• The Reluctant Dance Mom

Finding a True Nude Tight

Ballet tight and shoe trends have swung toward inclusivity over tradition.

Pale ‘ballet pink’ tights and shoes became standard ballerina attire in the late 19th century. The whole idea of this light pink was to make it appear as if the dancer was nude — without the actual illusion that she or he was, since that would be too scandalous! So, every dancer, despite their skin tone, would wear ballet pink.

In the 1970s, this trend shifted, when dancers of color from the Dance Theatre of Harlem declared they would wear brown tights and shoes to complement their skin tone and make their bodies appear as one — as it should be in dance.

According to an article in “Dance Magazine”, dancer Llanchie Stevenson said, “One day, I noticed that my arms were a different color than my legs, I thought that I looked so disjointed. I started wearing brown tights over my pink tights.” The artistic director of the company thought it was a great idea, and the idea that all classical ballerinas should wear tights and shoes that matched their skin tone.

Nowadays, it’s relatively easy to find dancewear that offers various flesh tone shades. Freed of London, the maker of Dreamy Dancers, offers its ballet shoes in a variety of shades. Dancewear lines, like the Mariia True Bare collection, offer six shades of nude leotards, giving dancers of all ages the opportunity to seamlessly match their skin to their tights, shoes, and leos.

Let’s not forget what a big deal this is in the classic world of ballet. The artform has been around since the 15th century — we can all imagine that only a certain shade of dancer was allowed to perform.

It is so refreshing to see such incredible progress made within the confines of the ballet tradition (although it did take much longer than it should have for these changes to be the norm).

Ballet is for all bodies and all genders. The beauty and grace expressed by ballerinas is now more apparent when the dancers are comfortable performing in complementary attire.

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