Balanchine Net: what is it, where is it, how it is.

Going through my fabric just now I came across this little bit of Balanchine net,

It’s white IRL, but lookit how cool it looks with the weirdo blue filter!
This bit is left-over from a petticoat I made for a friend to fluff up her wedding dress, not a tutu, but the dad of my friend did report that when the postal service dropped off the giant box housing the petticoat, and he bent to lift it, it floated up into his arms, lighter than air.
Started thinking about Balanchine net and wondering why it isn’t called Karinska net, since she was his costume designer and a major innovator in tutu construction, but then she has the Karinska bodice named for her, so maybe that’s fair, to spread the naming around, since they were in many ways collaborators.
And then I started wondering if Karinska and Balanchine actually invented Balanchine net, when they developed the powder-puff tutu, and if maybe that’s why it’s named for him, and that would totally make sense except that I’ve never heard any mention of him being involved in textile design.
So then I started to google “was Balanchine net invented by Balanchine” but only got as far as “was Balanchine” before the googles auto-filled the rest of the sentence as “was Balanchine married?”
And then I had to stop and lol for a little while.
Never found the answer.
Did find that there is a lot of mis-information about tutus on the internet, including one site referring to the soft bell-shaped tutu as seen in works by Degas as being rigid and hooped. I mean, come on, website, you just called it soft and bell shaped, how is it also rigid? Also, where exactly would this hoop be? At the knee? It would be a cone, not a bell! Plus how’s she gonna penché all hoop-hobbled like that?! Sheesh.
But I’m not an expert, so I can’t go around being the Tutu Police or anything.
Anyway, Balanchine net!
It is also called tutu net, a name which was obviously dreamed up by a think-tank, and it is distinguishable from other nets and from tulle by its large-ish diamond shaped openings and it’s stiffness, which, combined with the shorter radius of the powder puff (as compared to the classical flat) and the fewer layers, allows the tutu ruffles to be self-supporting without a hoop.
And this allowed Balanchine to choreograph without fear of tutus interrupting his ballets with their bouncy hoop-driven reverb.
So hooray for Balanchine net! Balanchine net saves the day!
Ok now I’m going to go throw away this little piece.
Don’t cry, it’s not enough to do anything with, plus I still have some yardage on a bolt.
Which I should also get rid of because it’s also not enough to do anything with. But I don’t want to.
So there.

About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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7 Responses to Balanchine Net: what is it, where is it, how it is.

  1. OH MY GOD I hate powderpuff tutus!
    Ahem. Anyway.
    We’ve always called it “diamond net”, which probably just makes it one of those things that everyone has a different name for and ends up being a massive pain in the butt to reference or shop for.

  2. guyenne says:

    You couldn’t make a doll tutu or a hair scrunchie with the little bit left? I had friends who wore their toddler size tutus as hairbands later on …

    • It’s pretty stiff and scratchy stuff…but now I feel bad about just getting rid of it. Dang it, I was so close! It’s so hard to let fabric go!
      Ok I got it- I’ll put it in the bag of stuff to donate to the thrift shop. Somebody else will have the perfect use for it.
      Pheeeeeeew sigh-of-relief.

  3. pat0003 says:

    1. The name “Balanchine net” I believe came about when he had it sent from England and some how the shops in the US that made his tutus started calling it that. Balanchine did uses other designers. I believe that when he first came to the U.S. he wasn’t working with Karinska.

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