Throughout her career, Cira Robinson-like many ballet dancers of color-has followed a tradition of painting her toe shoes with the same color as her skin tone.
The first time she did this was in 2001. She was 15 at the time and participated in a project in the Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York. The troupe said her shoes had to be brown instead of the traditional pink, but she couldn't find the brown shoes in the store and used spray paint. "Spraying the shoes to harden them is really ... disgusting," she said in an interview over the phone.
她第一次这么做时，是在2001年。当时她15岁，在纽约参加哈莱姆舞剧院(Dance Theatre of Harlem)的一个项目。舞团说她的鞋子得是棕色的，而不是传统的粉色，但她在商店里找不到棕色鞋子，于是用上了喷漆。“喷漆让鞋子变硬，真是......很恶心，”她通过电话接受采访时说。
A few years later, she entered the dance theater and began to paint her shoes with cosmetics. "I'll go to the cheapest cosmetics store and buy foundation," she said, the kind of "you will never use foundation on your face because it will make your face acne. It can be as cheap as $ 2.95."
Every week she uses five tubes of foundation and uses a sponge to apply color to 12 to 15 pairs of shoes-a process called "pancakes" in the ballet circle. She says it takes 45 minutes to an hour to color a pair of shoes because she wants to make sure that the foundation can enter every gap and completely cover the ribbon.
Does she find these steps annoying? "I have no other choice," Robinson, 32, said.
But now, Robinson, a senior artist at the British dance company Ballet Black, no longer needs to do this. In October, Freed of London, which provided her with dance shoes, began selling two pointe shoes designed for dancers of color: one is brown and the other is bronze.
但如今，在英国舞团“黑色芭蕾”(Ballet Black)担任资深艺术家的鲁滨逊不再需要这么做了。10月，为她提供舞鞋的Freed of London开始售卖两款专为有色人种舞者设计的足尖鞋：一款是棕色的，另一款是古铜色的。
Freed is not the first company to produce pointe shoes for dancers of color-American company Gaynor Minden has been producing such shoes for more than a year-but as a large ballet supplier, Freed's new toe The shoes highlight one of the strange traditions that dancers of color must follow.
This is also a reminder: black dancers-especially female dancers-are rare in ballet. In this area, they still have little representation, although there are some signs of change, and the awareness of the need for diversity has been strengthened in those schools that send talent to professional companies.
Shoes are not the only clothing elements that remind people of the lack of diversity in ballet. In September, Precious Adams, the chief artist of the English National Ballet, raised the issue of pink tights. "In the ballet world, people have a strong traditional belief," she told the Evening Standard in London. "They think I'm 'incorrect' wearing brown tights under my petticoat."
鞋子并不是唯一一个提醒人们芭蕾舞界缺乏多元性的服装元素。9月，英国国家芭蕾舞团(English National Ballet)的首席艺术家普雷舍丝·亚当斯(Precious Adams)提出了粉色紧身裤袜的问题。“在芭蕾舞界，人们的传统观念很强，”她告诉伦敦《标准晚报》(Evening Standard)。“他们认为我在蓬蓬裙下穿着棕色紧身裤袜有些‘不正确’”。
"But I want to be the best on the stage. I'm not color blind, I think pink tights will break my body lines."
However, Adams also said that dancers cannot do whatever they want. What they wear is up to the director. Often, unity is needed.
Dancers in the cymbal group need to be especially integrated into the group. Robinson of black ballet said that if they make them stand out, dancers of color cannot always wear skin-colored shoes or pantyhose.
She said she used to wear brown pantyhose and shoes while performing solo at the British National Ballet, and everyone was wearing pink at the time-"but she was solo." Most people there are people of color.)
We want to change the tradition a little bit, Robinson said, "but there is something that cannot be changed."
But new toe shoes are still very popular. "It's not just about shoes, it's about who belongs to the ballet world, who doesn't," said Virginia Johnson, artistic director of the Harlem Dance Theatre, in a telephone interview. "This is a signal: the world is open to you."
Johnson said that when she started dancing in the 1950s, she wore pink shoes and never felt wrong, until Arthur Mitchell, one of the founders of the Harlem Dance Theatre in the 1970s, decided that his dancer Wear shoes and tights that match your skin tone. Johnson later began to paint his shoes with cosmetics.
Being alone on the stage and showing 100% of my own complexion is great, she said. "A line, a shape, a faithful color."
She recalled that Capezio once provided brown shoes for the Harlem Dance Theater, and later, the company's dancers used a dye originally used for bridal shoes to color pointe shoes. "Evangeline Shoe Dye," Johnson said. "I haven't thought of that name for years." But since 2012, most Harlem Dance Theater members have colored shoes with acrylic paint, Johnson said. The costumers of the Harlem Dance Theatre mix paints to match the skin tone of each dancer.
她回忆起Capezio曾经一度会为哈莱姆舞剧院提供棕色鞋子，后来有段时间，这家公司的舞者用一种原本给新娘鞋用的染料给足尖鞋上色。“伊万杰琳染鞋剂(Evangeline Shoe Dye)，”约翰逊说。“我好多年没想过那个名字了。”但自2012年以来，大多数哈莱姆舞剧院成员会用丙烯颜料给鞋子上色，约翰逊说。哈莱姆舞剧院的服装师会将颜料混合在一起，搭配每个舞者的肤色。
Some dancers from this company still use cosmetics. To help young dancers, Ingrid Silva posted a video on YouTube demonstrating how she "baked pancakes" on her shoes.
"Many people will complain: This process is long and expensive," Silva said. "The brand I use-Black Opal's black brown-is $ 11 a bottle. I can color three pairs of shoes with this bottle." She averages two pairs of shoes a week, which means she It used to cost $ 770 per year to buy cosmetics for shoes, which is a considerable sum due to the meager salary of dancers. (Black Opal recently started supplying her cosmetics for free.)
“许多人会抱怨：这个过程很长，也很贵，”席尔瓦说。“我用的那个牌子——Black Opal的乌棕色——是11美元一瓶，这一瓶我能给三双鞋上色。”她每周平均要给两双鞋上色，这意味着她以前每年在给鞋子买化妆品方面要花770美元，由于舞者薪水微薄，这笔钱相当可观。（Black Opal近期开始免费给她供应化妆品。）
Silva from Brazil says the new toe shoes for dancers of color are a positive step forward, but more colors are needed. She said she couldn't wear Freed's new shoes because it wasn't her skin tone and it didn't match her style. This also echoes the call of the beauty industry to launch a wider range of foundations to show more skin tone. (Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty last year. To meet the above needs, this cosmetics line offers 40 foundation colors.)
Bashing shoes is just one of many issues, Silva said. "There is still a lot to learn in the dance world," she said, "starting with dance groups hiring more dancers of color."