Ballet dancer creates ‘Tulip’ skirts for all
When Tracy Jones, a professional ballet dancer with Barcelona Ballet began sewing her way through an injury, I was intrigued to know more. Launching her business, Tulips by Tracy as the resulting skirts became popular, Tracy has a number of high-profile clients who say :
“Tulips by Tracy are very versatile classical skirts. I love the variety of lengths, suitable for any classical rehearsals, and also the variety of fabrics, from elegant to whimsical prints.”
Adrienne Schulte, American Ballet Theatre
“Tulips by Tracy is a fantastic line of skirts. Beautiful skirts made by a beautiful person….what more could you want! It is important to present yourself well in your everyday work. I am so happy with my Tulip skirt and love knowing that putting it on I will feel and look good. I love flowers, and one of my favorite things is that the bottom of the skirt resembles a Tulip in its shape. Tracy and I have known each other since we were about 14 years old. I am so happy to still know her and be able to wear her beautiful creations.”
Maria Sascha Khan, Bayerisches Staatsballett, Munich
So I asked Tracy how her business, Tulips by Tracy, has developed.
Tracy told me, “I started making Tulip skirts officially last year. Unfortunately, I injured my knee quite badly and it resulted in me having to go through with surgery in September 2011. Afterwards, I was restricted to my living room for quite a while and so to stop me from going crazy, I decided to be creative and started to knit and sew. My first creation was a little sweatshirt for my dog, Peca, which she loves. During the christmas holidays, I came up with the idea to create a ballet skirt. I was in Kentucky, USA at the time visiting my boyfriends family. Lucky for me, his Mum happens to know a thing or two about sewing machines and the right places to go to find some great fabrics so she help me choose a pretty lace chiffon material. I used an old skirt that I liked the style of to cut a pattern and created my first “Tulip”.
When I returned to dancing earlier this year, we were performing Swan Lake. In our production, we hire a number of extra dancers as swans and I received a lot of compliments on my skirt. When I told the girls that I had made it myself, I suddenly had a number of requests to make and sell them. I went about finding some different materials and with the help of some of the girls at Barcelona Ballet, I came up with 4 different designs and a number of fabrics to choose from.
Once I had decided to give my little business a go, I set out with the intention of creating a ballet skirt not already offered to dancers. I find that amongst the many skirt designs that exist today, most only offer the traditional flow and fall of a wrap around skirt sometimes gives off a dated and simple look, not reflective of the athleticism associated with ballet dancers today. My designs are meant to fit tight around the waist to prevent them riding, while falling in a flowing way that allows for maximum movement without any excess material that dancers often complain about.
I have tried to create my designs, with the option to personalize. Right now, you can adjust various lengths, choose a particular material in various colours, or choose from a number of different colour skirt ties. It is important that every dancer who wears my skirts feels unique and special which is why I only purchase a certain amount of each material. As soon I run out of any fabric, I replace it straight away with another.
After gaining experience in shopping for fabrics and doing some math, I became very aware of how over-priced many ballet skirts can be. It is one of my aims to appeal to students as well as professional dancers which is why one of my main points is to make my skirts available at very affordable prices. I know very well how expensive the auditioning process can be, but with Tulips, students have the chance to own a skirt which will both flatter her and help to make her stand out in class without having to worry too much about the cost.
I recently went to New York with Barcelona Ballet and I brought some Tulip skirts along with me. I sent them to the ABT studios via a friend and they all sold in one day. I have since had a number of orders from dancers at New York City Ballet, ABT and various other companies. As I have tried to make Tulips available to dancers all over the world, my postage and packaging is the same for each dancer, wherever they are.”
And Tracey is on-trend too : “I am currently working on an olympic theme of skirts which should be ready in time for the official opening ceremony.”
Win a Tulip skirt
Tracy has made a Jubilee skirt exclusively for Ballet News.
Jubilee Tulip Medium :
Front Length 30cm
Back Length 38cm
All you have to do, to be in with a chance of winning this skirt, is to contact me with your address details and I’ll do the rest.
You can enter from anywhere in the world. If you miss out your address details when you contact me, you won’t be entered into the draw so please do include this information. I’m sorry but it’s not possible to contact everyone who has entered and ask for this information – it needs to be provided by you when you enter the competition.
I’ll put all the entries into a shoe and draw the winner after the closing date of Sunday 27th May 2012.
You can get in touch with Tracy and keep up with Tulips by Tracy in a variety of ways :
The Tulips by Tracy website
Cupcakes & Conversation with Tracy Jones, Corps de Ballet, Barcelona Ballet