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Take Back the Tutu

“The concept “Take Back the Tutu” came about during a small meeting of some of St. Paul Ballet’s dancers and board members in 2014. After discussing our progressive year in which we had become an artist-led company and successfully put on our first full scale performance, we were brainstorming ideas that pertained to the “new” us. Some words that came up were: empowered, courageous, community.

We began to look ahead, wondering how to further reach our audiences and show them who we were. We talked about “Take Back the Tutu” in a number of ways that all came down to one basic concept – breaking down conceptual barriers that come with our art. We began to feel that we could really do something to empower our community and other dancers by sharing our thoughts on what it is to be healthy and happy when the tradition of ballet often involves a certain “look” or body type. We are a diverse company. We come in all shapes and sizes and we all have something different to say about what it is to be a dancer and happy in our own skin.

‘Take Back the Tutu’ is to be empowered to take ownership of our art and throw away the idea that we have to look a certain way to wear the tutu. Our journeys are different and what we each chose to share is as unique as we are. We hope to inspire you to take back your own tutu!”

-Brittany Adams
Company Artist at St. Paul Ballet for 4 seasons


TBTT Lectures for Students and Families


MelroseCenter_colorThese lectures are provided in partnership with Melrose Center professionals.

At Melrose Center, we offer support, encouragement and healing for people struggling with all types of eating disorders. Our team of highly experienced, compassionate professionals are dedicated to caring for you in body, mind and spirit. Melrose uses a multidisciplinary approach that includes medical, nutritional, psychological and behavioral care.



Sunday, February 22 is the first day of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and the first day of our third annual Take Back the Tutu. Started in 2014, the aim of this social media campaign is to tackle the issues and stereotypes surrounding ballet and body image.

St. Paul Ballet is made up of some of the toughest, most compassionate dancers with whom I have ever had the privilege to share a stage. The company that launched Take Back the Tutu three years ago and the company you will see this week make me proud, but for different reasons. Last year we talked about the true meaning of beauty and what beauty in dance meant. This year, the company and organization are taking it a step further. We have not only explored, but adopted the motto “See Beyond Beautiful.” Ballet has always been linked to beauty and its emphasis on the physical form. So starting today, with the help of The Emily Program, the company will share with you what they see when they look beyond that form. We are diving deeper into what it means to wear a tutu and what it means to be a dancer. No one but the dancer can define that, and no one can tell a dancer that any one aspect of them keeps them from being beautiful. Many of us toiled with the theme this year and dared to share more of ourselves with you, our beloved supporters, than we have before.

I commend these brave dancers for being passionate about this cause and being willing to put forth the effort to say something that another person or dancer might really need to hear this week. All humans struggle to see themselves as beautiful sometimes. That’s why it is important to see beyond the physical form of beauty.

As dancers we have to know ourselves very well, or else others define us. All the time we see the headline “Get the Ballet Body.” But really, what is a ballet body? The dance industry is becoming more and more diverse, and SPB is proud to celebrate the beauty in each of its dancers. However, if you spend most of your time outside of the dance world, you might not know how the landscape is changing. That is what this campaign is for: to let you enter the minds of real dancers, with real bodies, expressing the real insecurities, doubts, and fears with which we all wrestle, and to let you see how far “seeing beyond” can take us as a community. I hope you’ll stay tuned to our Facebook and Instagram pages this week as we share ourselves with you and Take Back our Tutus to “See Beyond Beautiful.” All week you’ll read stories of our dancers and glance into their lives in moments captured by our dear friend, documentary photographer Caroline Yang.

I encourage you to look back on our launch of this important project here: And joing our NEDA Walk Twin Cities Twin Cities, MN NEDA Walk Team:…/TR/NEDAW…/General…

Thank you for your support.
— Brittany Adams, Company Member & Communications Manager

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

Special thanks Bohm Commercial Real Estate for the backdrop in this photo.

February 22-28, 2016: OUR STORIES



February 27, 2016: Community Health Fair

SPB is pleased to announce our first community health fair in coordination with our health and wellness series, Take Back the Tutu.

This is a free, informational health fair for the community and our students to obtain further information on topics touched on in their TBTT lectures and make connections with health professionals to build their own support team as they progress in their dance careers. This is a great opportunity for movers of all ages to get information and get involved with local health initiatives, programming, and care options in our community.

Health Fair Presenters include:
Maryann Johnson from New Heights Performance Physical Therapy
Katie Peyton from Dancer Nutrition on Pointe
Amber Genetsky from Orthology Physical Wellness
Melrose Center
The Emily Program
Corepower Yoga Minnesota
Haute Barre
Paragon Pilates
Northwestern Health Sciences University with info on the benefits of accupuncture

February 27th from 4-6pm
655 Fairview Ave N, St. Paul, MN 55104
We are a few blocks from the LRT, an abundance of free parking is also available.

February 28, 2016: NEDA Walk and performance at Mall of America

St. Paul Ballet is proud to support Eating Disorder Awareness and National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). For the second year we will be participating in the NEDA walk to support those in recovery and raise awareness for this vital cause. In addition, The St. Paul Ballet Company will be performing excerpts from “The Work: 4 Women in Choreography” in the Mall of America rotunda. Join our Beyond Beautiful Team, support the cause, walk with NEDA to help save a life!
NEDA Walk Details

February 29-March 4, 2016: Ongoing TBTT lecture series

This unique series promotes the ballet dancer as athlete and celebrates the unique body types of individuals. Professionals in nutrition, physical therapy, neuroscience behind movement, and dance anatomy support the healthy dancer. Four lectures will rotate throughout the year as part of The School of SPB pre-professional curriculum, however the lectures will still be open to all students, parents and the public for FREE! Attend all four lectures as your schedule allows!

Session 1: September 17-20, 2015
Session 2: November 5-7, 2015
Session 3: January 4-21, 2016
Session 4: February 29-March 6, 2016
Nutrition for Dancers with Katie Peyton
Physical Therapy for Dancers with Maryann Johnson
Your Brain on Dance with Martha Streng
Dance Anatomy with Zoé Henrot

 Take Back The Tutu 2015

 Take Back The Tutu 2014


The mission of the Emily Program is to provide exceptional, individualized care leading to recovery from eating disorders. The Emily Program provides the support of therapists, dietitians, and medical staff alongside experiential and specialized approaches, like yoga, music, art, meditation, recreation, and more.