for the company in 1985.

The designs for Don Quixote are by celebrated international stage designer Desmond Heeley, most famous for his talent of creating wondrous, vibrant environments with the absence of obvious colour. Don Quixote’s sets and costumes are steeped in Iberian ambiance which exudes fantasy and accentuates the storybook nature of the ballet. The bold red of this tutu puts Kitri clearly in the forefront of the dance drama of her wedding depicted in the final Act.

 Princess Aurora, Act III from The Sleeping Beauty - First Performed September 1, 1972. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

Princess Aurora, Act III from The Sleeping Beauty - First Performed September 1, 1972. Designed by Nicholas Georgiadis. 

This design has been worn by some of the National Ballet’s most distinguished dancers including Veronica Tennant, Nadia Potts, Vanessa Harwood, Karen Kain and Chan Hon Goh. Choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev, The Sleeping Beauty features opulent designs by Nicholas Georgiadis. Georgiadis designed for a number of ballets, operas and theatres all over the world and is best known for his sumptuous period settings. The gold and silver encrusted sets and costumes for the National Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty reflect both the opulence of the 1890’s Imperial Russian Court, and the majesty of the court of Louis XIV.

Rudolf Nureyev, who had performed in every major company around the world and had given critically acclaimed performances of most of the male roles in the ballet canon, was considered ballet royalty. When he staged his Sleeping Beauty on the National Ballet the company had earned a faithful following in Canada but was little known internationally. Following a performance at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House which received rave reviews the position of The National Ballet of Canada as one of the best dance companies in the world was solidified.
 Spring Fairy, Act I from Cinderella - First Performed April 16, 1968. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

Spring Fairy, Act I from Cinderella - First Performed April 16, 1968. Designed by Jürgen Rose. 

Featuring some of the most unique costume designs found within the National Ballet’s repertoire, this tutu was worn by long-time Principal Dancer Mary Jago. Premiering in 1968, the National Ballet’s Cinderella was the first production of Cinderella in North America. Sadly, it was only performed a handful of times before a fire in the National Ballet’s wardrobe destroyed many of the costumes. This tutu was luckily spared and represents one of only a few original costumes from this production held in the National Ballet’s Archives.

Choreographed by Celia Franca, the production featured lavish costumes and sets designed by Jürgen Rose based on the theme of the four seasons. Rose is an internationally acclaimed German stage designer and has enjoyed an illustrious career in design for ballet, opera, and theatre around the world. In addition to her Fairy Godmother, Cinderella was visited by four fairies in costumes decorated with seasonal flora including roses for spring, poppies for summer, apples and pears for autumn and twigs for winter.
 Odile from Swan Lake - First Performed January 19, 1955. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

Odile from Swan Lake - First Performed January 19, 1955. Designed by Kay Ambrose. 

This important role has been performed by many leading National Ballet dancers, including Lois Smith, Irene Apiné and Angela Leigh, who were influential in the formative years of the company. The dual character of Odette/Odile, considered the test of a ‘true ballerina’, has always been considered one of the most psychologically and technically arduous roles in the classical ballet canon. Originally a black tutu with the sequined and gold details pictured here, the base of the bodice and skirt have faded to variegated shades of blue and purple after years of wearing, cleaning and aging. 

The National Ballet of Canada premiered its first four-act Swan Lake in 1955, with choreography after the original Russian masters Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov and featuring designs by Kay Ambrose. Unlike later National Ballet versions of Swan Lake, the production culminated in a happy ending and featured sets and costumes that emphasized the fairytale nature of the story. The ballet was not only the company’s first full-length Swan Lake but it was also the first full-length version to be presented in Canada. At the time only a few established European companies held a full-length version of the masterwork in their repertoire so it was a mark of what founding Artistic Director Celia Franca envisioned for the company that this production was undertaken so soon after its formation.
 Odile from Swan Lake - First Performed May 5, 1999. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

Odile from Swan Lake - First Performed May 5, 1999. Designed by Santo Loquasto. 

This tutu has been worn by many artists who have mastered the dual role of Odette/Odile including Chan Hon Goh, Jennifer Fournier and Greta Hodgkinson who created the role. Former Artistic Director James Kudelka’s Swan Lake features dynamic choreography which heightens the tension between the natural and the supernatural. This production restores the ballet to its full mythic power and traditional storyline while adapting it for a contemporary audience.

With striking designs by eminent set and costume designer Santo Loquasto, Kudelka’s Swan Lake explores gender roles and places male and female dancers on equal footing. The settings for the court scenes and the lakeside scenes are strongly contrasted: the court symbolizes patriarchy, masculinity and decay, while the lake represents a feminine space without rigid hierarchy. Loquasto and Kudelka consulted a number of sources for inspiration including Bram Dijkstas’ Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture which features symbolic images of dark and mysterious women. The design of the black swan Odile’s black tutu features an iridescent top layer reminiscent of an oil slick stain on a body of water.
 The Snow Queen from The Nutcracker - First Performed December 26, 1964. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

The Snow Queen from The Nutcracker - First Performed December 26, 1964. Designed by Jürgen Rose. 

This costume is one of the most frequently worn in the history of the National Ballet. The Nutcracker’s status as a perennial holiday favourite meant that nearly every female Principal Dancer with the National Ballet between 1964 and 1994 danced the role of the Snow Queen, including Lois Smith, Veronica Tennant and Nadia Potts, who danced the role while still a member of the Corps de Ballet.

The National Ballet of Canada premiered its famed production of The Nutcracker shortly after debuting at Toronto’s O’Keefe Centre (now the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts). It featured choreography by Founder Celia Franca after Marius Petipa and designs by internationally acclaimed stage designer Jürgen Rose. Rose’s designs incorporated the motif of multi-faceted diamonds and gemstones, a symbol for crystalline snowflakes and a reminder of the shimmer of the Christmas season. When this production first premiered it was the most expensive theatrical production in Canada, costing approximately $100,000, however the investment was worthwhile as it dazzled audiences for over 30 years.

 The Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker - First Performed December 12, 1995. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

The Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker - First Performed December 21, 1995. Designed by Santo Loquasto. 

This design has been worn by all of the company’s Principal Dancers since its debut including Martine Lamy who created the role, Sonia Rodriguez and Heather Ogden who made her debut while she was still in the Corps de Ballet. After a run of 30 years, Celia Franca’s beloved production was replaced in 1995 by James Kudelka’s The Nutcracker. The new production ushered in James Kudelka’s era as Artistic Director during which he re-thought many of the standards in the company’s repertoire, including The Nutcracker. 

The Nutcracker was a collaboration with world-renowned designer Santo Loquasto who has designed, in addition to ballet, over 60 Broadway productions and more than 40 films. Loquasto assisted Kudelka in transposing the ballet from its traditional 1880’s German setting to rural Russia in the 1830’s creating an air of opulence associated with the Imperial Russian Court. For her entrance, The Sugar Plum Fairy appears from within a giant Fabergé egg dressed in layers of candyfloss pink and glittering gold brocade, evoking a childhood jewellery box ballerina.

 Sylph from Les Sylphides - First performed November 12, 1951. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

Sylph from Les Sylphides - First performed November 12, 1951. Designed by James Pape. 

This production holds a special place in the company’s history as Les Sylphides was part of the company’s first-ever performance. Staged by the company’s founding Artistic Director Celia Franca with choreography by Michel Fokine and designs by James Pape, The National Ballet of Canada premiered Les Sylphides at Toronto’s Eaton Auditorium. At the time, the National Ballet was newly formed and had been rehearsing together only a brief few weeks. The lead role of a Sylph would have been danced by many of the National Ballet’s earliest members, ranging from Corps de Ballet members to Principal Dancers.

Les Sylphides is a mood ballet, or what is called a “ballet blanc”, which uses the ethereal image of the sylph to suggest a dream or fantasy world. Traditionally set in a woodland landscape, the National Ballet’s early Les Sylphides scenery featured a dappling of snow intended to make the production more “Canadian”. This costume is a typical romantic tutu that is free flowing and emphasizes the lightness of the dancer as she portrays one of several metaphysical muses to the lone male Poet character in the production.

