With the world’s eye turned to the Black Lives Matter protests and racial justice, the dance community is calling for a wider color palette than just “Ballet Pink.” Pink pointe shoes and tights have long been the standard in ballet, catering to those with skin tones that are light and white enough to match. The tights were originally made pink to closely match the skin color of European dancers, but with diverse dancers on stage, performers with darker skin are either subject to wearing tights that don’t match their skin or spending a lot of time and money on makeup and dye to color their shoes and tights. We are FINALLY saying, “Enough is enough!” Thank you to everyone who signed the various petitions going around calling for inclusive color selections from dancewear companies!
Here are the major brands that are offering, or will offer in the near future, pointe shoes, flat shoes (ballet slippers), or tights in different shades of nude:
1. Gaynor Minden - Gaynor Minden was among the first brands to offer pointe shoes in 3 shades of brown- Mocha, Cappuccino, and Espresso- for no additional cost as a customization option. They also offer tights in these colors, in addition to Black, Tan, and Pink.
2. Freed of London - Freed also offers different shades of shoes, which were released in collaboration with London based ballet company, Ballet Black. Their satin colors include Ballet Brown and Ballet Bronze.
3. Suffolk - Since they began manufacturing in 2000, Suffolk has offered a “Bronze” satin for special order. They announced their plan to offer the “Stellar” and “Spotlight” models in Bronze and Brown satin as a stock option! Suffolk does expect delays on production for this new offer and added to their statement, “Please remember most of our suppliers are not yet out of lockdown due to COVID-19.”
4. So Danca - So Danca has prioritized offering shoes and tights in different colors from their beginnings. Their pointe shoes come in Pink, Red, Mocha, Black, and White, and they have 11 different shades of tights. (They also have VEGAN options of ballet slippers!)
5. Bloch - While they don’t currently have pointe shoes in darker shades, Bloch has stated that it has been in the works for some time and they are committed to releasing more colors. Currently, they do offer some models of flat shoes in different shades. They also have tights in Black and Coffee, alongside 3 different shades of pink… looking forward to the new options they will provide in the future.
6. Capezio - This family owned company released a statement promising that in fall 2020, they will offer darker shades of their “two most popular pointe shoe styles as a stock item available worldwide.” They already offer soft shoes, tights, and leotards in a variety of nude shades.
7. Nikolay - The brand name for Grishko in the USA debuted an inclusive palette of colors for their pointe shoes at the Atlantic Dance Retail Show in LA in February of this year. Due to COVID-19, the official launch was delayed, but the new shades are now available for custom orders. Their flat shoes are also offered in tan and black, maybe they will add more shades in the future?
8. Russian Pointe - Russian pointe currently offers soft shoes, tights, and pointe shoe ribbons and elastic in various shades. They have also announced that their “RP Palette” will include new shades of pointe shoes that will be available on their website soon.
BONUS - Although they don’t make pointe shoes, Blendz Apparel has tights, leotards, and ballet shoes in many shades. They are a pro-approved choice, especially their tights, for their color-match and comfort.
This is just the first step towards making ballet more inclusive, and although these options should have been offered earlier, it is encouraging to see how these big brands are responding to what the dance community truly wants. This is just the beginning- Black Dancers Matter.