In a massive step for diversity, Ballet shoes for Black and Asian dancers have been released in the UK for the first time. The shoes were only available in limited colours; pink and cream, but now are available in brown and bronze shades.
The company who have designed these handmade pointe shoes are called Freed of London and the new shoes have been featured all over their Instagram feed. Freed of London have collaborated with the ballet school Ballet Black to create these new pointe shoes in the old pink and cream shades but also bronze and brown tones.
Previously, many women had to hand paint their ballet shoes in order to get them to match their skin tone, this practice was called ‘pancaking’ but made the shoes soften quickly and caused women to buy shoes more frequently. Famous ballet dancer Cira Robinson has said that she didn’t think she would be able to find a shoe that would fit her skin colour. But with the help of Freed, now women from all ethnic backgrounds are able to find a pointe shoe to better match their skin tone.
The company have stated that “Freed London are committed to developing shoes to meet the needs of ALL dancers” and have been praised for using their platform to initiate change. This is a massive step in diversity and will hopefully lead to the dance industry becoming more inclusive and welcoming to those from BAME backgrounds.
Shoes like these have existed in the United Sates for over a year but this is the first time that handmade pointe shoes have been made available in the UK. This is a very historic moment in British Ballet history.