 Wilis from Giselle - First Performed April 16, 1970. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

Wilis from Giselle - First Performed April 16, 1970. Designed by Desmond Heeley. 

As dancers typically get their start as Wilis in the Corps de Ballet, this tutu has been worn by many dancers with the National Ballet, even those who have gone on to become Principal Dancers. Two celebrated artists who have had the lengthiest careers in the history of the National Ballet are Lorna Geddes, who joined the company in 1959 and remains with the company today as Principal Character Artist, and Victoria Bertram, who joined the company in 1963 and danced for 47 years with the company, concluding her career as Principal Character Artist in 2010.

The National Ballet of Canada’s production of Giselle was choreographed by Sir Peter Wright and features designs by Desmond Heeley. Heeley is one of the most sought-after international stage designers, having designed for many major opera, theatre and ballet companies. The décor and costumes for the National Ballet’s production of Giselle exemplifies the intensely atmospheric settings that Heeley is known for. For many, Giselle is the quintessential Romantic ballet and while the title role has been called the ballerina’s Hamlet, the Corps members play an important role in the ballet, most notably in Act II. Following Giselle’s tragic demise she joins the Wilis, spirits of betrothed young women who after being betrayed by their lovers, die from grief. They wear disintegrating Victorian style wedding gowns trimmed with dying roses which have been soiled from years of haunting their woodland home.

The Firebird from The Firebird - First Performed November 10, 2000. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

 

The Firebird from The Firebird - First Performed November 10, 2000. Designed by Santo Loquasto. 

This tutu has been worn by Jennifer Fournier and Greta Hodgkinson, two of The National Ballet of Canada’s recent Principal Dancers.  Based on the Russian folk tale of the same name, The Firebird was a co-production with Houston Ballet and was choreographed by former National Ballet Artistic Director James Kudelka. The myth about Prince Ivan, the Firebird, the enchanted garden and grotesque attendant monsters of Kastchei the Deathless and his imprisoned princesses was the next in a series of collaborations between Kudelka and designer Santo Loquasto. The mythical landscape was inspired by the ancient civilizations of South America and featured lush golds and greens to create a glistening tropical paradise.  Ruins of Mayan statues were the inspiration for the elaborate headdresses while the elaborate face masks and colourful body paintings suggest traditional Incan cultures.

 Coppelia - Coppelia copy 1 

 

Swanilda from Coppélia - First performed October 22, 1952. Designed by Kay Ambrose. 

The National Ballet of Canada’s Archives holds only one tutu worn by National Ballet Founder Celia Franca in its costume collection. Franca was the firebrand that turned the fledgling dance troupe into an internationally celebrated company, performing as a Principal Dancer with the company from its inception until her retirement from the stage in 1959, and leading the company as Artistic Director until 1976. Franca choreographed many of the early productions herself based on the versions she had danced with Sadler's Wells Ballet in England prior to her arrival in Canada. Her impeccable memory for footwork saved the company from expensive choreographer’s fees for which there certainly was no budget. Celia Franca was undoubtedly the heart and soul of The National Ballet of Canada for many years.

Set in a small storybook-like Bavarian village, Coppélia was one of The National Ballet of Canada’s most popular productions for over a decade. The character of Swanilda is a mischievous young peasant girl who leads her friends on an adventure through Dr. Coppélius’ toy workshop. While we cannot be certain, this tutu was likely designed by Kay Ambrose, a prolific designer who worked with the company from 1952 to 1962 and designed many of the company’s early productions.

 Actress - The Actress copy 1 

 

The Actress Romantic Tutu from The Actress - First Performed February 16, 1994. Designed by Santo Loquasto. 

This tutu was worn by Karen Kain, former Principal Dancer and now Artistic Director of the National Ballet. The Actress was inspired by and created for Karen Kain in honour of her 25th Anniversary with the company. Kain was one of the National Ballet’s most internationally acclaimed and beloved dancers. She earned a reputation for excellence beginning in 1973 with the Moscow International Ballet Competition at which she and Frank Augustyn danced the Bluebird Pas de Deux from The Sleeping Beauty. The accomplished couple were christened “the gold dust twins” for their spectacular performance. Kain retired from the stage in 1997 and chose The Actress as the piece for her Canada-wide farewell tour. She remained with the company as Artist-in-Residence and Artistic Advisor until 2005 when she assumed her present role as Artistic Director.

Choreographed by former Artistic Director James Kudelka, The Actress examines the bewildering interplay of role and reality in the life of a great ballerina.  The production features set and costume designs by Santo Loquasto, a world-renowned designer whose work has been featured in Broadway productions, cinema and dance. Loquasto’s vision for The Actress evokes the peculiar combination of elegance and the musty history of an old-world opera house with the costumes conjuring at once Edgar Degas, Giorgio Armani and simple rehearsal wear. As in the ballet, the design explores the boundaries between performance space and backstage life which continuously merge and dissolve.

Community

Community groups decorate tutus around special community themes.

Designed and built by members of Art Heart Community Centre. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

Designed and built by members of ArtHeart Community Art Centre. 

Over the course of a month-long summer workshop, the participants of ArtHeart re-imagined their neighbourhood into a brightly coloured Candy Land.

ArtHeart Community Art Centre provides children, youth and adults with visual arts programs, art education and art materials, year-round and free-of-charge. These programs help to develop self-esteem, creativity, life skills and learning. ArtHeart is the only visual arts organization in the community of Regent Park.

ArtHeart Logo 

Designed and built by members of SKETCH Arts Outreach. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small.  Designed and built by members of SKETCH Arts Outreach. 

The SKETCH community is diverse, composed of a mosaic of people, making a patchwork quilt the perfect theme for a tutu embellished by young people who live street-involved and homeless. Using open studio time at SKETCH, youth drew, painted, knitted and sewed patches representing a breadth of creativity that links us all together. Some participants made patches, others sewed them onto the tutu and one in particular linked the piece together with a fur waist and hemline.

SKETCH addresses homelessness and poverty through the arts, offering neutral and accessible space that breaks down barriers and encourages community. They celebrate the creativity, resilience and diversity of youth who live homeless and see them as key contributors to culture and society. SKETCH creates art-making opportunities for young people who live street-involved and homeless or who are considered to be at risk.

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Built by participants at Family Day Fest Downsview Park 2011. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

Built by participants at Family Day Fest Downsview Park, 2011. 

Over 800 children and families built this vibrant tutu out of paper dolls made at the National Ballet’s free art booth at Family Day Fest in Downsview Park. Each participant covered their paper doll, creating a kaleidoscope of color and family fun!

In 2011, Family Day was celebrated in Ontario on February 21. It is a new holiday providing busy families with the opportunity to spend time together.

 
 Designed and built by Stephanie Fortin of Coeur de Lion Textiles and the participants of Culture Days, 2011. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

Designed and built by Stephanie Fortin of Coeur de Lion Textiles and the participants of Culture Days, 2011. 

This tutu explores the theme of multiculturalism with both the creation process and design.The base is constructed using Dash, a print from Coeur de Lion’s current collection that is methodical yet busy, referencing city streets, maps, buildings and movement. Participants in Culture Days hand-dyed strips of silk using a traditional Japanese resist dyeing technique known as shibori. The bands of silk were then rolled and sewn onto the base starting at a central point and dispersing outward from that point, akin to urban and suburban sprawl.

Culture Days is a national celebration featuring free, hands-on, interactive activities that invites the public to discover the world of artists, creators, historians, architects, curators and designers at work in their cities.

Stephanie Fortin is the founder and designer of Coeur De Lion Textiles in Toronto and works out of the Textile Studio at the Harbourfront Centre as Artist in Residence. Coeur De Lion Textiles offers hand dyed, printed and designed products and textiles for the Fashion Industry.

Learn more about the artist 

Couer de lion logo  Culture Days logo 

 Designed and Built by Jenn Woodall and the Participants of Word on the Street Festival Toronto, 2011. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 
 

Designed and built by Jenn Woodall and the Participants of Word on the Street Festival Toronto, 2011. 

