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pirouttes in kilts


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During dress rehearsal Ballet Mistress noticed too much was showing (TMI!). So we wore shorts/briefs. Taking a cue from Queen Victoria, we used kilt safety pins to keep the kilt down. I'm wondering if it is safe to use kilt pins while dancing?

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Should be. Scotsmen have been doing it for years. Of course, what they did to produce their kind of "precautionary drawers" was to catch the shirttails, which should come down to your knees, in a belt, then pass the back tail through the legs to the front and under the front tails up to be tucked up under the belt. Then pass the front tails through the legs to the back and tuck them up under the belt. All this is hidden by the waistcoat when the several layers of clothing are finished.

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In ballet, one ends up seeing under just about any skirt or skirt-like garment that doesn't go below the knees. That is due to the high range of motion required of the legs in ballet. Good to keep in mind when designing what to wear underneath.

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I just had to change the direction of the Men's blog to something more manly.


In class this morning, I got so many questions from the ladies about wearing a Kilt:


Were You cold?


Did you wear something underneath?

(like a good Scotsman (partial) I admitted nothing)


Was the Kilt itchy?


Was it dry-cleaned?


Did you shave your legs?

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Did you wear something underneath?


To which a true Scotsman would have answered, "I'm a man of few words. Gie me your hand."


And there is nothing more manly than wearing the kilt. It takes a tough man to wear one.

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If you Gorgle Queen Elizabeth and kilt, the question will be definitively answered.



'Nuff Said

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I would never THINK of Gorgling Queen Elizabeth, fine figure of a woman that she is notwithstanding! :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

The question about "what do they wear under the kilt", is an old one. Never ask a drunken Scotsman that, because he'll likely show you!. :) Below is a sidebar story about executing pirouettes in kilts, (and yes, in ballet, undergarments are always worn. BTW: Personally, I never shaved my legs. Though, I may have reduced drag, like an Olympic sprinter, if I had!) :blushing:


I recall when I was in my early 20s performing James in "La Sylphide" in the first seasons of Washington Ballet. We used a real kilt, not the light version usually designed for the ballet. With coaching from some Danish mentors, I learned to manage all those pirouettes, and worse, double tours wearing the kilt. Most of the tour pirouettes are en dedans in the many variations in the ballet. If you use the preparations properly, then increase the amount of normal plie and push off the back foot in grande fourth, the dancer can mitigate the affect of drag created by the centrifugal force of the billowing kilt.


But the double tours that occur at the end of last variation in the White Ballet "suite" portion of the ballet: triple e'chappe'e (aka: Entrechat six to out second to entrechat six in to fifth non change'), soussus, plie', double tour change'. Repeat left, then right. There is a phrase that finishes it ending with en dedans pirouettes, but the double tour tends to cause the dancer to "run out of gas" (aka "hit the wall"). In the last performance, I didn't have enough energy to do a full double tour, and finished facing up stage, thus swiveling around to front in fifth position. (It was cheating, but thinking on my feet!) Lesson learned for a young dancer: I should have felt how rubbery my legs were and opted for a single tour. In viewing the video, I have a good laugh to this day.


So, though no advice was asked for, I have coached other dancers doing both Gurn and James in "La Sylphide", and I think I could contribute something useful here....


Long story short; use more preparation to execute tours in kilts than you would without them. Consult with female colleagues regarding how they do it wearing romantic tutus. Though, pointe shoes reduce floor drag, the feel of centrifugal force has a similarity to kilts, and an experienced danseuse might be able to give a dancer some perspective on kilts.



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Have you tried a romantic tutu? I would expect it to weigh only a small fraction of a full kilt.


I'm wondering why they did NOT use a lightweight stage kilt. Doing so would have been consistent with so much of other ballet costuming.

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