Reflecting upon our history, we’re acutely aware of how privileged we are to not only be a part of this beautiful ballroom dancing industry, but to have the opportunity to effervescently facilitate ballroom dancers in their pursuit of artistic excellence. Since 1981, it’s been our mission to ensure that everyone who would like to experience this art form has the ability to do so — and that they have the highest quality of shoes they need in order to be successful. Through this very endeavour, we hoped to ensure that people across the world could have access to this industry in some form or capacity, all of which would solely be dependent upon their own personal goals and aspirations. However, over the course of a tumultuous 2020, we’ve realised that we’ve unintentionally overlooked a critical facet of these inherent sentiments.
In a year when individuals across the world have not just empathised with those suffering at the expense of racial injustice but come together to identify their roles in how they can help to create a more inclusive society, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to look at what we can do within our industry. It could be argued that there is a lack of widespread diversity within our industry and whilst coming to terms with this, we were approached by someone who not only shares our commitment to equality; but provided us with a sounding board for thoughts on what we can do as our role as designers and manufacturers of footwear to the industry. This individual was the founder and director of the North American company, The Equal Dance Initiative, whom we've collaborated with since May 2019 in order to make some significant updates to our established collection of footwear to help encourage greater inclusivity.
Those within the ballroom dancing industry will know that the most commonly worn female Ballroom and Latin American dance shoe styles are offered in several nude skin colours. Helping to create a seamless extension of a dancer’s leg line, whilst simultaneously complementing different costume choices, nude collections of shoes have been the most beloved of products amongst both social and professional dancers. That being said, even though we’ve has always provided two lighter skin colour options referred to as “Flesh” and “Tan” respectively, we realised that we offered no viable options for people with darker skin tones. To rectify this inequitable practice so commonly found within our industry, we’re proud to announce the expansion of our nude product offering by adding two darker skin colour options to be available across our collections for ladies and girls; and will be referred to as “Cocoa” and “Espresso”.
We’ve also decided to rename our lightest nude colour option. As is prevalent across the industry, it’s common to refer to the lightest of skin colour options using the term “Flesh.” Looking at its use within this context, we were inspired to ask ourselves — if the lightest shade of skin tone products is referred to as “Flesh”, then what are all of the other skin tone options considered in comparison? Why has this terminology historically been used as a way in which to make reference to lighter nude colour options rather than all nude colour options more broadly? We concluded that to us, “Flesh” shouldn’t be used to represent one singular skin colour alone. Now, we’re excited to announce a name change of our lightest nude colour option from “Flesh" to “Peach”.
We’re sincere in our mission to help create a more inclusive industry. Whilst we believe that these new products are a step in the right direction, we’re aware that more could be done in order to further encourage diversity within our industry. On that note, we would also like to take a moment to sincerely apologise to anyone that may have browsed our website or visited our shop and was left feeling that there wasn’t something necessarily available for them and perhaps felt unwilling or unable to participate in this industry as a result.
We, as well as all involved with The Equal Dance Initiative, believe that ballroom dancing is one of the most exquisitely beautiful art forms and that nobody should be defied of the opportunity to experience its beauty in any capacity because of the colour of their skin. And so, as of today, we carry on with the heartfelt convictions that inspired us to embark upon this journey nearly 40 years ago: to ensure that everyone that would like to experience this art form has the ability to do so with all of the shoes that they need in order to be successful— irrespective of the colour of their skin.
You'll find our new colours merged within our existing product categories online as well as by clicking here for our Nude section which shows all of the products chosen to be made available in all four different nude colours. We've initially made the additional new colours available in our most popular designs and they include Bela, Flavia, Mia and Mia T-Bar for Ladies Latin, our ICS RoundToe SingleStrap, ICS RoundToe and ICS Classic for Ballroom as well as our American Smooth and Girls Natasha styles. Please note that references to 'Flesh Satin' shoes are now displayed as 'Peach (Flesh) Satin' for now and as time goes by and our 'Peach Satin' shade is firmly established, references to 'Flesh' will be removed!
The Equal Dance Initiative is a company that strives to promote more widespread racial and ethnic diversity within the ballroom dancing industry, and aspires to be a proactive ally in the pursuit of racial justice within this respective field. Foundationally built upon the belief that every individual has the right to equal opportunity within every vocational endeavour, The Equal Dance Initiative is committed to equally respecting, recognizing and valuing people of all racialized groups, all whilst ascertaining the needs of those experiencing marginalization in order to realize its overarching mission statement. By working in collaboration with the world's leading ballroom dance companies in order to diversify their product line availability, as well as by amplifying both the voices and the contributions of racialized groups that are largely underrepresented within the field, The Equal Dance Initiative hopes to contribute to the eventual eradication of racist ideologies on a macro scale, and create a more diverse, inclusive and equitable industry for all.