In the world of professional ballet, ballerinas of color are few and far between. Because of this, “nude” ballet shoes, which are various shades of tan and pink, have become an industry standard. But on brown skin, pink and tan ballet shoes can shorten the silhouette.
To compensate for the lack of brown and bronze pointe shoes, brown-skinned ballerinas would ‘pancake’ their point shoes, “the tedious and time-consuming act” of applying matching foundation makeup to their shoes. The practice is unjust, expensive, and it wears out the shoes more quickly.
We’ve gone behind-the-scenes at Freed of London before. Plus, watch this: Brown Ballerinas – Inside the Dance Theatre of Harlem.