Matching ballet tights with pointe shoes may be a personal choice, a ballet company policy or artistic director’s wish or simply your teacher’s preference; however, if you do decide to matt your pointe shoes, there are a number of factors that you may need to consider.

There are a few different factors to consider when matching ballet tights with pointe shoes.  Firstly, there are different colours of ballet tights that range from flesh to ballet pink, and pointe shoe satins can vary between makes of the same brand and between varying brands.  For instance, if you would prefer to have a shiny satin pointe shoe look, it’s probably best to match your ballet tights as close to the colour of satin on your pointe shoe.  A theatrical pink ballet tight suits a regular ballet pink satin pointe shoe, or alternatively a flesh ballet tight may suit a more peach coloured satin pointe shoe.

What do I use to pancake my shoes?

If you decide to pancake your shoes, there are a couple of options to consider.  The first option is calamine lotion, which can be applied with a large sea sponge and a small amount of water.  Remember, you are trying to achieve a matt and matching look to your tights, so be meticulous with an even application.  Once the calamine has dried, brush the excess from your shoes with a small nailbrush, so as not to leave residue on the stage, particularly when performing or competing with other dancers.  The same process can be achieved by using make-up in the form of a pancake.

Can I do it wrong?

Please do take care when working with any liquid on your pointe shoes. In most pointe shoes the specific layers of paste that keeps the box hard uses a water based glue – so water based lotions can easily soften the box.  Also, remember that once you colour your shoes, you can’t change them back!  If you need black or red shoes for a performance, make sure to use a pair that will not be required for exams!

Written by;  Vicki Attard

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