The Tutu Project

The Tutu Project


The Actress

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

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.

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Top image credit: The National Ballet of Canada tutus on display. Photo by Setareh Sarmadi.