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Victorian ballerinas!

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:14 pm
by beta pleated sheet
Wow, it's been a long time since I've been over here! Anyway, I've been sewing a lot, dancing a lot, and now I'm back here with some new questions.

I'm starting to research a project for the distant future (won't need it til spring 2015, but I might start construction sooner): late 19thC ballerina. Just happened to mention it to an artist friend, and now he'd begging me to do it so he can paint me...anyway. I'm still not entirely settled on what I wanna do with this, either something inspired by the pretty Degas painting, or a little bit later like Peirina Legnani or Anna Pavlova. Onto the questions, they apply either way.

Anyone know any good resources for this sort of thing? I've come across a few websites that describe 19thc ballet attire, but, even though the info was detailed, didn't cite any sources, so BLEH!

And, the undergarments! Thank you Degas for the painting showing dancers practicing developpes that shows a glimpse of their drawers, but there's more I'm puzzles over. So, the shillouettes in those paintings suggest some kind of fairly normal corset. Cool. I just looked at a ton of photos of Legnani today and it's very obvious she's wearing a corset. Double cool. The thing is, I'm a little puzzled over how to get that loverly corsetted shape yet still keep enough range of motion. In the photos I've seen it's clear that the dancer's don't have the same range of motion in the spine and have adjusted their technique to compensate (like this photo, today it would be incorrect to lean forward like that: http://www.balletto.net/giornale.php?articolo=1114), and that's fine. I'm concerned over the hips. I've tried dancing in my corset, and the dancers in the photos have much great range of motion in the HIPS than I do with a corset on. The obvious solution that I thought up is to make a corset that's cut higher in the hips, but are there any other, less obvious choices? Trying spiral boning maybe? ( always use flat or cable ties!)

Re: Victorian ballerinas!

Posted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:44 pm
by kellydofc
I don't know anything about this but I did think that a sport or negligee corset might work.

Re: Victorian ballerinas!

Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:07 pm
by Corsetière
A typical Victorian corset will allow your plenty of range of motion. They were generally cut fairly high on the hip - relatively speaking. My friends and I wear modern corsets to go out dancing pretty frequently and we've achieved some pretty crazy (and sometime hilarious) moves in them - so a grand jete should be child's play! :)

Re: Victorian ballerinas!

Posted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:40 pm
by beta pleated sheet
I've tried jetes and grand battement in the corset I have now when I did a cancan dress, but it was a no go. Though, I'm will to admit that maybe I screwed up the fit either by making it too long or too tight in the hip area. Heh, I'll take any excuse to splurge and make a better fitting new corset!

Re: Victorian ballerinas!

Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 5:54 pm
by Bookwyrm
You could cut the hips large, so it doesn't restrict movement (the tutu will cover up the bottom edge, so the extra fabric shouldn't be visible. You could also use elastic hip sections to give a larger range of motion. Or as you said, cutting the hips up higher. I would probably take a well-fitting corset pattern and make up each version. See what works best, or if some combination (high and loose / high and elastic) would help more.