Tutu.Com - About Our Staff
Just a bit of information about all the names, faces, and voices here at Tutu.Com.
Use your Browser's BACK BUTTON to return to the last page you were viewing,
or use the Text Links Below to visit elsewhere on our website.
Ms. Claudia R. Folts
click for larger view|
Founder, President, and CEO
With over 35 years as a professional dancer and director onstage and backstage, in the classroom and the design shop,
as a teacher and a student, and as a school owner, company director, dancewear boutique owner, and author, Claudia is uniquely qualified in all things ballet.
She trained with the Harkness House for Ballet Arts in NYC, and began her professional career with the school's Harkness Dance Theatre.
She went on to dance with the Baltimore Ballet, Ruth Page's Chicago Ballet, Alphonso Cata's Ballet on Broadway, and The New York City Opera.
During this time, she became involved in costuming, and discovered a true passion and talent for the art.
After retiring from the stage, she founded Charlotte City Ballet and The Charlotte City Ballet School, sending many dancers on to the professional world at companies like Joffrey, ABT, NYCB, and many others.
She also opened Dancewear and More!, a retail dancewear boutique, began writing books on costume design and construction, and developing patterns for ballet-oriented costumes and dancewear.
Today, she is considered one of the leading authorities on dance costuming,
and her books and patterns are in use by professional and amateur costumers at ballet companies and schools all around the world.
Her designs have been commissioned for performance and competition, film and television, print and advertising,
and have won numerous awards and acclaim.
Her tutus and costumes are worn by professional, semi-professional, amateur, and student dancers on stages in countries all around the world.
She has designed and/or created tutus and other costumes for several prestigious dance companies,
including Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, The Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre-II, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Charleston Ballet Theatre, Ballet San Jose, and many others,
for many RDA companies, for special events such as the 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and ABC's Extreme Makeover,
and for dancers competing in the International Ballet Competition (IBC), New York International Ballet Competition (NY-IBC), Youth America Gran Prix (YAGP), Prix de Lausaune, and in regional, national, and international pageants and competitions,
and for numerous guest artists.
Ms. Folts remains much in-demand to teach dance and costuming, to choreograph, set, and stage-design, and to costume individual dancers and entire ballets.
If a particular tutu or costume especially caught your eye, it may well have been "A Claudia" - a phrase we've heard backstage more than once!
Alexis is our Assistant Sales and Operations Manager.
She handles most of the 'front-office' - phones and email - and much of the 'back-office' - cutting, picking, and packing-up to ship.
She is quite serious about her job, and always seems to be running from somewhere 'here' to elsewhere 'there', but at the same time she's always fun to be around!
We really can't say enough about all she does around here - we ask a lot of her, and she always delivers!
Ms. Jessie & Ms. Sarah
They are both full-time Art majors at UNC-Charlotte, but here at Tutu.Com they are Charter Members of the "Sweatshop Crew", and Claudia's 'right & left hands'.
Extremely fast and incredibly accurate stitchers, they can do nearly anything with a sewing-machine, serger, or by hand.
But, they are both also very talented designers and colorists in their own right.
Jessi's Tiara designs are 'knock 'em dead'!
And Sarah's skill at decorating tutus and coordinatiing colors is 2nd to none... well, 2nd only to Claudia's!
As our resident math wizard, Jessi can figure fabric amounts with lightning speed one minute, then tutor Claudia's algebra-challenged daughter the next.
She's very quiet and very reserved - most days, the machines make far more noise than she does.
The oldest of about 27 kids (or so it feels to Jessi), we figure having all those brothers and sisters is why she so easily deals with all the daily drama and noise around here!
Sarah is even more quiet and reserved than Jessi, which we all thought was impossible.
But, there IS more than enough daily drama and noise here to go around.
And special note, Sarah's very first personally-designed Classical tutu was purchased by a well-known Principal Dancer at a top-tier Ballet Company!
Ms. Zelda Lipschitz
We'll probably never put up this photo.