Created by Jenn Woodall, this tutu was embellished by members of the general public at Toronto’s Word on the Street Festival in 2011. The Festival is a celebration of literary culture that presents the work of writers, publishers and booksellers in an urban outdoor venue. Woodall’s tutu uses lovebirds, luxurious fabrics and saturated hues to evoke the rich history and themes of Romeo and Juliet, notably passion and retribution. Visitors to the Word on the Street Festival signed layers of silk organza with words they felt to be indicative of love.  

Jenn Woodall is a Toronto-based costume designer and illustrator, and a member of the wardrobe department in the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 873. She has worked on productions such as Total Recall, Resident Evil 5 and Suits Season 2.

 Learn more about the artist 

  
Word on the street logo 

 Canada Day 2 copy 1 

 

 

 

Reaffirm - Official Canada Day Celebrations. Created by participants at the Official Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa, July 2011. 

The Reaffirm tutu is an original creation designed by the festival participants of the 2011 Official Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa, ON. In conjunction with the National Capital Commission’s Reaffirmation Ceremony during which participants were invited to declare their love for Canada, guests likewise expressed their patriotic sentiments by creating a miniature coat of arms. Each piece has been attached to a tutu covered in hundreds of silk maple leaves. 

The Official Canada Day Celebrations are facilitated annually by the National Capital Commission. The NCC-CCN is a Crown corporation of the Government of Canada. Their goal is to ensure that Canada’s Capital Region is a source of national pride and significance.

 Canada Day 1 copy 1  

 

 

Rewind - Official Canada Day Celebrations. Created by participants at the Official Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa, July 2011. 

The Rewind tutu is an original creation designed by the festival participants of the 2011 Official Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa, ON. Guests shared their excitement about the National Ballet’s new repertoire and the Royal Visit by creating over 900 pocket watches, reminiscent of the one belonging to the White Rabbit who graced the stage with the National Ballet in London, England 24 years ago in Alice and our North American Premiere of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on June 4, 2011. 

The Official Canada Day Celebrations are facilitated annually by the National Capital Commission. The NCC-CCN is a Crown corporation of the Government of Canada. Their goal is to ensure that Canada’s Capital Region is a source of national pride and significance.

 Proud as a Peacock - Pride Parade copy 1 

 

Proud as a Peacock - Pride Toronto. Created by participants at Pride July 2011.  

The Proud as a Peacock tutu is an original creation designed by the festival participants of Pride Toronto 2011. Over 800 guests stopped by The National Ballet of Canada’s booth from July 2nd-3rd and wrote messages of hope and celebration on paper feathers that now compose our peacock’s body and tulle-tail. 

Pride Toronto is a not-for-profit organization that hosts Pride Week, a 10 day long annual event in downtown Toronto, which celebrates our diverse sexual and gender identities, histories, cultures, creativities, families, friends and lives.

Pride Week is one of the premier arts and cultural festivals in Canada and one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world with an estimated attendance of over 1.2 million people. Pride Week is one of only eight officially designated City of Toronto "Signature Events," is recognized as one of the "Top 50 Festivals in Ontario" by Festivals and Events Ontario, and has been awarded the "Best Festival in Canada" award by the Canadian Special Event Industry two years in a row. 

 

Partners

Friends and supporters of the National Ballet share their innovative visions of a tutu.

Designed and built by Giles Deacon. On loan from the English National Ballet. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

Designed and built by English National Ballet in collaboration with Giles Deacon.  

Fashion designer Giles Deacon built this tutu out of a combination of feathers, silk and black Swarovski crystals as part of the English National Ballet’s 60th Anniversary in 2011.

The National Ballet of Canada is honored to display this piece as a representation of our greater artistic community.

The English National Ballet is one of the world’s great ballet companies. The original vision – to take classical ballet of the highest quality to the widest geographical audience, at a price everyone can afford – remains the cornerstone of the Company’s philosophy today. The Company of 67 dancers and full orchestra performs large-scale, high quality classical ballet nationally and internationally, presenting the same scale and excellence on tour as in London.

English Ballet logo 


Designed and built by Antonia Lamartino on behalf of Lululemon Athletica. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

Designed and built by Lululemon Lead Designer Antonia Iamartino with contributions from Lauren Powell and Shirley Iamartino. 

Inspired by the ballet Swan Lake, this tutu combines function and form by accentuating the classical aesthetic with the use of Lululemon stretch fabric and technical construction to create a high-performance garment.

The corset is made of lightweight stretch fabric and the seams have been constructed using naked seam technology: a bonded thread-free seam that leaves the wearer free from irritation. The use of lace ties the tutu back to the femininity of the ballet while the feathers represent the lightness and fluidity of the ballerina and the swan she is characterizing. This tutu combines a classic tutu with the technical and functional beauty of Lululemon. The result is a tutu that elevates the dancer’s performance by keeping her comfortable and light for the duration of this intensely demanding ballet.

Born and bred in Vancouver, British Columbia, Lululemon Athletica is a company committed to developing leaders in the world and creating components for people to live long, healthy and fun lives (in black stretchy pants).

Learn more about the creation of this tutu 

Lululemon logo 

Designed and built by Molly Grundy and the participants of TIFF Kids International Film Festival. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

Designed and built by Molly Grundy and the participants of TIFF Kids International Film Festival. 

Some of the city's youngest art lovers are responsible for this imaginative, film-inspired tutu. Lead by artist and designer, Molly Grundy, children and families attending the 15th annual TIFF Kids International Film Festival in April contributed their artistic flair to the TIFF Tutu by colouring on 16mm film leader. Following the festival Molly attached the coloured film strips to a wire cage at the tutu's core, styling and sculpting each one to achieve a wild and animated shape. In addition to showcasing the magic of a child's imagination, this tutu represents TIFF's commitment to engaging with children and their families using all forms of the moving image.


Molly Grundy is a Toronto based award winning fibre artist, illustrator and arts educator who graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design. Molly has worked in everything from costume design, wearable art, illustration, fashion styling, special effects and puppet building for stop motion animation.

 Learn more about the artist 

TIFF kids logo 

 Designed and built by Katia Ostapets and the dedicated team of FAJO Magazine. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

Designed and built by Katia Ostapets and the dedicated team of FAJO Magazine.  

This tutu embodies the timeless glamour of FAJO Magazine and incorporates its signature colours of red and black. Several FAJO staff members contributed unique, handmade petals in reference to the magazine’s visual branding. The corset was constructed using traditional techniques, such as boning and the fusion of multiple layers of fabric, while the hand-beaded bodice gestures to haute couture. The result is a piece that showcases similarities among the dance and fashion worlds.

FAJO Magazine is an international, digital luxury magazine that provides in-depth coverage of the fashion industry around the world. Published monthly, the magazine has featured such style icons as Jean Paul Gaultier, Jeanne Baker, Anna Dello Russo, David Dixon, Alexandra Richards and Karolina Kurkova.

FAJO logo 

 

 

Friends

Alumni, staff and friends of the National Ballet create tutus reflecting on the company and looking ahead to the next 60 years. 

Caroline OBrien small  

Designed and built by Caroline O'Brien, Curator of "60 Years of Designing the Ballet" in collaboration with The Design Exchange. 

Just as the forest in The Sleeping Beauty keeps an intruding Prince at bay, this tutu creates an impenetrable boundary around the body of the ballerina. Layers of tulle and organza create the iconic silhouette that signifies her identity as Princess of the ballet.

As the final wrapping, this garment frames the identity inside of the tutu. The dancer’s previous body in a sense vanishes and, as though in response to the structure of her attire, is replaced with that of the Princess. The tutu thus forms an integrated whole which allows our ballerina to assume the character of the Princess on stage, with the tutu becoming an extension of her identity. When adorned in her finery, the Princess of the ballet invites us to engage in a world of wonder, enchantment and desire.

Caroline O’Brien is a costume designer, writer and educator. For almost twenty years she served as Wardrobe Supervisor at Canada’s National Ballet School and enjoyed a rich freelance career designing costumes for classical and contemporary dance. O’Brien is a full time faculty member at Ryerson University in Toronto and is completing PhD. studies at The National College of Art and Design in Dublin.

