At Last: Ballet Shoes For Black Ballet Dancers

And about time too

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Some dark-toned plasters, tights, a few foundations - the provisions the fashion world makes for people of colour still has a long way to go.

Happily, it looks like the ballet world is taking a (dance) step in the right direction – the ballerina Eric Underwood has helped create what he's claiming is the world's first black flesh tone ballet shoe.

Nine months ago Underwood put out a plea on Instagram asking three companies to produce more than one flesh tone for ballet shoes. The post consisted of a video of Underwood dusting make up on to his own originally pale pink shoes.

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Bloch, one of the companies tagged in the post, has since responded, and over the past few months has been working with Underwood to produce a shoe in a darker colour which has been coined 'Eric Tan'.

Before, there was usually nothing for non-white ballet dancers: "I have to 'pancake' my shoes with make-up before I can go on stage," explains the 31-year-old Underwood. "It's a messy process that can take as long as half an hour at a time, and I need to repeat it regularly because the colour rubs off during performances."

Ballet shoes are traditionally pink in order to blend into the dancer's skin and give the illusion that they're dancing barefoot. What with an increasingly diverse presence in ballet, it's about time black ballet dancers are being given the consideration they deserve.

Image: GETTY

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