Zelda's pretty much just hanging out here during the day (and occasionally later into the evening than we like).
She's here to keep us laughing - the stories you should hear! -
and for us to keep her off the stage, away from backstage, and out of trouble.
We try not to let her near the phones or email (or the website), but... if you find yourself talking to a crusty old broad
with a heavy Bronx accent, who just called you 'Dearie' in a voice sounding like she was raised on Lucky Strikes and Jack Daniels,
well then, you're talking to Zelda - please be nice!
Some days a dancer, some days a student, some days a teacher - but everyday a dance professional.
Melissa knows ballet - from costuming to dancewear, fabric to pointe shoes.
She's only here part-time, depending on her dancing, classroom, and teaching schedules, but she always knows what she's talking about.
Some days he pronounces it Zay-vee-er, some days Hah-vee-ay - we never know for sure which it will be.
Xavier's a little like Zelda - a back-stage critic, often helpful, sometimes in the way, a great friend, and lots of hilarious stories.
He's mostly a 'Southern boy', but manages to call just about everywhere 'home' - beach, mountains, city, country, north, south (and will tell you in a heartbeat he 'grew up' somewhere near wherever you are - believe him).
He pretty much knows what he doesn't know, so we DO trust him on the phones and with email.
Sadly, this frightening image is actually pretty darn close :)
Michael spends most of his life in what we (sort of) jokingly call the 'Bat Cave', keeping our computers running,
handling the mundane daily operations, and trying to keep the website, catalogs, books, and forms current.
He surfaces on occasion for food and sleep, and to ask what season and year it is.
We can usually get him outdoors (during the day!) a couple of times each year, but the sunlight blinds him,
and the neighbors tend to complain about the glare.
He seldom answers the phone, but if you do talk to him - please be gentle, we need him!
Flea-Flea, Carly, Roxie, and Jake - Our Menagerie
They help keep us grounded, 'in-touch', and stress-free.
click for larger view|
Our 'grey ghost' kitty Flea-Flea has lived with Claudia since the early 1990's, and considers herself the resident 'expert' on tutu design, color selection, and all decorating choices.
She has an affinity for pinks and purples, prefers Classical tutus over Romantics, and loves lace, amethyst rhinestones, and anything satin.
Carly is our 96-pound 'guard-dog' - you may hear her in the background as she notifies us of every 'trespass' by UPS, FEDEX, and the Post Office.
From her point of view, 'it may be the same guy, but it's a different day!'
She's very loyal and very sweet (but not always very bright).
Roxie (our 'European' kitty) has little interest in dance or costuming, but will sometimes visit the shop to offer a faintly-accented (and often ill-timed) critique now and then.
We think our 'Big Orange' kitty Jake was 'New York garment-district' in a former life. Never a critic, he loves hanging out in the shop, especially on the cutting table, and has a serious fondness for feathers (we have to keep them locked away on a very high shelf).
A Special Note of Sincere Appreciation and Thanks to:
Mr. Alun Jones, for all of his support and advice over the years.
Ms. Kellie Sheehan of the NYCB Costume Shop, for teaching us the techniques of creating those gorgeous hand-wired tiaras.
Ms. Cheryl Beasley, for her pattern-grading skills and a lot of moral support.
Ms. Betsy Blackmore of North Carolina Dance Theatre, for being there when needed, and for keeping us laughing with her wonderful daily emails.
Ms. Lorin Hawkins for a lot of very incredible graphics work, way back when.
Use your Browser's BACK BUTTON to return to the last page you were viewing.
www.tutu.com - Tutu.Com Inc. PO Box 472287, Charlotte NC 28247, USA
All images and logos are the copyrighted property of Tutu.Com, Inc., unless otherwise noted
Tutu.Com, Get the Pointe Dancewear, Developpé Publishing, & Developpé Designs,
are registered trademarks of Tutu.Com, Inc.
© ® 1997-2012 All Rights Reserved