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Exam uniform for Mixed race & black children?


Katymac
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DD is mixed race (Caribbean Black & UK White) she has always worn pink ballet tights & pink ballet shoes.

 

She started looking for foot thongs recently for a class and realised they came in brown/flesh as well as pink/flesh and was surprised.  We were chatting and then noticed that convertible tights come in more shades too (but we haven't found any ballet shoes/points - but then we haven't really looked tbh).

 

DD was 'wondering' about wearing 'pink' as she is obviously 'brown' and what the rules are; I'm sure her teacher would 'let' her wear 'brown' if it were important to DD - but what about exams?  Who sets the rules for them? Is it the board or the teacher or who?

 

Does anyone know?

 

ATM it isn't an issue at all, but it might become one

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I think most exam boards have set the rules as standard pink tights, and leotard colour appropriate to the grade being taken and wouldn't expect a difference for other race youngsters Katymac. Having said that, it is an interesting point. What do you think of this You Tube clip of Carlos Acosta (who is wearing white tights and white shoes) and Lauren Anderson (who is wearing brown tights and brown point shoes)?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ludEbKilJuc

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Katy, you could get in touch with Ballet Black. As well as being a professional ballet company they run classes for children and it would be interesting to find out what their professional dancers and their students wear in terms of tights, shoes and leotards. I believe that I read somewhere that Michaela de Prince's mother used to dye her ballet shoes brown to match her skin.

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You could look at BalletTalkforDancers a website based in USA, but with several UK members. There have been several discussions there - usually about AA dancers i.e. African American dancers.  I know this doesn't answer your immediate question about exams here, but it might give you some useful information.

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It's a really interesting point and makes me wonder why tights evolved into really quite pink when many people don't even have pink skin (lots of people have yellow, olive or brown tones to their skin) - and why some satin pointes are extremely peachy coloured. I wonder how far back the "pink" element goes?

 

I assume very early ballet from the French courts would have been done in white stockings and heeled shoes.

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I think the whole pink tights and shoes thing is more tradition than anything else, I guess people with darker skin didn't generally do ballet in its formative years.

 

I know the rad makes allowances for religious and cultural reasons so I'm sure they would in this instance too. For example a girl at dd's school was allowed to wear a skirt in her grade 1 exam because her parents (who were asian) felt it was more appropriate and the rad confirmed it was acceptable. She wore tights too when the other girls wore socks but I think tights are allowed anyway.

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This is an interesting point as pink satin ballet shoes and pink tights probably wouldn't match anybody's skin colour!

 

Obviously I'm not in the exam taking category of people taking ballet classes but I always where black tights....so black they certainly don't match anyone's skin colour either!!

 

I suppose one would have to wear "flesh" coloured tights if one is "white" and wanted tights to match skin colour.

 

So there are probably two ways to go really: tight and shoe colours become entirely optional with anything from pink/ lt brown/dk.brown/to black.

 

Or one just stays with the traditional pink because I don't know anyone who actually has pink skin anyway!

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Spanner, E.A Forster in "A Passage to India" described Caucasians as "pinko-gray" :) It stuck as it was so memorable and I always think of it when racists start ranting ;)

Pinko-gray, that is definitely the colour of my DDs ballet tights once I have washed them a few times!

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Of the several Black, Hispanic and Asian children I had in my classes over the years only one had a problem with wearing pink tights.  She was only 7 yrs old but told me quite emphatically that "Black people don't wear pink."   I told her "Black people can wear any color they want to."

 

This was happily seconded by several of the other Black children and adults who happened to hear my answer to her.

 

The only problem I have with dancers in brown/tawney, etc., tights and shoes is that in performance the legs are hard to see.  This is especially true when worn with a tutu which shadows the upper leg.  Dance Theatre of Harlem wore the brownish tights and I found it difficult to see - especially against a darkish background.  If you go to Google images you will see their pictures.

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