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© Joan Currie

Tutu (noun)
A short projecting skirt worn by a ballerina.

Tulle (noun)
A fine, often starched net of silk, rayon, or nylon, especially used for veils, tutus or gowns.

My parents took me to my first ballet – the National Ballet of Canada’s production of Swan Lake at the O’Keefe Center in Toronto. My love affair with the tutu began on that evening. I was drawn to the midnight black tutu of Odile more than the white tutus of Princess Odette and the corps de ballet –  Tchaikovsky’s powerful musical score may have influenced my preference.

The ballet classes of my youth were based on the Royal Academy of Dance’s rigorous curriculum and strict dress code – tutus were not worn in class. However, my daughters’ early ballet classes were quite whimsical in nature and, until the older girls started taking lessons at the Boston Ballet School, they were able to dance in pink, blue, and even purple tutus – some embellished with lines or starbursts of sequins in the many layers of tulle.