When I tell people I did ballet as a child, I tend to embellish the number of years I actually did ballet. Which, if I’m being honest, is only like 3. My lack of classes never stopped my love for the art form and all the clothing associations that come with it though. Tulle? Check. Tights? Check. Flats? Check.
I don’t care if the 80s or 2018, I will also always have a place in my heart for leg warmers. They are one of my signature items come the cooler months, and I think they successfully serve their purpose in keeping me warm and leading others to believe I am an actual ballet dancer. No joke- I have been mistaken for a dance student more than once due to my petite frame and affinity for the tights and leg warmer combo.
With the recent release of city.ballet, an inside look at the New York City Ballet produced by Sarah Jessica Parker and AOL, my interest was rekindled.
Needless to say, I regret my decision to stop dance classes so young and hope to make up for lost time sometime soon. Taking dance as an adult brings me face to face with one dilemma. It’s not relearning how to properly plié or mangle my body into the 5 positions. The challenge I face comes back to (what else?) what to wear. A little known fact is that there are animal products in nearly all dance shoes, from the suede sole on a slipper to the glue holding it all together. So, how can I dance with a clear conscience?
In order to better prepare myself and all of you, I did a little research on where to buy vegan dance gear. Whether you yourself want to take a class or are interested in giving the tiny ballerinas in your house compassionate footwear, these companies offer animal friendly shoes and accessories.
Ballet Slippers: Cynthia King
The Queen of vegan ballet slippers is Brooklyn based Cynthia King. You can pick up peach pink (more like beige), pastel pink or black slippers in child and adult sizes. Children shoes up to size 13 are full soled while children size 1-4 and adults are split sole. They’re made from soft canvas with a vegan sole and are only $24.95.
Pointe Shoes: Grishko
Russian dance shoe maker Grishko offers custom pointe shoes in their 2007 series (2007, Pro and ProFlex), Miracle, Nova and Maya styles. The glue they use is non-animal based and non-toxic. When you order, indicate in your message you want your pair veganized and they will happily oblige! (p.s., they can also veganize their ballet slippers)
Dance shoes: Ethical Wares
Jazz and Ballroom dancers will appreciate Ethical Wares’ selection of vegan shoes for men and women.
Very Fine Shoes
Very Fine Shoes makes custom vegan dance shoes with either a faux suede or PU sole. All you do is pick the style, heel height and sole you want. Easy peasy!
Barefoot Dancing: Dance Paws
For the dancing that doesn’t explicitly require shoes, Dance Paws protect your feet with vegan locally sourced materials. Best part? They’re made in the USA and are committed to providing fair wages and great working conditions to their employees.
Wanna save yourself the $20 or so for a class and just dress the part? These are some places you can pick up pieces that work double duty as clothing and then dancewear if you decide jump around and like, sweat.
Discount Dance Supply, Dance Wear Solutions, and Danskin are one stop shops for dancers because they have everything you need. Tights, leotards, sweaters- you name it, they have it! Their shoes are obviously not vegan, but most of their clothing is nylon, acrylic, spandex and other animal-free materials.
Dressing the part is the first step to summoning your inner dancer. Slipping on cruelty-free shoes ensure that you’re not stepping on anyone’s toes (or body) to get there.
Also by Nicole: Fall Shopping – Cozy and Adorable Vegan Slippers
Also in Dance: Full Body Toning Ballet Barre Workout
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