May Asaki Ishimoto, the daughter of Japanese immigrants, was an established wardrobe mistress from the 1960s to 1990. Her illustrious career spanned three major ballet companies: the National Ballet in Washington, DC; the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center in New York City; and the American Ballet Theatre, also at Lincoln Center in New York City.
This tutu was made for Marianna Tcherkassky, one of the first Asian Pacific American prima ballerinas, for her title role in Giselle. Ms. Tcherkassky continues her career with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
Gift of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Ms. Marianna Tcherkassky. Photo by Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.