Colours of the ballet shoe - level 3
Stretchy and supple, not unlike the dancer who wears them, ballet shoes are undergoing a revolutionary transformation. In a departure from history and the traditional pink colour, the dancing staple will now be produced to compliment other skin tones.
Soloist at the Royal Ballet, Eric Underwood, has until now had to paint make-up onto his shoes to match his skin when performing with bare legs, something white dancers don't have to do.
“I think, obviously, there isn't lots of diversity within ballet, which hopefully is changing, and also, I think that the black dancers that were dancing prior to this, I can speak for myself, I just always, I never thought about it. I just painted my shoes without question, not thinking that flesh tone shoes would be available for me.”
Frustrated at wasting valuable warm up time before shows and the marks left behind when he danced, the ballet star took to social media to vent, leading to a ballet shoe manufacturer to get in touch.
“We recognised the need for darker flesh tones and there wasn't a shoe readily available off the shelf, so hence we've decided to add it to that style.”
The colour has even been named after Eric, but more importantly paves the way to greater inclusion in the ballet world.
Difficult words: stretchy (flexible), supple (flexible, bendable), staple (the thing that people recognize), compliment (to match), bare (naked), diversity (racial variety), prior to (before), flesh (skin), vent (to give free expression), hence (that's why), pave (to prepare, to make things easier).
Do you think ballet shoes should come in more colours?
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