 

Designed and built by Natalie Leung and Sonia Dvorak from Canada's National Ballet School. Photo by Ryan Chan. Small. 

Designed and built by Natalie Leung and Sonia Dvorak from Canada's National Ballet School Wardrobe Department. 

Referencing the visual motif from Swan Lake, the platter of this tutu is covered in fabric feathers fading from black to white. Just as Odile is the polar opposite of Odette, ballet dancers must channel completely different facets of their dancing often within a single performance. From the most classical ballet to contemporary movement, a professional dancer is expected to perform them all. The National Ballet of Canada and its dancers cover the whole spectrum with grace and ease; from black to white and all the greys in between.

Sonia Dvorak was a student at Canada’s National Ballet School from 2007 to 2011. She graduated in June 2011, and is now a dancer with Ballett Kiel located in Kiel, Germany. The company, which will present classical and contemporary works, is new and Sonia is pleased to be part of their inaugural season.

NBS logo 

Designed and built by Members of Turnout, The National Ballet of Canada's Young Patrons Group. Photo by Ryan Chan. Small. 

 

 

Designed and built by members of Turnout, The National Ballet of Canada's Young Patrons Group. 

Inspired by their namesake, Turnout patrons asked young professionals across Toronto to show their passion for The National Ballet of Canada through their own “turnout”. From bare feet and boots to high heels and runners, images on this tutu capture the spirit and passion of Turnout.

Turnout is the new group of young professionals that is building the future of The National Ballet of Canada. Turnout gives members access to some of the world’s best dance and connects Toronto’s most passionate art and culture lovers to help build a sustainable future for the ballet.  

Designed and built by Melanie Dowhaniuk in collaboration with Imaginis Marketing. Photo by Ryan Chan. Small. 

 

Designed and built by Melanie Dowhaniuk in collaboration with Imaginis Marketing. 

Inspired by the resilience and determination of the Japanese people after the devastating tsunami in 2011, this tutu uses the paper crane to represent the strength of that community. The elegant bird also embodies the agility, grace and beauty of a ballet dancer and stands as a classic symbol of prosperity. Melanie Dowhaniuk encouraged women from the business community to name a crane through her website and at touring events in the Greater Toronto Area. In the process, she invited others to learn about The National Ballet of Canada in its 60th Anniversary season and gave women the opportunity to reflect, share their stories and recognize other amazing women in their lives.

Melanie Dowhaniuk is the President of Imaginis Marketing Inc., a boutique marketing agency based in Toronto. She also co-chairs Turnout, The National Ballet of Canada’s Young Professionals Group. A forward-thinking entrepreneur, Dowhaniuk is developing her next business venture, Lipstick and Martinis Inc., which is involved in community-based projects such as Ladies Who Launch British Columbia and Tiny Paper Cranes – a significant contributor to her tutu and its mission for spreading hope and happiness.

 
Designed and built by Linda Lundstrom Works in collaboration with The Volunteer Committee, The National Ballet of Canada. Photo by Ryan Chan. Small. 

Designed and built by Linda Lundström Works in collaboration with The Volunteer Committee, The National Ballet of Canada. 

The bodice of this tutu was built out of scraps of cloth from the Volunteer Committee’s first Build-A-Ballet Fund initiative, La Fille mal gardeé. The skirt is covered in paper flowers made from Japanese washi paper in homage to Yorkville’s Paper Things, which is run entirely by the Volunteer Committee. The names of each committee member, from past and present, can be found on the petals of these flowers.

Linda Lundström has been a creative tour de force in Canada for over three decades. She has produced more than 100 collections, and is a leader in embracing CAD/CAM technologies and Lean Manufacturing processes. Her current initiative, Linda Lundström Works, provides training and services in design, product development, fabric sourcing and Lean Concept workshops with the aim of inspiring teams to produce change.

Dedicated volunteers from The Volunteer Committee helped found the National Ballet 60 years ago and have funded 47 new productions for the company since 1976.

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Designed and built by members of the Wardrobe Department at The National Ballet of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 



Designed and built by members of the Wardrobe Department of The National Ballet of Canada.
 

This tutu features an industrial skyline on the tutu’s plate, which is juxtaposed with a vibrant garden on the underside. The wide variety of sewing techniques used in this highlights the interdisciplinary nature of the National Ballet’s wardrobe department, celebrating the creativity and expertise of our internal tutu team.

A variety of skills and experience are shared by these members of The National Ballet of Canada’s Wardrobe Department, including costuming for film, television and theatre. Combined, they have more than 100 years of experience making costumes.

Designed and built byLisa Farinaccio, Marnie King, Lily Messerhuber, Samantha Wyton, Myles Wyton-Fraser, Samara McAdam, Ava McAdam-Beder, Heather English, Ilana Harendorf, Lisa Di Quinzio, Ruth Bartell, Sue Daly and Cindy Rusak.

 
Designed and built by Grant Heaps, Wardrobe Coordinator for The National Ballet of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 



Designed and built by Grant Heaps, Wardrobe Coordinator for The National Ballet of Canada.
 

The National Ballet of Canada commissioned Grant Heaps to create a tutu listing the names and dates of every ballet the company has performed since its first performance 60 years ago, in 1951. He sought to make the tutu pretty and simple, and to keep its decoration within the confines of traditional ballet style.

Grant Heaps was born in Toronto, where he studied fashion. After designing, producing, wholesaling and retailing a line of women’s shirts for several years, he ventured to work with some of Toronto’s large- scale theatre productions before joining the National Ballet nearly 18 years ago. Inspired by a quilt his mother made him from tie samples he had plucked from the trash, Grant is currently pursuing a project in quilt-making. The series of non-functional quilts will tell the story of a person watching a theatrical production, and will eventually form one enormous picture collage of pop songs, personal obsessions and emotions that have taken over his life in the best possible way.

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Designed and built by Jennifer Zimmerman, Senior Manager of Special Events for The National Ballet of Canada. Photo by Ryan Chan. Small.   


Designed and built by Jennifer Zimmerman, Senior Manager of Special Events for The National Ballet of Canada.
 

Composed of 60 hand-painted pointe shoes to represent the National Ballet’s 60-year history, this tutu marries the two most iconic elements of classical ballet: the pointe shoe and the tutu. The shoes belong to the dancers of the National Ballet and have been worn in rehearsal, class and performance. By juxtaposing elements from ballet with the artist’s personal style and medium, this piece emerges as a mixed media celebration of dance.

Jennifer Zimmerman studied Illustration at Sheridan College and has worked as the Senior Manager of Special Events for The National Ballet of Canada since 2005. Although relatively new to ballet, she has developed a true appreciation for the art form and is inspired repeatedly by the drive, determination and talent of the dancers and everyone within the company that supports them.

 
Designed and built by Artist Deanna Brown and participants in Kids Corps and Share the Magic. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

Designed and built by Artist Deanna Brown and Members of The National Ballet of Canada's Kids Corps and Share the Magic initiatives. 

A great deal of reading and research led to the inspiration for this tutu. Deanna’s muse was The Sugar Plum Fairy’s role as guardian of the Confituremberg or The Kingdom of Sweets. Spun sugar was chosen to represent the overall theme of the piece and in collaboration with the Kids Corps and Share the Magic participants, this beautiful confection of a tutu was born.

Deanna Brown has been involved with dance and theatre since her graduation from Ryerson University’s Theatre School in 2000. She is a Cutter, working in tandem with a designer, to pattern, cut and fit the incredible costumes seen onstage. This is one of Brown’s first forays into design.

 
Designed and built by Pamela Kaye on behalf of Alberta Ballet. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small.  Designed and built by Pamela Kaye on behalf of Alberta Ballet. 

Both an ode to the repertoire of Alberta Ballet and the great-outdoors, this tutu features a combination of materials from production costumes and familiar elements from western Canadian nature. In addition to highlights from the Albertan landscape, Pamela attached braided ribbons from Edmund Stripe’s The Nutcracker, jewels from Jean Grand-Maître’s Love Lies Bleeding, and green and blue tulle from

Joni Mitchell’s The Fiddle and the Drum. Alberta Ballet, a not-for-profit charitable organization, is Canada’s third largest dance company and is

in its 45th season. Alberta Ballet has developed a distinctive repertoire and performance quality that has brought it to the forefront of both its home and international stages.

