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canbelto

Ballet shoes, and other trivial stuff

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I don't know whether I'm weird or not, but I really dislike it when ballerinas get flesh-colored ballet shoes that seem to meld perfectly with their flesh-colored tights so you can't see the line between the ribbons and the feet. I like ballet shoes that are slightly colored (a light pink, or off-white), so you can see the shoe clearly. Don't know why, but it's just my preference.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, I offer this picture of Lucia Lacarra:

"Nude" ballet shoes

Compared with:Diana Vishneva

I don't mind the melding of the ribbons and tights when ballerinas are wearing white tights, as in Swan Lake. But the "nude" shoes make it look like the ballerina is dancing barefoot, and I really don't like it.

Does anyone else have little quirks like this?

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I'm not sure Lacarra is wearing "nude" shoes -- the supporting foot looks a normal shade of pink to me. Maybe the working foot caught the light funny?

But I know what you mean -- the way some dancers apply pancake to their shoes to dull the satiny shine. I think that they think it lengthens the leg by not differentiating the foot. I like the shiny shoe even on short-legged dancers, because the shine flatters the foot.

I prefer shoes that are the same shade as the tights, and I realize that sometimes shoes are contrasting color for special effects. In those cases, I really think the elastics and ribbons should match the tights.

I also don't like tan skate boots. They don't look as clean as white ones.

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Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. I like seeing the satin on the foot -- it looks so pretty and more feminine. I don't like when dancers dull the satin ribbons on their shoes. I think a good exampl

e of the pancaked ribbon is this:

Isabel Guerin

OTOH, I think this ribbon/tight combo is too mismatched.

I'm with you about tan skating boots. But what I really hate is when skaters pull their tights over their boots. It makes their feet look huge. I wonder why they do it. Is it more comfortable?

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OTOH, I think this ribbon/tight combo is too mismatched.

Would be if there were tights. I think this is bare skin, canbelto. Going tightless seems to be a growing trend, and I don't like it.

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It's not always the dancer's choice. We were asked to pancake our shoes by artistic management...

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When a corps de ballet wears different brands of shoes, the different satins (some pinker, some beiger, some more or less shiny) can be distracting. Pancaking can make for a wonderful uniform look to the shoes.

I happen to like the pancaked look - the feet should have plenty of 'wow' without the shine. It is always a little sad to take a new, beautiful, shiny pair of shoes and have to slather gunk on it though. :(

jayo

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Would be if there were tights. I think this is bare skin, canbelto. Going tightless seems to be a growing trend, and I don't like it.

The picture is of Altynai Asylmuratova -- you think going tight-less was "in" even back then?

But I can understand why dancers like to go tight-less. It probably causes less sweating, and I know a lot of dancers stuff their shoes with so many layers of "cushioning" that the tights don't even matter.

It's also strange how in La Bayadere, Nikya generally does not wear tights in the first act. She only wears tights when she becomes a Shade. Every Bayadere I've seen in the Makarova version (both live and on video) Nikya is tight-less.

Same for Medora. It's like when you're "exotic" you don't need to wear tights?

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In that picture, Asylmuratova is dancing the first act of Le Corsaire, so she probably is not wearing tights--the whole "exotic" thing. It's not historically accurate, though; in the 19th century the dancers would have always been in tights.

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Speaking of tights/notights/shoes, does Coffee dance barefoot? From the audience it always does look like she's dancing barefoot, but in the video I have she's wearing really thin slippers. Is it a matter of dancer choice whether she wants to wear shoes during the Coffee dance?

I've noticed the NYCB girls *always* wear really white tights, except for some ballets, in which case they wear black tights. They never go tightless, or wear flesh-colored tights. Don't know why -- was it Mr. B's preference or something?

I don't like nude pantyhose, mostly because the skin tone of the hose never matches your actual skin tone so you look like your legs have an unnatural tan. So I don't mind when dancers don't wear flesh-colored tights.

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I always thought NYCB's coffee dance was done in pointe shoes...?

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Speaking of tights/notights/shoes, does Coffee dance barefoot?

I'm pretty sure Coffee does her variation with one foot bare, the other in a tan pointe shoe. Then for the finale, she's symmetrical, but I don't remember whether in pointe or soft shoes.
I've noticed the NYCB girls *always* wear really white tights, except for some ballets, in which case they wear black tights.

Actually, canbelto, this is not true. They almost always wear pink tights. A quick stop at the gift bar displays various dancers' pointe shoes -- overwhelmingly in soft pink, with occasional white pairs, and more rarely black or another color. And they are the same shade as the tights. I think the ladies in Sym in 3 Mvts and Diamonds wear white tights, and at times in Sym in C (although I also remember a period when all wore pink in that except Darci, heading 2nd Mvt -- very strange looking).

