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Origins of the Term - Tutu 

The origins of the term “tutu” are not as elegant, beautiful and romantic as the garment itself. In fact the term tutu seems to have stemmed from a vulgarity.

Legend has it that the term tutu originally came from a slang word used by commoners who attended ballet performances in the mid-1700s.  Typically the rich elite would sit on the upper levels of the ballet theatres and look down on the performances, while the working-class, common folk would sit on the floors below the stage and look up at the dancers as they performed.

Unfortunately ballerinas in the 18th century were not blessed with the new-fangled undergarments we now have today, which meant that often during performances the crowd sitting below the stage got more out of the performance than they bargained for.

Tutu was a name given to the area that was often seen by the commoners under the ballerinas’ skirts. So, in fact, the word tutu was intended as a slang word similar to “crotch."  Though designers eventually figured out a way to eliminate this embarrassing costuming problem, the name tutu stuck.