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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Tights and shoes on Darker-Skinned Dancers


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I have a tan/ stereotypical "latina" complexion. I've always worn pink, footed tights to ballet and pointe class, as well as pink or "flesh" slippers or pink pointe shoes (leotards of various colours and styles).There are a few Asian girls in my classes who have a similar skin tone to mine and they also wear pink, or sometimes black capris/stirrups, which I will do on occasion when I am feeling either very bold or very insecure (odd, right?). Dress code is simply "tights, leotard, and ballet shoes" for females. Recently I ordered some tights online and was mistakenly sent a light suntan pair among the pinks. I actually really like the way the look on me, because they make me look like my legs are bare and lengthens my lines, which is what the pink tights do for most fair-skinned dancers.


I have mixed feelings about the tan tights, however. When I see some of the students and professional dancers from DTH or Ailey (regardless of race) with pancaked shoes and tan tights, or dancers like Misty Copeland (whose legs I think are actually quite often bare in photos?) I think their lines look beautifully enhanced. But it also looks a bit more contemporary than classical to my eye. When some of these dancers are photographed in pink tights and shoes, while its doesn't do a great deal for their lines, I still find it to be a pretty, feminine, classical look that is 100% ballet.


So I'd love to hear some opinions... those of teachers included.


Skin tone tights/shoes, or pink, and why? (strictly for ballet).



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For classical work, I prefer pink tights on all skin tones, especially for corps de ballet work as it gives a uniform look. For more contemporary ballet, I feel that is up to the choreographer and what their artistic intentions are. In solo pieces I think it is perfectly acceptable for dancers to wear whatever makes them most comfortable. Shoes...the same. And for classwork, most definitely let your individuality shine!(but since I teach young dancers, I feel that it is important for them to learn to respect ballet's heritage and history so strict adherence to classical attire for them).

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Guest Pas de Quoi

I do not wear tights for normal ballet class and so in this situation I prefer flesh colored shoes for class work, as I feel shoes this color do not "break" the line of the leg because they most closely match the color of my skin. For performance, with classical pink tights, I use, and would never consider anything other than, pink ballet flats and of course pink pointe shoes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It is true that pink or white tights do extend the leg line and make the legs appear much longer. Me, personally, I wear pink most often, and if I don't, I will usually go with a nude color (aka: light toast). I rarely ever wear black unless it is necessary for the costume or I'm doing Irish Dance instead of ballet. I'm afraid I can't answer your question on tights for a darker skin tone because I'm only half Native American and inherited my mother's ivory skin.


But you can try one of my favorite tricks to get shades in between: wear two different colored tights at the same time. For example, if you want your legs beneath your tights to appear more pale in color, wear ivory or pink tights under the tan or nude. On the other hand, if you want your legs to appear as if the skin is darker than it really is, then wear the lighter colored tights over the dark instead.


Try experimenting with different combinations of colors until you find one that you like. (Just be aware that wearing two pairs of tights at the same time will sometimes create an optical illusion of wavy lines that move around all over your legs.)

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