Sharon Story, dean of the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education, explains that the company’s boutique buyer had been sourcing tights and shoes that matched the protocol of the Centre’s dress code and quality standards for quite some time but that no brands truly matched with ballet shoes, specifically in leather.
“We are excited to partner with Só Dança USA to provide Atlanta Ballet Centre students, company members and other metro Atlanta dancers this new line of Só Dança products through our multiple boutique locations in Atlanta,” says Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director Gennadi Nedvigin. “By offering tights and shoes in a variety of shades and sizes, we hope to help aspiring young dancers of color embrace themselves for who they are.”
“What sparked our conversation with Só Dança was their ability and willingness to offer students of all ages tights and shoes in the materials we required and in the shades that we desired,” Story shares. “It has been so wonderful to work with them to expand the dress code line for our students!”
Story adds that Atlanta Ballet has been purchasing Só Dança shoes for its company dancers for many years, in just about every shade available for both men and women. And now, at the Atlanta Ballet’s boutique, in addition to its existing inventory, tights and ballet shoes are available in two shades and in a range of children and adult sizes.
“Offering tights and shoes in an inclusive range of shades is extremely important to the dance world,” Story says. “While other companies have announced offering a diverse color selection of adult shoes and tights, we really wanted this collaboration to impact the confidence of young dancers who are just starting off on their journeys to becoming professional dancers. If young students don’t feel their best and most confident in even their first-ever ballet classes, it makes it that much harder to stick with it. We hope these products give aspiring dancers of color the opportunity to feel their best in the studio so that their talent can shine and their artistry can continue to develop.”
Both Atlanta Ballet and Só Dança are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, making them a great team for inspiring the next generation of dancers. “It’s great to be on the same page with such a wonderful brand that is equally committed to making a difference in the dance world,” says Story.
This initiative is just one that reflects Atlanta Ballet and its Centre for Dance Education’s commitment to cultivating a more diverse company and supporting the advancement of racial equity in the ballet world. The company and school have also implemented an internal Diversity and Inclusion task force, and the Centre has created Decade 2 Dance, which provides a decade of training and access to young students who may not otherwise have the resources to pursue a career in dance.
“I hope that Centre students and aspiring dancers in our community feel seen, included, empowered and confident when they walk into the studio, and that their dreams of becoming a professional dancer feel that much more possible,” Story notes. “I also hope to see our partnership with Só Dança grow, and that they might one day become a proud sponsor of the Centre’s community engagement programs, which hugely impact young people in and around Atlanta.”
Tights and shoes can be purchased at the Atlanta Ballet boutique. Shoe fittings can be conducted at any Centre location and can be arranged by contacting the boutique manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.