Pamela Kaye graduated from California State University in Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts. Kaye has designed a number of ballets for the company including The Fiddle and the Drum.

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Designed and built by Justina McCaffrey. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

Designed and built by Justina McCaffrey. 

In celebration of the National Ballet’s 60th Diamond Anniversary, Justina chose to accentuate the tutu’s classic shape with strategically placed crystals against a royal blue pleated bodice and platter. The fabric has been finely pleated as a reference to the profound attention to movement and direction in classical ballet.

Justina McCaffrey is an international fashion industry professional. Beyond her Canadian-based company, she has worked extensively in New York, Hong Kong, Paris, Los Angeles, and Milan. Justina’s designs and company have been editorialized on all major Canadian networks magazines, and newspapers as well as in The New York Times, LA Times, ABC News, Chicago Sun Times, MTV, Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, NBC, CBS, Oxygen TV, Martha Stewart Living, USA Today, and many Hollywood movies. Justina’s personal triumph is in creating a Pluvial Cope for His Holiness Pope John Paul II, a piece currently preserved in the Vatican archives.

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 Pirouetting on the Pacific Ocean. Designed and built by Carole Sabiston on behalf of Dance Victoria. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

Pirouetting on the Pacific Ocean. Designed and built by Carole Sabiston on behalf of Dance Victoria. 

The Pacific Ocean and coastal scenery inspired the creation of this tutu. Watery blue and greens swirling together with the white tulle mimic the ocean’s waves while sailboats gracefully pirouette across the surface of the blue water against the backdrop of the rocky coastline of the tutu’s waistband.

Dance Victoria brings the world's best dance companies to the stage at the Royal Theatre and with its comprehensive Dance Futures programs fosters the professional and creative development of this community at Dance Victoria Studios.

Carole Sabiston is internationally renowned for her large-scale murals, tapestries and aerial sculptures. Her large commissions number over 40 and are located across North America, Great Britain and Europe. Her works are represented in many fine institutions including the Canadian Museum of Civilization. She has been awarded the Saidye Bronfman Award, Order of BC, Honorary Doctorate (Fine Art, University of Victoria) the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and membership in the Royal Canadian Academy.

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 Designed and built by National Ballet of Canada Corps de Ballet artist Krista Dowson. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

 Designed and built by National Ballet of Canada Corps de Ballet artist Krista Dowson.  

Krista Dowson designed this piece for the little girl who dances before she can walk, counts beauty by the number of rhinestones she wears and understands that make believe requires a costume. For the serious school girl who understands, so early, what it is to work hard. For the young woman who realizes that ballet is the pursuit of perfection, even if "perfect" doesn't exist. For the seasoned ballerina who looks around and understands what she has and who she gets to be. And for the retired ballerina who inspired generations and remembers when she was a little girl, dancing for the sheer joy of it.

 Dowson has been a member of The National Ballet of Canada’s Corps de Ballet since 2002 and will be launching her own line of luxury leotards later this year. She dedicates her design to the girls who dream about ballet and don't stop just because they have grown up.

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Prairie Seasons. Designed and built by  Shannon Lovelace, Roslynne Manson, Alena Zharska, Brenda Belmonte and Anne Armit on behalf of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Small. 

Prairie Seasons. Designed and built by Shannon Lovelace, Roslynne Manson, Alena Zharska, Brenda Belmonte and Anne Armit  on behalf of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. 

This tutu was created by members of Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Wardrobe Department and draws inspiration from the unique colors and textures of Winnipeg’s four distinct and beautiful seasons. The crystal basque represents both spring and winter: the first crocus of spring is surrounded with white lace, dripping with silver snowflakes and cast acrylic icicles. The silk organza plate represents both autumn and summer, covered with shades of ombred midnight blue, russet and gold finishes, and a pale sky blue.

 

Founded in 1939 by Gweneth Lloyd and Betty Farrally, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet holds the double distinction of being Canada’s premier ballet company and one of the oldest ballet companies in North America. In 1958, Arnold Spohr was appointed Artistic Director. Under his direction, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet grew and developed to take its place among the world’s internationally renowned companies. The company embraces a wide array of dance styles, which include classical story ballets and an intriguing collection of shorter dances.

 

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Salmon Coming Home – Designed and built by Liana O'Brien, Pat Piercy, Mary Parker, Jacquelyn Rey, Bessie Harvie and Marjory Hope on behalf of The Port Theatre. Small. 

Salmon Coming Home. Designed and Built byLiana O'Brien, Pat Piercy, Mary Parker, Jacquelyn Rey, Bessie Harvie and Marjory Hope on behalf of The Port Theatre. 

The Port Theatre chose to meld their beautiful location on coastal Vancouver Island with the theme of the landmark 60th Anniversary. Their muse was the permanent art installation which graces The Port Theatre Lobby, titled “Salmon Coming Home”. This sculpture of more than 100 carved salmon swimming along the lobby wall was created by British Columbian Aboriginal artist Phill Ashbee. Volunteers made 60 fish out of lightly padded gold, bronze and copper fabric, which were attached to the tutu, each fish representative of one year of the National Ballet. The quilted basque of bronze fabric was inspired by the panoramic view of the Coast Mountain Range from the theatre.

 

The Port Theatre of Nanaimo, British Columbia, has more than 200 dedicated volunteers who staff audience services roles such as ticket checkers, ushers and seating guides. A group of six of these volunteers enthusiastically jumped on board to decorate a tutu in recognition of The National Ballet of Canada’s 60th Anniversary.

 

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 Historical Tutu - Nancy Zimmerman copy 1 

 

Historical Timeline. Designed and Built by Nancy Zimmerman. 

 

This tutu represents a box of nostalgic treasures; fond memories of the past, mingled with current joys celebrating the rich and intricate fabric of The National Ballet of Canada. Like the fine net of the tutu, a myriad of people with various skills have brought strength and beauty to the stage for the past 60 years.

The photos and tiny books include the images or names of dancers, directors, donors, staff, artists, physicians, choreographers, musicians and friends. Tokens and charms represent various performances, while the thimble, nails and shoes honour the work behind the scenes. The tickets acknowledge the importance of the audience, the gloves for applause and community support. Additionally, the tutu includes a selection of memories submitted by National Ballet Alumni displayed on the bodice.

Nancy Zimmerman has over 30 years of professional experience as a mural and fine art illustrator and painter. She studied Fine Art at Brock University and shares her talent with the local community as an art teacher.

 

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Artists

Members of Canada's community of artists creatively reimagine the tutu.

Designed and built by Krist Eve Lomax. National Open-call for Artists Selection. Photo by Ryan Chan. Small. 

 

Designed and built by Krista Eve Lomax. National Open-call for Artists Selection. 

Childhood adventures in the Canadian woods and memories of magic, faeries and tales all served as inspiration for this tutu. It represents mossy ponds and explorations in the silence and safety of the woods. By walking around the tutu, the observer will note the changing of the seasons from the frozen frosty blue of Winter, waking slowly to Spring’s buds and blossoms, growing to Summer berries and blooms, then finally falling into Autumn’s leaves and crisp amber golds.

Krista Lomax is a Multimedia Designer living and working in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her work involves designing user interfaces and motion graphics for a variety of multimedia productions for the film, television and gaming industries.

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Designed and built by Edgar Wong Baxter Jr. et al on behalf of Narwhal Art Projects and Metatecture. Photo by Marta Ryczko. Small. 

 

 

Designed and built by Edgar Wong Baxter Jr., Steve Reaume, Nicholas Aoki, Finlay Patterson and Bellavance on behalf of Narwhal Art Projects and Metatecture. 

Inspired by the interplay of movement and time within ballet performance, Nicholas Aoki and Metatecture designed their tutu with embedded sensory activated L.E.D. lights and accelerometers. By relying on the unique movement of its wearer, the tutu transforms into a reactive and evolving visual media.

