Ballet Costumes of the Romantic Era

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Ever since the French Revolution and the fall of the Louis XVI, there has been a purpose, a new era for the ballet community was starting to bloom called the Romantic Era, while also holding onto the origins from the Renaissance Era. The French Revolution made the middle class of France more important creating a wider opportunity for drama, opera, and ballet performances accessible to wider audiences. Since ballet during the Renaissance Era, was more for the royals and wealthy, a lot of items were embroidered with gold essences and made custom for the owner of the costumes. "From the early eighteenth century, European ballet was centered in the Paris Opéra. Stage costumes were still very similar in outline to the ones in ordinary use at Court, but more elaborate.

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Around 1720, the paneer, a hooped petticoat, appeared, raising skirts a few inches off the ground. During the reign of Louis XVI, court dress, ballet costumes, and fashionable architectural design incorporated decorative rococo prints and ornamental garlands." (André, Paul). Costumes were part of a grand design that was defining the Romantic Era along with music, movements, and others. Grand Designs for this type of individuals was a visual empowerment duplicating the power of gods. Even though the Renaissance Era was the start of artist and creators, but the Romantic Era probably perfected and mastered the creations of the artistry of the new world. Ballet dances were focusing on romance, supernatural, and magic. More and more ideas were being explored especially through ballet the "tutu" of the costume. The skirt of the ballerina back in the Renaissance Era was a huge skirt that went all the way down to their toes built with a lot of fabrics. Heavy material made it hard for both female and male dancers especially with all the garments underneath as well. So, researching about the Costumes of the Romantic Era, and discussing the topic in class, was the purpose of the change of garments under the costumes.

As the skirts got shorter, the garments underneath became smaller so it wasn't so noticeable underneath the skirt. Another great garment idea was the corset, where instead of having support for the chest, it more of a secure binding to the body from the corset keeping the chest from moving around and safety for the dancer. Now for the skirt, tooling and soft silk were a major factor in creating beautiful costumes for ballets for the purpose of showing an emotion.

A lot of the ballets created in The Romantic Era had one main idea which was Romance creating the perfect title for the Era. Bell-shaped dresses were very elegant showed off the effort and new look of the choreography portraying the romantic feel of the ballet. And with the new look to the top of the chest was a loose off the shoulders with a sweetheart neckline showing off the collarbone of the ballerina. Less material near the head, shoulders, arms, and feet was to go beyond what the dancers could do in their technique. "Costuming did much to make women look striking on stage… It had a tight bodice and a bell-shaped skirt made of masses of billowing material that reached almost to the ankle. Instead of revealing the dancer's figure, as the light draperies of the previous era had done, this so-called ‘Romantic tutu' concealed it, making the ballerina's bare neck and shoulders the only signs of real flesh and blood. Though dancers later shortened this costume-thereby devising the ‘classical tutu' which displayed the whole leg-it was the Romantic tutu that decisively succeeded in associating ballerinas with supernatural visions." This idea for costumes was used throughout many different ballets in the past, present, and even some future projects as well.

The whole big idea of creating new costumes for the Romantic Era was to have a purpose for the new ballets and technique that was starting to define an new age of creativity. The creations of having performances around love, magic, and the supernatural became more and more popular throughout the Era it produces a stable of how the movements in different types of dances. For Example, jazz, modern, and lyrical can take different movements from the look of ballerinas in their romantic tutus whether it’s facial expressions, arm placements, or even the costumes themselves. These costume choices are the wise decisions made to improve and enhance an amazing art that was going to change the world for the best.

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