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Ballet Black Collaboration with Freed on new Pointe Shoe Colours

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Excellent news, and not before time.  If I remember rightly, Gaynor Mindens now come in “Cappuccino”, “Mocha” and “Espresso” as well as their signature pink.  I wonder if Freed will follow Gaynor Minden’s lead and supply matching ribbons and tights? 

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No, although some dancers only wear elastic - but that’s usually when in “modern” costume when no tights are worn. 

 

In all my daughter’s years of buying pointes and soft blocks at the Freed shop, she’s never bought ribbons at the same time though, because she wears Elastorib or its equivalent - two separate pieces of ribbon with a soft elastic section - which the Freed shop doesn’t sell.  So if any of the Ballet Black dancers - or other black dancers/dancers of colour use Elastorib they might have to pop up the road to Dancia to get Gaynor Minden TLC elasticated ribbons to wear with the Freed shoes - assuming GM also make their TLC ribbon to match the new colours.  ☺️

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I'm remembering Michaela de Prince's lovely mum in 'First Position', dyeing all the 'flesh-coloured' straps and elastic to match Michaela's skin tone. I imagine dancers are equally creative. although I salute Freed's initiative!

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17 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

Thanks so much for posting, this is such an exciting collaboration and a great step forward for the pointe shoe industry. I hope that the major syllabuses now allow the shoes to be worn as uniform.

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8 hours ago, linda.ballet said:

Thanks so much for posting, this is such an exciting collaboration and a great step forward for the pointe shoe industry. I hope that the major syllabuses now allow the shoes to be worn as uniform.

The RAD   confirmed  , on twitter,  that    where their   guidelines  for  examination dress  state 'flesh  coloured'  tights and  shoes    may be worn that is  to tone with the  dancer's  skin tone.  they  were subsequently attacked on that point by   a member of the 'Woman's Equality Party' , citing  a  ?US Dictionary  definition of 'flesh coloured' as a light pink ... , who  have an  unfortunate    habit of  being the   the  white ( and  very assimilated )   middle class cisgender  women  equality Party 

 

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Just featured on tonight's local (London) BBC News.  Quite surprised, actually, given a rather more significant event that happened locally today and wasn't featured, unlike a couple of nights ago :( 

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Whilst I can see all the benefits of such a move. As we all know not one style or size of shoe fits all. And not every dancer can even wear Freeds.  Does that mean that Freeds will all be custom made for each dancer, rather than off the shelf? The ladies referred to being able to walk into a store and buying their own shoes without having to ‘pancake’.    I just hope that now they’ve made the announcement Freeds will keep it going. It’s a huge commercial investment to make. Is it for Ballet Black members only? I also noticed the shank was still the original colour as per pink shoes. Would the under layers of the satin also be of suitable colour as frayed satin could reveal the cotton lining.  I honestly didn’t realise that the colour of a pointe shoe would stop anyone from partaking in ballet classes, as one of the ladies insinuated. Is this a real issue? Can anyone help me out? 

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6 minutes ago, balletbean said:

Is this a real issue?

 

It's one of the issues female dancers of colour bring up. Pink tights tend to look dowdy and grey on darker skin. Pink shoes disrupt the length of lines. 

 

They're special order shoes, though if a shop wanted to keep stock I suspect Freed would send it. It is not just for ballet black members. Hopefully other manufacturers will follow suit and/or already have shoes available. 

 

They are exam legal for both RAD and ISTD (who, I've only recently realised, don't actually have a mandatory dress code, last time I wear white shoes for an exam …). RAD are selling tights of those colours and expect to have soft shoes in those colours soon too.

 

10 minutes ago, balletbean said:

I honestly didn’t realise that the colour of a pointe shoe would stop anyone from partaking in ballet classes, as one of the ladies insinuated.

 

Representation matters: seeing people like you doing something makes it easier to do, easier to get comfortable with. Having a relatively easy way to get shoes that match your skin tone matters. (About as easy as getting boy's gear if you live in Dublin. <sigh>) And the time it really matters is when they're at their most vulnerable in their early teenage years going shopping for pointes.

 

On 04/11/2018 at 22:19, Nicola H said:

a member of the 'Woman's Equality Party' , citing  a  ?US Dictionary  definition of 'flesh coloured'

 

🙄

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1 hour ago, Colman said:

 

It's one of the issues female dancers of colour bring up. Pink tights tend to look dowdy and grey on darker skin. Pink shoes disrupt the length of lines. 

 

They're special order shoes, though if a shop wanted to keep stock I suspect Freed would send it. It is not just for ballet black members. Hopefully other manufacturers will follow suit and/or already have shoes available. 

 

They are exam legal for both RAD and ISTD (who, I've only recently realised, don't actually have a mandatory dress code, last time I wear white shoes for an exam …). RAD are selling tights of those colours and expect to have soft shoes in those colours soon too.