Metatecture was formed in 2010 as a means of visualizing and exploring emerging technologies. It is composed of an ever-growing cast of specialists, who are deeply devoted to expanding the definitions of art and design. At its core are five members, Finlay Paterson, Steven Reaume, Edgar Wong Baxter Jr., Nicholas Aoki and Adam Bellavance.

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Designed and built by Skanda Lin. National Open Call for Artists Selection. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 


Designed and built by Skanda Lin. National Open-call for Artists Selection. 

Architect Skanda Lin built her tutu out of one consecutive loop of recycled paper. Her aim was to highlight the balance between light and shadow onstage, and to celebrate her personal practice of environmentally friendly architecture.

Skanda holds a Master’s in Architecture from the University of Toronto. She has worked for a large variety of firms including KPMB Architects, Diamond + Schmitt, the 5th Studio in the United Kingdom, KPF Associates in New York City and the Shenzhen General Institute of Architectural Design and Research in China.

 
Designed and built by Tania Sanhueza on behalf of Narwhal Art Projects. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

 

Designed and built by Tania Sanhueza on behalf of Narwhal Art Projects. 

Inspired by the transformative nature of mushrooms as they grow into beautiful and odd formations from the lowest source of decaying matter, Tania spread the spores of mushrooms onto the tutu, combining their separate but equally magical worlds.

Tania Sanhueza is a Toronto-based textile artist and illustrator. Known for her finely crafted owls, mushrooms and city squirrels, Sanhueza’s soft sculptures explore the social fabric of urban life and its relationship to the environment. Also interested in animal and ecological preservation, her sculptures are laboriously constructed from found or recycled environmentally conscious materials.

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Designed and built by Noel Middleton on behalf of Narwhal Art Projects. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

Designed and built by Noel Middleton on behalf of Narwhal Art Projects. 

The Lemkos Tutu is derived from characteristics founded in 14th century chapel construction by settlers in the Carpathian Mountains. Inspired by early Slavic churches which embraced the interrelation of the surrounding environment as centres for worship, this tutu is constructed entirely from locally reclaimed and collected wood. The Lemkos Tutu alludes to the reclamation of repudiated traditions.

Noel Middleton is a multi-disciplinary artist who works in sculpture, installation, photography and video. Middleton carefully accumulates found natural materials to create work that explores aspects of reclusion and fantasy. His work plays with the visual tropes of fairy tales and fantasy, presenting familiar characters, figures and forms that stem from these vocabularies.

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 Designed and built by Julie Moon on behalf of Narwhal Art Projects. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

Designed and built by Julie Moon on behalf of Narwhal Art Projects. 

Julie Moon was deeply inspired by pristine, wintery landscape for her piece. The tutu is embellished with floral and geometric elements made from porcelain in a variety of wintery whites. The fragility and delicacy of the porcelain represents the cold, winter season and punctuates the crisp and fleeting movements of the body in dance. The tutu pays homage to the wonders of winter and celebrates the delicacy and delight of the ballet.

Julie Young-Hee Moon was born in Toronto, Canada. She received her MFA in 2010 from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and her BFA from Ontario College of Art and Design in 2005. Moon has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Currently Moon is a finalist in the RBC Emerging Artist People’s Choice Award, presented through the Gardiner Ceramic Museum, and a resident artist at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia.

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 Designed and built by Alex Gilbert. National Open-call for Artists selection. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

 

Designed and built by Alex Gilbert.National Open-call for Artists selection. 

Inspired by the children’s book The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, Alex constructed this tutu out of paper bags. She began by collecting more than 450 paper bags which included gift, yard and shopping bags. To remain true to her inspiration Alex wanted the bags to look worn and dirty which she achieved using a process called breakdown. The bags were treated with a combination of water, ash and charcoal resulting in their unique texture.

Alex Gilbert has worked in costume departments in theatre since 1999 and is now the Head of Wardrobe at Ryerson University Theatre School. She is currently completing a Masters degree at York University on the history of fashion, science and technology and sociology to improve her teaching skills. Recently she began pursuing work in costume design and hopes to continue working in this area.
 Designed and built by Louise Yu. National Open-call for Artists selection. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

 

Designed and built by Louise Yu. National Open-call for Artists selection. 

Inspired by Swan Lake, Louise incorporated both the black and white swan into her design, capturing a sense of both elegance and darkness. Layers of white tulle with black seeping through and black and white ribbons interlaced on the bodice depict the struggle between Odette and Odile. The dramatic contrast between black and white creates visual tension while feathers on the centre front bodice represent the swan.

 Introduced to art at a young age, Louise has experimented with watercolour, acrylic painting, oil painting, sculpture, pottery and other mediums but the primary outlet for her creativity is fashion design. Currently studying fashion design at Ryerson University, her pieces have been featured in several major exhibitions and have won a number of awards.

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Designed and built by Susan Rowe Harrison. National Open-call for Artists selection. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

 

Designed and built by Susan Rowe Harrison. National Open-call for Artists selection. 

Susan’s piece is a sculptural work which explores the structure of a tutu. The top layer is an intricately hand-cut piece of sign vinyl which was purposefully shaped to reveal the internal structure and construction of the tutu.

Susan Rowe Harrison lives in Toronto and makes ink drawings and site-specific installations of hand-cut vinyl for domestic, commercial, and alternative settings. She has exhibited her work internationally.

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 Tutu Cozy - Designed and Built by Svetlana Lavrentieva. Selected entry from the National Open-Call for Artists. Small. 

 

 

Tutu Cozy. Designed and Built by Svetlana Lavrentieva. National Open-Call for Artists selection.  

 

Comparing the Hudson’s Bay Company point blanket and The National Ballet of Canada as unmistakable icons of Canadian culture, the Tutu Cozy was created with one goal in mind – to protect its lucky owner from the unforgiving winters that are characteristic of Canada, on and off the stage.

The Tutu Cozy was designed as a traditional coat with a high collar wrapping around the waist and a series of buttons running through the centre. The coloured stripes are a central focus of the tutu, each representing an element of Canadian life: red—“battle or hunt”, yellow—“harvest and sunshine”, green— “new life”, and blue—“water”.

Svetlana grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia, but is now based in Toronto, Ontario. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design from the University of Manitoba, a Master’s of Landscape Architecture from the University of Toronto, and spent a delightful summer in Rome, Italy, studying the history of art and architecture.

 

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 Continuous Movement - Designed and built by Angel Wong. Small. 

Continuous Movement. Designed and Built by Angel Wong. National Open-Call for Artists selection.  
 

Toronto-based designer and dancer Angel Wong selected the theme of Continuous Movement for her submission. Drawing from the Futurist period, her piece references the famous 1913 sculpture by Umberto Boccioni, “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space”, which depicts a human-like figure seemingly flying through air. This tutu evokes an aerodynamic fluidity by using exaggerated folds, angles and volumes, creating an asymmetrical, architectural-like form.

Born in Hong Kong, Wong trained at The Australian Ballet School, and has performed with companies around the world such as Hong Kong Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Ballet Jörgen Canada and Proarte Danza. Upon retiring as a Principal Artist in 2008, Wong enrolled at OCAD University, where she received a Bachelor of Design in Environmental Design. In 2010 she launched NYLONBALLERINA, a creative design company specializing in costumes and set design.

Wong is set to launch her debut collection of non-traditional bridal and contemporary evening wear under her own label, Angel Wong.

 

 

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Designers

Members of Canada's fashion and design community create couture interpretations of the classical tutu.

Designed and built by Cydelic by Chorin. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Ryan Chan. Small. 

Designed and built by Cydelic by Choryin. 

This tutu draws on current research into the side effects of radiation, and represents the invasion of nuclear-mutated flowers eating up the natural habitat. The designer aimed to demonstrate how ballet might evolve over time, as the art form assimilates new elements and ideas while retaining its classical foundation.