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Actually, canbelto, this is not true. They almost always wear pink tights. A quick stop at the gift bar displays various dancers' pointe shoes -- overwhelmingly in soft pink, with occasional white pairs, and more rarely black or another color.

I admit from the audience, it's hard to tell the difference between pink tights and white tights. I've picked up some NYCB shoes, and they are usually soft pink. But so many dancers (especially at the ABT) wear soft pink shoes with white tights. It gets so confusing.

Another thing about tights -- I am glad that most of the tights today don't have seams. I always thought the seamed tights ruined the pure straight line of a ballerina's best assets -- her legs.

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Another thing about tights -- I am glad that most of the tights today don't have seams. I always thought the seamed tights ruined the pure straight line of a ballerina's best assets -- her legs.

tell that to mr. b...some of his dancers wore seamed tights inside out because he (therefore they) thought it exaggerated the line of the leg. i actually had a teacher (balanchine training), who would make us wear our tights that way.

p.s.- sorry if i didn't do the quote thing correctly

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I'm surprised there would be any occasion for female dancers to wear white tights in a classical ballet. There are some pink tights that are extremely pale and almost look white, as well as shoes that color (certain Grishko shoes, for example). Is that what you're referring to?

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I'm surprised there would be any occasion for female dancers to wear white tights in a classical ballet. There are some pink tights that are extremely pale and almost look white, as well as shoes that color (certain Grishko shoes, for example). Is that what you're referring to?

Yeah, I'm talking about the Swan Lake/Bayadere tights. You know, very pale, look almost white, match with the pale pink shoes ... It's hard to differentiate between pink and white because of the lighting ...

ETA: does anyone know what kind of shoes Margot Fonteyn wore? Because they look different from most ballet shoes. For one the box of her shoes seem tiny, much shorter than most boxes. It seems like she had really tiny, thin feet.

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At a recent Western Symphony I was surprised to notice how distracted I was by the appearance of black shoes with black tights

I understand the costume demands (barroom girls) in play here. But the effect on line -- and the virtual obliteration of the impression of "feet" at all -- was quite astonishing.

Is this combination of black/black used elsewhere?

Also, no one has mentioned the coppery/brown pointe shoes used by many dark-skinned dancers, African American and Latino. They often contribute to a lovely line. I was curious about these, and checked a few web sites. "European" seems to be a color widelyl available. But "African American" or "chocolate" or whatever did not exist on the sites I checked. (Discount Dance and Capezio.)

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I don't mind black tights with black shoes. Preferable, in any case, to black tights and pink shoes. What I do mind is the failure to blacken the sole. The light tan sole against the black shoe is very distracting, IMO.

Another distraction in the leg/foot area is Dance Theater of Harlem's use of four or five shades along the light tan-medium brown continuum, to closely match tights and shoes to the skin tone of the wearer. While it's very obvious that African American skin has a much wider color range than Caucasian, don't most ballets with a real corps rely on a certain uniformity? I wish DTH would pick its shade and let everyone wear it.

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One question: in old old footage of ballet (like the Ulanova/Plisetskaya era) the tights always look completely translucent, with only a hint of pale pink. But basically you can see the skin tone very clearly. When did it become fashionable for the tights to be more opaque?

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bart i've seen footage of DTH where the girls are shown painting or spraying their shoes so i assumed that is what they do?

Also, no one has mentioned the coppery/brown pointe shoes used by many dark-skinned dancers, African American and Latino.  They often contribute to a lovely line.  I was curious about these, and checked a few web sites.  "European" seems to be a color widelyl available.  But "African American" or "chocolate" or whatever did not exist on the sites I checked.  (Discount Dance and Capezio.)

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I like shiny satin peachy pink pointe shoes, and pale pink tights. What I dislike seeing on stage are the one piece body suits where the tights end at the ankle and the shoes go on over bare feet. I find it incredibly distracting and unattractive. :D

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Me three.

. . . in old old footage of ballet (like the Ulanova/Plisetskaya era) the tights always look completely translucent, with only a hint of pale pink.  . . . When did it become fashionable for the tights to be more opaque?

When nylon tights became cheaper than silk ones? In her autobiography, Fonteyn wrote of repairing her old silk tights, long after others would have thought them unmendable, since it had become nearly impossible to get new ones. She wrote that when she could no longer dance in silk tights, she was going to retire. Enter Rudolf . . .

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She probably went through several makers, given the longevity of her career! I don't suppose the last one is still at it, though!

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Here's a photo of a pair of Margot Fonteyn's shoes. They date from the 60's I believe. They are indeed Freeds, as you can see; you might even be able to determine the maker. Size four.

Fonteyn's Shoes

eta: I remember reading somewhere (but not where) an interview with a DTH dancer who discusses custom dying all of her tights, ribbons and shoes! I can't imagine the work involved!

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