An excerpt from Out & About NYC Magazine Article by Claudia Folts from the Series: O&A NYC More Harkness Stories published 4/3/2023 in preparation for the live screening of An American Ballet Story, a documentary about the the all too short life of the Harkness Ballet at New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

To me, [Harkness] was a magical place – beautiful studios, art, elegant marble staircase, and everyone there was beautiful. As with all art, there is often darkness underneath, supporting the beauty. That was Harkness.
I learned that creating true beauty comes from a blending of the imperfect, the unexpected, and the elegance of the invisible silence in between. I learned to look at things three dimensionally, and not always linearly.

[My experience at Harkness] has informed my life over the past forty-plus years. It made it possible for me to see how to transform fabric into shapes that mirror parts of the dancer’s body and become tutus. For me, it wasn’t the performing that made me happiest. It was teaching others and constantly teaching and re-teaching myself.

Today, as Creative Director at, I work with a talented team of costumers. We make custom tutus and other dance costumes for ballet companies, schools, university programs, television, film, and some fashion magazines. We have a stock of rental tutus, and we teach others from all over the world to make tutus.


Read Claudia's complete article on how her experience at Harkness Ballet impacted her personal and professional growth at

Claudia R. Folts has made numerous tutus for ballet companies, freelance dancers and arts schools – her creations can be seen on-stage worldwide. She is co-owner of Tutu.Com, a Professional Ballet Costume Shop and retail business specializing in all things related to ballet costuming. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Claudia is available for workshops in tutu construction, as well as construction of other costumes for dance. She has published several books and patterns on costume design for dance, including “The Classical Tutu Book”, “The Romantic Tutu Book”, “Classical Ballet Costumes for Men”, “Classical Tutus for Children”, “The Ultimate Ballet Skirt”, and “Finishing Touches: The Art of Embellishment”. Claudia lives in Charlotte, NC, and works for Tutu.Com, TutuSchools, and as an author.