Updated: Mar 28
Standing in the blank canvas of a local dance studio unwrapping my first pair of ballet shoes from Blendz Apparel. I remember the day fondly.
I had been fighting myself on whether I deserved to own another pair of dance shoes since I wasn’t dancing as often.
My mother had sent me promotional videos on social media to show me the impact these shoes had on other women and children. And while I could double-tap the image and smile, I wasn’t convinced that they were worth the expense for me. “Would I even use them enough? I already have a good pair, do I really need another?”
My mother…as she often does… reminded me that self-care could be as simple as buying something that made me smile. So I decided to buy them.
Unraveling these flesh-toned ballet shoes made me nervous and excited as if I didn’t know what was in the package. I had never held a pair of ballet shoes made for me.
My dance training, while plentiful, always required the pink ballet shoe and I had learned to love them. Soft pink canvas ballet shoes from a well-known and reputable online dance store.
But THESE, were flesh-toned stretch canvas ballet shoes from a black-owned company in Atlanta, GA. These shoes were for me.
I didn’t know until that exact moment how important and special these flesh-toned ballet shoes would make me feel. So, of course, I wrote the founder on Instagram to share my joy.
In the weeks and months to come, I took more dance classes. The shoes inspired me to be more confident any time I stepped on the marley. I wore the shoes when I taught the little caterpillars in my classes and what an honor it was to witness their awe and admiration.
As I’ve progressed on my professional journey, I have learned that representation is fed to us in many ways. So, with the green light from Blendz Apparel and the nudge of a good friend, I am proud to say I am participating in an Affiliate Program with Blendz Apparel. Visit Blendz Apparel use the code: DEBRASHAGREYE and receive 5% off your purchase on their website.
This past summer, at a week-long intensive with a local non-profit, I wore my ballet shoes. As the students watched me put on my shoes, I could feel their pause.
“Student: I wish I could have ballet shoes in my skin color.
Me: You absolutely can!”