Ballet Black is a professional ballet company for international dancers of Black and Asian descent. Ballet Black aims to bring ballet to a more culturally diverse audience by celebrating Black and Asian dancers in ballet.
Ballet shoes have always been produced in a peach-pink colour that never matched dancers with darker skin tones. Therefore, Ballet Black has decided to collaborate with shoemaker Freed to create UK's first pointe shoes in bronze and brown colourways that can match a wider variety of skin tones. It is a massive step towards inclusivity, especially in the dance space, and especially in the climate we are currently in. Before this, dancers would 'pancake' their shoes, which was when dancers would cover their pointe shoes in makeup that would match their skin tone. It had become a regular part of 'show biz' for these dancers; however, with these new ballet shoes, the technique of 'pancaking' will soon be of the past.
Director Casso Pancho said that it may seem a shock to those outside of the ballet world that these offerings were not available until now.
"The first thing they say is, 'that took long enough!'"
Freed is now looking at creating tights that match the new ballet shoes. Traditionally, ballet dancers would wear pale pink tights with their shoes.