Choryin Choi is the designer behind “Cydelic by Choryin”, an artistic luxury brand of clothing and accessories. The Cydelic Brand launched its first capsule collection for Toronto’s LG Fashion Week attendees. With just two years of industry experience, Choi received the Textile Design Award and Fashion Arts Award from the Fashion Arts program at Seneca College. He also nabbed a prestigious design consultant/SEVCONair (artists-in-residence) position with SEVEN CONTINENTS, an internationally-branded retail fixture and merchandising design and production facility.

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Designed and built by Jameson Kane. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Marta Ryczko. Small. 

Designed and built by Jameson Kane.  

Inspired by the tutu silhouette, Jameson Kane sought to create a coat that reflects the delicate beauty of ballet while offering a unique perspective of outerwear. Taking insight from performance and garment design, this piece captures the inherent feminine presence of the tutu and transforms it into a practical luxury garment.

Designer Genevieve Pearson and businessman Stan Capobianco merged their respective talents to create Jameson Kane – a women’s high-end outerwear label that signifies the refined and sophisticated tastes of the elite, defined by its strength and resilience as a Canadian brand. Jameson Kane uses Canada’s finest wools and leathers along with meticulous tailoring to achieve the brilliant aristocratic styling. Based out of Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI), Jameson Kane was launched as one of the top contestants in Toronto’s renowned New Labels design competition in May 2012.

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Designed and built by Paul Hardy Design. Photo by Ryan Chan. Small. 

Designed and built by Paul Hardy Design. 

Inspired by cavemen, hunters and gatherers, the bodice explores the evolution of humanity and its development in refining the arts. The asymmetrical one sleeve top is composed of hand spun wool and is hand knit by knitters in St. Andrew’s, Scotland. Other elements featured on the tutu include feathers, artificial berries and gold paint.

Canadian-born and based, Paul Hardy began his design career in 2002 with an opening show at Toronto Fashion Week where his first collection saw a host of rave reviews declaring, “a star is born.” Hardy’s trademark style of layering textures in earthy tones retains a timeless essence. Although Hardy’s flagship store is located in his hometown of Calgary, Hardy has shown his work in Toronto, Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Shanghai. Last year, Hardy made his foray into costume design, by being commissioned to design the costumes for Sarah McLachlan’s ballet Fumbling Towards Ecstasy.

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Designed and built by Hoax Couture. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

Designed and built by Hoax Couture. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. 

The Hoax Couture Tutu has an African theme and was constructed from three exotic prints layered into the top plate. The result is an exuberant art piece boasting a riot of colour. Hoax Couture founded Dare to Wear Love, a fundraiser for the Stephen Lewis Foundation that unites the Canadian fashion community in support of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa and their grandmothers.

Chris Tyrell and Jim Searle started Hoax Couture in 1985. Without formal fashion training, the Hoax duo began by selling T-shirts on the streets of Toronto. Within a year, their first fashion collection was available exclusively through Holt Renfrew. Since closing their Yorkville boutique in 2005, the designers have been creating couture fashions for clients from their Toronto showroom, as well as designing costumes for dance, including several collaborations with Coleman Lemieux and Compagnie.

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Designed and built by David Dixon. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small.   

Designed and built by David Dixon. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. 

A reminder and homage to the survivors of Japan’s tsunami disaster in 2011, this David Dixon tutu is covered in traditional Japanese fans. Dixon hopes to remind us of the simplicity and beauty that Japan gives us internationally as a leader in culture, technology and history.

Born in Toronto and trained at Ryerson University, David Dixon enjoys tremendous media acclaim and stands out among his Canadian contemporaries as one of the leaders in women’s fashion design. Dixon apprenticed with well-known Canadian designer Alfred Sung and in 1995 established the David Dixon label. Starting out at the Toronto Fashion Incubator, he began wholesaling and manufacturing his line and in 1999 left the incubator to launch his own design and production studio based in Toronto. Today, David Dixon is sold across Canada, the United States, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Germany, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

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Designed and built by Amanda Lew Kee. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small.   

Designed and built by Amanda Lew Kee. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. 

With its soft palette of nudes, pinks and dusty roses, this tutu takes its inspiration from the AMANDALEWKEE client – confident, edgy and delicate. The tutu is constructed from two distinct pieces and features exotic materials like the snapper skin bodice and salmon skin waist accent. These elements, together with the heavy exposed zippers and comfortable stretch fabrics, reflect the design aesthetic of the AMANDALEWKEE brand.

A native of Toronto, Amanda Lew Kee started designing in 2008 before she graduated from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Design. She launched her women’s ready-to-wear line, AMANDALEWKEE, at Toronto Fashion Week in 2010.

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Designed and built by Clea Minaker. Photo by Marta Ryczko. Small. 

 

Designed and built by Clea Minaker. 

Clea fused both light and sound to create this piece. A crystal garden of prisms has been strategically sewn into the underside of the tutu, animating it with movement, color, and music as a reflection of the garment’s occupant: the dancer.

Clea Minaker is a performer, director and designer living in Montreal. She trained at International Institute of Puppetry Arts in Charleville-Mezieres (2002-2005) and has worked in Canada and internationally in theatre, film, performance and live music. In 2007 and 2008 she toured with Feist on The Reminder Tour creating and performing a live shadow show and video manipulations. In 2009 she was awarded the Siminovitch Protégé prize by Siminovitch (Theatre Design) prize winner Ronnie Burkett. Her upcoming projects include a solo performance piece entitled The Book of Thel, and a collaboration with Atom Egoyan at the Canadian Opera Company in 2013.

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Designed and built by Thomas Collection. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

Designed and built by Thomas Collection. 

This tutu illuminates the dialogue of traditional form, classical media and forms of expression that engage the modern world even though they may be antiquated. Ballet is always reinventing forms and ideas even as it adheres to classical tenets. The plaster components of this tutu reflect the rigors and rigidity of ballet as well as the age of the art form. Plaster may crack or crumble under pressure, just as the human body may break through rigorous training. The effect of the tutu is to suggest parallels among movement, design and sculpture.

Michael Thomas studied Sculpture and Installation at The Ontario College of Art and Design. He currently works as a fashion designer for two collections and is based between Berlin and Toronto. Thomas’ works reference the past and are classical in form and minimalist in design. They are available internationally and at his flagship store in Toronto.

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Designed and built by VAWK. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

Designed and built by VAWK. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. 

Sunny Fong’s inspiration for this tutu was fish swimming upstream. As the Creative Director and driving force behind Canadian luxury women’s wear label VAWK, Sunny first took an interest in fashion at the high school level teaching himself to sew while making dresses for friends.

Since inception in 2004, VAWK has become synonymous with quality craftsmanship and a design style that is as innovative as it is sophisticated. VAWK designs have been showcased on red carpets worldwide, including the Cannes International Film Festival, the Grammy Awards and the People’s Choice Awards.

In the spring of 2008 Fong applied to be a contestant on Season 2 of Project Runway Canada. During the competition, Sunny quickly caught the eyes of the judges and viewers alike with his creations, ultimately winning the competition with his Alexander the Great inspired collection.

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Designed and built by Rita Tesolin. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small.  Designed and built by Rita Tesolin. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada.

Embellished with butterflies and Austrian crystal, this tutu references the Diamond Anniversary of The National Ballet of Canada and the graceful movements of its dancers. The artist chose the butterfly because, in flight, butterflies appear to dance and are exceptionally beautiful and elegant. Like dancers, they inspire awe in all who watch them.

Officially launching her design career in 2003, Rita Tesolin was quickly labeled the “Stone Angel” for her stunning presentations of precious and semi-precious stones in her jewellery creations. Tesolin has collaborated with many Canadian fashion designers, including David Dixon, Evan Biddell and Lucien Matis. She was chosen one of Elle Canada’s “Hot 100” in 2008 and was crowned the “Queen of Costume Jewellery” by Flare in the same year.

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Designed and built by Adrian Wu. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

Designed and built by Adrian Wu. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. 

The minimalist design of the Adrian Wu Tutu creates a contemporary statue effect, using fashion to channel elements from the visual arts. At once a wearable piece and an art object, the tutu gestures to the sense of refinement and elegance commonly associated with the ballet world.

