Blueberry Plant Tutu

Rosella Cecil and Melina Bertsekas
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Melina:
The Blueberry Plant Tutu:
A tutu growing blueberry branches from its center, bringing together a modern dancer named Louisa's youthful passion for ballet and her strong roots in her home on a Vermont blueberry farm. The Sugar Plum Fairy-inspired frame supports stalks of the blueberry plant extruding from the waistline, a connected inner elastic belt allowing the user freedom of motion. 

In a society where people often feel the need to conform, a striking individual like Louisa Mariem stands out. Louisa is an expressive, goal-driven, forward-thinking, and insightful dancer for Heidi Latsky Dance, born and raised on a Vermont blueberry farm with her family. To this day, the blueberry branch is a symbol to Louisa of her strength, grounding her in her identity, so much so that she has one tattooed on her upper arm. Brought up as a professional ballet dancer from a very young age, Louisa fell in love with the art and techniques of ballet, and dreamed to one day play the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. However, as Louisa explored other physical creative outlets, she realized that modern dancing was a much better fit for her innovative, though ballet-inspired, ideas. Now, Louisa shares herself confidently with the world as a part of Heidi Latsky’s On Display performances, challenging assumptions of what dance is “supposed to” look like and advocating for making dance accessible to all ranges of ability.

Our goal was to showcase Louisa’s strong and loving roots at her home in the Vermont blueberry farm that shaped her, while also demonstrating how her childhood passions developed over time into a unique expression of her personality. By displaying Louisa’s supported individuality while also showcasing the love that got her there, the Blueberry Plant Tutu captures Louisa’s identity as a person and dancer. The costume is built from a white, contemporary-style ballet tutu frame, adorned with white branches, blueberry plant leaves, and 3D-printed blueberries spreading out from the center. White elastic grips the waist, while additional white elastic attached from the waist band to the inner hoop allows for great support, and a great range of motion! Pairing classical and modern, as well as natural and urban styles, the Blueberry Plant Tutu captures Louisa's spectacular journey.


Rosella:

Louisa is a former ballet dancer who grew up on a blueberry farm in Vermont who currently dances for Heidi Ladsky Dance, a dancing group that breaks down the barrier between those who are disabled and those who are able-bodied. When Louisa was still doing ballet, she found that it was not expressive enough and did not allow her to show her full personality. The Blueberry Plant Tutu allows her to express herself and have a meaningful connection with her outfit. The Tutu is made of a frame with blueberry branches growing up and out from the center. The spiderweb style of the frame allows the blueberry plant to grow freely with lots of support. The tutu is connected to the body with an adjustable elastic waistband. The tutu frame is pulled up over the user’s legs and hips and is connected to the smallest point of the waist with an adjustable elastic band, making for a comfortable wearing experience. 

 Louisa has tattoos of very meaningful things in her life, like a blueberry branch on her arm. Tattoos are against the traditional "rules" of ballet wear, but ever since Louisa was young, she has been breaking these rules in favor of self-expression. Ballet was a big inspiration for Louisa when growing up, especially the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker. The inspiration for the pattern of the Blueberry Plant Tutu comes from the design worn by the Sugar Plum Fairy.