Flesh-tone tights empower ballet dancers of color

By Eunice Wang
Medill Reports

A simple leotard and pink tights are the typical uniform for many ballet dancers when they train. It’s a tradition that dates back hundreds of years to the origin of ballet in Europe. As with many other traditions, however, the times, they are a changin’.

Dancers of color have started to raise a question about the tradition of pink tights, preferring tights that represent who they are. That’s why dancers at the Chicago Multicultural Dance Center have turned to flesh-tone tights.

According to Alexandria Franklin, a ballerina at the dance center, flesh-tone tights are important for ballerinas of color. It creates a better looking line when they dance and reaffirms for the world, as well as the dancers themselves, that it’s okay to have brown skin and be doing ballet.

Photo at top: A ballerina with flesh-tone tights is putting her pointe shoes on. Dec. 8, 2017. (Eunice Wang/MEDILL)