At just 21 years old, Adrian Wu has already launched a fashion design business and published his first book, Style Diaries, which is now selling internationally. His designs have been featured on CTV, Fashion Television and in Flare, and he has worked with such Canadian celebrities as Keshia Chante and Margaret Atwood. Recently, Wu collaborated with Allan Candy to make a collection of dresses from candy wrappers.

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Designed and built by Sarah Stevenson and Eliza Kozurno. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

Designed and built by Sarah Stevenson and Eliza Kozurno. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. 

The Equinox Tutu takes its inspiration from Swan Lake and showcases the design strengths of its two creators: handmade fabric, beading and leatherwork. The tutu takes its name from the astronomical event known as the equinox, when day and night are roughly equal in length. The tutu embodies this phenomenon by moving seamlessly from dark to light colours.

Sarah Stevenson and Eliza Kozurno are the Toronto-based artists behind the Equinox Tutu. Stevenson is a fabric and clothing designer who creates prints derived from nature. A graduate of George Brown College, Stevenson was awarded a full scholarship to pursue a Master’s degree in Fashion and Textile Design at the prestigious Institute of European Design in Milan. Kozurno, an accessory designer, creates edgy handmade jewelry using intricate crocheting, beading and leather. She is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz, Poland and launched her first jewelry line in 2005.

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Designed and built by The Leather Atelier. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

Designed and built by The Leather Atelier. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. 

Inspired by the rugged, hand-forged armor of ancient warriors, The Leather Atelier tutu features layered panels of leather in varying tones and finishes. The impression it creates is one of hard-edged fragility – – a warrior’s spirit within a delicate shell, alluding to the combined power and grace of dance. Constructed entirely by hand, the tutu is a both an art object and a functional costume for the stage.

Dedicated to the production of handcrafted leather accessories and art objects, The Leather Atelier applies traditional craft techniques within a contemporary aesthetic. Each piece reflects the commitment and vision of the artist and is timeless in both material and design.

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Designed and built by Shay Lowe Jewelry Design. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

Designed and built by Shay Lowe Jewellery, made with Swarovski Elements. 

Shay Lowe's "Grace and Light" tutu was made with over 2,000 Swarovski Elements and 1,000 hand-stitched ostrich feathers. A custom feathered and crystallized corset is crowned by a signature piece of Shay Lowe Jewellery: a statement necklace encrusted with Swarovski Elements and ostrich feathers. Shay's piece aims to fete The National Ballet of Canada's 60 years of elegant performances and the luxuriousness and sparkle of Shay Lowe Jewellery in partnership with Swarovski Elements.

Shay Lowe Jewellery Design is a designer jewellery lifestyle brand focused on luxury, glamour and beauty from within. The collections are inspired by art, culture, travel, love, society and old world glamour, and each piece has a signature sparkle and bold design. Shay Lowe Jewellery has been featured on the cover of FLARE, at LG Fashion Week, in FASHION Magazine, on Entertainment Tonight Canada and ETalk Daily, at the Emmy Awards, the Gemini Awards and on Breakfast Television.

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Designed and built by Krane Design. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small.
 

Designed and built by Krane Design. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. 

The Krane Tutu reflects the stripped-down aesthetic of leather accessories in the Krane Man line, which draws from minimalist architecture. The designers sought to magnify and draw light to the mesh-like structure of tulle at the tutu’s core by emphasizing the links and threading of the fine fibres. Waxed cotton binding, waxed cord and metal rivets add texture and create unity.

Ken Chow, the Founder and Creative Director of Krane, is a graduate of the menswear program at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Chow worked with Marc Jacobs and Cloak before entering the men’s market with a reinterpretation of an old classic – the waxed cotton and leather carryall. This paved the way for the Krane Man line of outerwear and leather accessories. Krane is now available at specialty department stores and boutiques across Canada, the United States and Asia.

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Designed and built by Klaxon Howl. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small.
 

Designed and built by Klaxon Howl. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. 

Inspired by the Metis of Western Canada and the Military dress of the nineteenth century, Klaxon Howl aimed to fuse a combination of historical textile references to create this tutu. This piece is built out of a combination of fringed deerskin, gold buttons, brocade, scarlet wool, piping, velvet and grosgrain.

Klaxon Howl opened its doors in Toronto, September 2005 and offers a mixture of house label, heritage brands and premium vintage. With the growth of the house label, the flagship Queen Street Store opened in 2011 and is devoted entirely to the Klaxon Howl label. They are extremely proud of the fact that all their clothing is produced locally, using old construction techniques, natural fabrics and quality notions.

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Designed and built by Micalla. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

Designed and built by MICALLA. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. 

Inspired by the duality of the ballerina herself, this tutu is poise meets power, artistry meets achievement, desire meets dedication, passion meets performance and tutu meets tux.

MICALLA was born in 2007 when a close friend of Danish-born designer Camilla Jørgensen was diagnosed with cancer. Jørgensen foresaw difficult times and chose to engage her friend in designing and making jewellery during her regular visits to the cancer ward. Blessedly, her friend recovered and for Jørgensen, the jewellery making stuck. MICALLA jewellery has adorned beauties walking many a red carpet, including the Golden Globes, Toronto International Film Festival, and the Gemini Awards and has been featured on magazine covers and photo shoots.

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Designed and built by Label. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

Designed and built by LABEL. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. 

LABEL designers Shawna Robinson and Natalie Sydoruk used the rounded nest shape of a tutu to imagine it as a bird’s nest. Just as a bird uses cast off materials to build its nest, they repurposed their scrap fabric to create this one of a kind tutu for the National Ballet. Lighter coloured fabric is used towards the bottom layers of the tutu to create an ombre effect.

Robinson and Sydoruk have been collaborating since 2009 on their clothing line, LABEL. The idea was born out of their mutual desire for quality clothing that fit their unique lifestyles, desiring clothing that was intelligently designed with comfort, sustainability and wearability in mind. Their clothing resists the urge to define its wearer, but instead invites the wearer to define the clothing.

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 Designed and built by Juma. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 

 

Designed and built by Juma. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. 

The Juma Tutu focuses on the multifarious forms of exchange fueled by tribal themes and sensuality, and investigates the role these affective transactions play in contemporary ballet.

Juma creates progressive ready-to-wear garments and accessories using digital prints inspired by art and travel. The designers behind the label, Alia and Jamil Juma, are siblings who share a passion for travel, having lived in such exotic locales as Kenya, Congo and Kazakhstan. Alia attended George Brown College and has worked as an assistant designer at various design houses. A graduate of McGill University with a degree in Biosystems Engineering, Jamil worked as an investment strategist before turning to fashion.

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Designed and built by Lundstrom Collection. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small. 


Designed and built by the Lundström Collection. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. 

The Lundström Tutu is a multi-dimensional art object featuring over 300 feathers across numerous layers. Small ostrich feathers interlaced at the base of the tutu sit beneath layers of eagle feathers in both natural and artificial colours. The black and white design draws attention to the texture of the feathers, which becomes the focus of the garment.


The Lundström brand embodies luxury and heritage from the inside out. Established in 1974, Lundström features collections of statement coats and coordinated sportswear and appears regularly in the pages of Flare, Fashion, Elle, More, Chatelaine and Women's Wear Daily. All garments bearing the Lundström label are produced in Toronto at the state of the art manufacturing facility of Eleventh Floor Apparel Ltd.

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 Designed and built by Comrags. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi. Small.   

 

Designed and built by Comrags. Selected by the Fashion Design Council of Canada. 

The Comrags Tutu incorporates elements from nature to evoke shared qualities of movement within the Canadian landscape and The National Ballet of Canada. Oak and Maple leaves imply strong roots, growth and longevity; sparkles suggest magic, whimsy and the onset of the Canadian winter; and feathers are indicative of flight.

Joyce Gunhouse and Judy Cornish are the creative team behind Comrags, one of Canada’s most recognizable fashion labels. Graduates of the Fashion Design program at Ryerson University, Gunhouse and Cornish were quick to forge a collaboration based on their shared design sensibility and strong work ethic. Now in its 28th year of business, Comrags creates clothing for self-confident, modern women who favour “prettiness with an edge.”

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