 

 

Representation matters: seeing people like you doing something makes it easier to do, easier to get comfortable with. Having a relatively easy way to get shoes that match your skin tone matters. (About as easy as getting boy's gear if you live in Dublin. <sigh>) And the time it really matters is when they're at their most vulnerable in their early teenage years going shopping for pointes.

 

 

🙄

Thank you. I had just never associated the pink satin shoes and tights as a colour for matching any skin tone. I just saw the colour (ballet pink) that blends the two together for a clean line. After all nearly all ballet tights look peach in colour when new but the colour doesn’t last for long. Which I’ve never understood.

I’ve always believed in a sense of inclusion. If there is just one child in a class that wears the new Freed shoes rather than the standard pink does that help the child to feel part of the class and therefore ballet in general?  Genuine question as I really don’t know the answer. As I’ve always believed that to feel included to be part of something it’s best to all wear the same. 

 

Ps. I’ve just looked at RAD where they do make mention of white ballet shoes for male pupils but Pink/flesh for female candidates. 

Edited by balletbean

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There are ballets which require bare legs and pointe shoes though (Wayne McGregor’s “Infra” as an example) so it isn’t always a case of matching shoes to pink tights for pro dancers.  For BAME dancers who wear Freed shoes, they can now choose to wear shoes that match either their bare legs or sheer tights without having to dye or pancake them.  Gaynor Minden already make several shades of brown pointes so Bloch, the only other manufacturer widely used by professionals, now needs to catch up.  

 

I always found washing tights in a mesh bag, no hotter than 30 degrees, kept the colour well when my dd wore pink tights.  

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1 hour ago, balletbean said:

Thank you. I had just never associated the pink satin shoes and tights as a colour for matching any skin tone. I just saw the colour (ballet pink) that blends the two together for a clean line. […]

 

I’ve always believed in a sense of inclusion. If there is just one child in a class that wears the new Freed shoes rather than the standard pink does that help the child to feel part of the class and therefore ballet in general?  Genuine question as I really don’t know the answer. As I’ve always believed that to feel included to be part of something it’s best to all wear the same. 

 

I think the point is that the uniform is meant to blend the lines of the legs with the line of the arms. 

 

Inclusion depends on how the rules are written. If one boy wears a different uniform from the girls will he not feel part of the class? If the uniform rule is “closest match to skin colour” then that seems fine. 

 

Not that I’d know. 

 

Not even hand washing seems to keep tights pink for very long. 

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3 hours ago, balletbean said:

Thank you. I had just never associated the pink satin shoes and tights as a colour for matching any skin tone. I just saw the colour (ballet pink) that blends the two together for a clean line. After all nearly all ballet tights look peach in colour when new but the colour doesn’t last for long. Which I’ve never understood.

I’ve always believed in a sense of inclusion. If there is just one child in a class that wears the new Freed shoes rather than the standard pink does that help the child to feel part of the class and therefore ballet in general?  Genuine question as I really don’t know the answer. As I’ve always believed that to feel included to be part of something it’s best to all wear the same. 

 

Ps. I’ve just looked at RAD where they do make mention of white ballet shoes for male pupils but Pink/flesh for female candidates. 


that's the interesting  thing  about ballet  tights , despite being fairly opaque  the underlying skin colour  does have an impact ... and  much as they mlook peach in colour when new and in the pack  you  don;t have ot  have massive  legs for them to  look   fairly pale once on ... 

pink tights on a   darker skinned dancer  looks  odd

 

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Indeed, they can do.  I can imagine, though, that once you get to professional performing level a bit of compromise may be necessary.  As a friend recently pointed out, there are times in ballet when the audience needs to be able to see the dancers' legs, and against a dark background dark tights may not show up properly - as we not infrequently point out on this forum, regardless of the colour of the skin beneath them.

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3 hours ago, alison said:

Indeed, they can do.  I can imagine, though, that once you get to professional performing level a bit of compromise may be necessary.  As a friend recently pointed out, there are times in ballet when the audience needs to be able to see the dancers' legs, and against a dark background dark tights may not show up properly - as we not infrequently point out on this forum, regardless of the colour of the skin beneath them.

 

And indeed, when a corps de ballet all has to look the same, and one dancer's feet and legs a different colour from the rest of the corps would look SO much weirder than feet and legs a different colour to that dancer's costume.  Especially when, as there often is, there are white tutus involved.

 

It would never remotely occur to me that a dark-skinned dancer looks "wrong" in a white tutu.  After all, the ballet companies I see regularly have a range of skin and hair colours in the corps, and even the white dancers aren't LITERALLY white.  It's just a costume at the end of the day, and in the case of a corps in a white act, they all need to match to look right.

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And sometimes everyone has to wear chicken suits or dress up as a duck. 

 

The point is not treating white as default skin colour for ballet. 

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