Meet 2018 Project Tutu "Runway" Competition First Runner-Up, Jan Kurdin of AJolanBallet. Jan will be on the Judges Panel for the 2023 Tutu Designer Search Contest.
Learn more about Jan and how participating in Project Tutu impacted her costuming journey positively in so many ways in the following 2023 interview.
WHAT’S THE NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS + WHEN DID YOU START IT?
I started my business, AJolanBallet 15 years ago.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO COSTUMING?
I started in the garment industry after my graduation with a design/intimate apparel degree from F.I.T. in ‘86. I interned all through college in menswear. I worked in intimates for many years in design then switched to product development on the retail side. When my 2nd child was born, I was in Ohio doing Sportswear for a retailer. All the overseas travel was too much for me at that point in my family life, having a husband who was doing more overseas travel than me! I started making evening wear for private clients and myself. When my daughter began dancing, I started helping with costumes at the studio. She moved to a boarding facility in 8th grade for ballet. It was then that I connected with my now business partner, and closest friend, who convinced me to go out on my own.
HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT TUTU.COM’S TUTU SCHOOL?
Before I started my business, my daughter’s director asked me to make a tutu and gave me her copy of the tutu manual. It looked like airplane instructions! I started following Tutu.com and participated in their tutu school classes. I’ve met some of my best friends through the Tutu.com community!
TELL US WHAT THE 2018 PROJECT TUTU IN JACKSON, MS WAS LIKE?
Intense, Invigorating. I proved to myself I could make a tutu in the time given. I made new, like minded friends, SO FUN!
WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF PROJECT TUTU FOR YOU?
The time given and you have limited supplies. But that’s also the fun in it!
WHAT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON OR TECHNIQUE/TID BIT YOU TOOK WITH YOU FROM PROJECT TUTU?
I learned not to take the tutu process so seriously. If I made a mistake… let it go.
FAVORITE PART OF PROJECT TUTU FOR YOU?
Comradery - everyone was under the same pressure and stress but Claudia and the Tutu.com support staff made it fun!
HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU FOUND OUT YOU WERE THE FIRST RUNNER-UP?
Great! I bought basic fabrics and supplies for my upcoming season with my $500 gift certificate!
Photo 1 - Jan at 2018 USA-IBC Project Tutu "Runway" Competition Fashion Show explaining her winning design to the audience.
Photo 2 & 3 - Examples of Jan Kurdin / AJolanBallet costumes.
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