We all know that "nude" colored leos, technique shoes and tights have a woefully limited definition of "nude." Dancers with darker skin tones are hard pressed to find something that works for them, since regularly available colors only work for people with light, pink-toned skin. Everyone remembers Michaela DePrince's mom in First Position, talking about hand-coloring her daughter's tutu straps, right? Yep, not cool.
And that's not even considering pointe shoe preparation, which already requires an intense time commitment. Dancers with dark skin might want their tights and shoes to match their skin and thus extend their line (just like pink tights and shoes blend to extend a fair-skinned dancer's line). They have to pancake like mad, hope they don't get the box too soggy, and waste precious recovery and rest time on a ritual that just drives home how different they are. Now, Gaynor Minden is trying to change the game.
The company has released two new options for their pointe shoes: "Core Colors" in Espresso and Cappuccino. These colors could be worn as-is, but they're actually meant to be base colors for further customization. Now, instead of applying three layers of pancake, a dancer might only need to add a light coat.
This is MAJOR. It's inclusivity in action, and the company is planning to expand from here, adding more colors. We can only hope that other pointe shoe manufacturers catch on, because not everyone chooses to wear Gaynors.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?