Ballet has been known as an exclusionary field for people of color. Due to the uniformity required of ballet dancers to blend in with their peers, many dancers still have to manually dye their shoes to match their skin tone, which can mean spending up to $770 in shoe makeup each month; this automatically gives an advantage to white dancers. In October, dance supplier Freed of London began producing pointe shoes for dancers of color. The shoes come in two shades, brown and bronze, marking a great step in support of dancers of color. Cira Robison, a senior artist at British dance company Ballet Black emphasizes, “I can just put them on and dance. I know that many people will be like, ‘O.K., it’s just a shoe.’ But a ballet dancer loves their shoes like a basketball player loves their basketball. They’re mine. They’re a piece of me.”
For Further Reading:
Misty Copeland, the first black female principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, speaks about the “bittersweet” nature of making history.
Some people may argue that shoes are “just shoes,” but how can barriers like these limit a person’s sense of belonging within an industry?
Check out Ballet Black and see if they are performing at a city near you!