Popular ballet brands respond to online petitions demanding pointe shoes in darker shades

These ballet brands are en pointe.

Two popular dancewear companies, Capezio and Block, have announced their intentions to start producing their ballet shoes — also known as pointe shoes — in additional skin tone-inclusive colors.

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The announcements come in response to two Change.org petitions that have been gaining steam amid the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd while in police custody on May 25.

Earlier this week, Capezio President and CEO Michael A. Terlizzi shared a statement to the brand’s website thanking the hundreds of thousands who signed the petition, and promising to expand its dance shoe offerings in darker shades.

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"As a family-owned company, our core values are tolerance, inclusion, and love for all, and we are committed to a dance world free of bias or prejudice,” Terlizzi wrote. He also added that, in addition to the bodywear and legwear that Capezio already provides “in a variety of shades and colors,” it will start manufacturing darker shares of its two most popular pointe shoes, to be available in the fall of 2020.

“We have heard the message of our loyal dance community who want pointe shoes that reflect the color of their skin,” he wrote.

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The organizers of the petition, which ended up amassing over 300,000 signatures, had argued that a lack of inclusive colors prevented more diverse dancers from taking up ballet over the years. But another petition, too, had been making the same argument, targeting the dancewear company Bloch in 2018, Good Morning America reports. And now, the company is responding.

“Thank you for engaging in conversation with us,” reads a message posted to Bloch’s website. We have been intently listening, reflecting on what we are doing and what we can do better and acknowledge we have not been moving fast enough.”

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The company then announced its intentions to introduce “darker shades into our pointe shoes and Blochsox range” by fall, despite the pandemic slowing down its product development team.

Both Capezio and Bloch have announced their intentions to offer darker shades of their popular pointe shoes in the fall.

Both Capezio and Bloch have announced their intentions to offer darker shades of their popular pointe shoes in the fall. (iStock)

Bloch also announced “further product announcements to follow.”