Sammy Nickalls
May 16, 2016 8:10 am

Last summer, after 14 years with the American Ballet Theater, Misty Copeland became the very first black female principal dancer in the company’s decades-long lifespan. However, ballet still has a long way to go in terms of inclusiveness and diversity and that’s exactly why we’re so excited about Mahogany Blues, a dance apparel company that makes nude ballet apparel for all skin tones. .

Mahogany Blues launched last March by 29-year-old Texas designer Whitney Bracey. When many of us think of “nude,” we think of a peachy, pinkish color, but that’s not nude for everyone — and it’s a real issue in the ballet community. “Most dancers of color have to dye their leotards a few times to get the right color,” Whitney told BuzzFeed.

Whitney has been making her leotards by hand, but now that they’re growing more popular, she will start using a factory to mass-produce them for dancers of color. Though her line currently has four tones, she plans to add two more by the end of the year.

“To come up with our nudes, I printed out a color card and tried to match the skin tones of friends, coworkers, and strangers,” Whitney explained to BuzzFeed.

Even better? Mahogany Blues chooses a dance company to sponsor every year, and they provide students with a leotard that matches their skin color, nude bandages, and shoe polish to make their pointe shoes *truly* nude.

“My long-term goal is to see our brand taking care of any and every kind of nude,” Whitney explained to BuzzFeed. “It’s so important for little girls and boys to see themselves represented in all career fields.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! The only way to truly embrace diversity is through acceptance, and recognizing the fact that “nude” is different for everyone is a step towards the ultimate goal. Props to Whitney for inspiring young ballerinas everywhere and making the dance world a more beautiful place.

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