Ballerina gets emotional over pointe shoes that match skin tone in viral video
In the video, Kira Robinson gushes with excitement upon her shoes' unboxing. She calls them 'stunning.'
Eighteen-year-old ballerina Kira Robinson has gone viral after sharing her excitement upon the delivery of a new pair of pointe shoes that match her African American skin tone.
The freshman ballet major at the University of Oklahoma told “Good Morning America” that she “received a lot of comments on my TikTok about how representation is super necessary in the dance world and how a lot of people don’t have that or see that often.”
The TikTok video shows Robinson smiling with excitement upon her shoes’ unboxing, calling them “stunning.” It has been viewed nearly half a million times.
“I can’t tell you how revolutionary this is,” she gushes.
The ballet shoes, created by a company called Suffolk, are among the first of their kind. Traditional pointe shoes are pale pink. Robinson said she had to use a technique called “pancaking” to make her pink shoes match her skin tone. The process calls for covering the shoes in foundation makeup.
“I was ecstatic when I realized Suffolk was releasing new shoes,” Robinson said. “I’ve been wearing pink ones ever since I was a young girl, but when I heard they were creating brown ones, I couldn’t believe it. I knew I had to grab a pair.”
Suffolk isn’t the only dance company making its items more inclusive. Capezio, the long-standing dance apparel brand, recently expanded their product line to shoes and tights in darker shades.
Robinson credits the Black Lives Matter movement for the increasing diversity and inclusion efforts in the dance community.
“A lot of people were fed up with companies’ lack of effort in diversifying their brand, and it has taken a long time to see that change,” she said on “GMA.” “Many have signed and sent petitions to ballet brands to create more colors in their products, and Suffolk was one that heard our plea and started making those changes.”
The director of the company, Keri Suffolk, said: “For generations, the demand was almost exclusively for pink satin pointe shoes as class dress codes dictated a black leotard, pink tights and pink pointe shoes.”
“Professional dancers have been able to pancake their shoes for quite a while, but for a performance, even professionals must wear what the artistic director or choreographer has determined to be the look they want for the piece,” said Suffolk. “Social change in several forms has challenged many to ask why dress codes and costuming choices are limited to pink shoes only.”
She said she hopes her company’s product offerings are “just the beginning” and that she hopes ballet’s next generation of dancers will never know how it feels to not have representation in their shoes and apparel.