Diversity in Ballet – Dancewear

It wasn’t until 2016 that dancers of color could find ballet shoes to match their skin tones. Ballet shoes and other dancewear typically came in white and pink to match white dancers. Pointe shoes typically came in “European Pink”. It is important that dancewear match skin tones to create longer lines. Recently this has started to change to reflect people of all colors.

Up until now dancers of color have had to color their pink ballet shoes to match their skin tones. Dancers would buy pink ballet shoes and “pancake” them with makeup, paint them or use shoe polish to match their skin. This routine could take up to 30 minutes before show time. This process also needed to be repeated before every performance because the color easily wore off. This was not only time consuming but dancers had to pay for the extra expenses by themselves. 

Gaynor Minden was the first ballet shoe company to offer pointe shoes in different skin tones in 2016. Then Freed of London followed suit in 2018. Bloch and Capezio recently announced that they will also be offering more shoes in different colors in the fall of 2020.

It is great that more options are being offered and hopefully this trend will continue. If you are looking for canvas, leather or other discount shoes in various skin tones, Discount Dance has a selection and even Target now has brown ballet shoes made by Danskin. 

Freed of London