I’m all for fashionable color clashing. I love the current trend in clothing of wearing red, orange, and yellow together. Everyone looks like foliage from a giant Maple Tree. But I won’t be participating. Look for apparel coupons here.
A lot of ballet companies still insist on a practice called ‘calamining the pointe shoes’ for ballerinas. This entails:
buying the stuff (calamine lotion) usually intended to deal with itchy poison ivy and other rashes, dumping some on a makeup sponge and basically painting a thin layer over your shoes until all the shine of the satin is gone. (By the way, going to the grocery store is sometimes an interesting endeavor as a dancer, considering that I am quite frequently buying bandaids, calamine, and epsom salts- which I use occasionally in a warm bath to soak my feet but I think was invented as a laxative or something. The checkers must think I’m in a constant state of oozing, defecating, rash. Perhaps my soul is, but not my soles. They just hurt.
This is also good because there are a lot of very different kinds of pointe shoes out there and each maker has a different shade of satin covering the shoe. For instance: Grishko‘s are a pale, almost graying pink while Capezio‘s are the shade of the Giant Peach imagined by the brilliant Roald Dahl in James and the Giant Peach (except here, it’s bandaids and feet stuffed in there, and not a boy with a bunch of insects)
Calamining the shoes presents a more unified look for the corps.
When I was a student at Alexandra School of Ballet in St. Louis and part of the pre-professional company, we even had a specified list of makeup that we all had to buy. No matter what your complexion or ethnicity, everyone in my first year had to buy a terrible reddish lipstick called ‘Little Red Red’.
This is the stuff that goes like a clumpy coat of shame on your lips and stays for days, unless of course, you drink from a glass where it will leave a lasting mark the way that a fling with a bimbo leaves you with crabs. More similarities; both are cheap and regrettable.
Anyways, my fellow young
painted harlots budding ballerinas and I renamed this vaguely neon and highly offensive shade ‘Little Bright Orange’.
Look Charlie Brown! It’s the Great Pumpkin…here on my face!
That stuff made us look like we all just made out with a crusty old sweet potato. Someone clearly got her full dose of Beta-Carotene (This is actually important as the body converts this and alpha carotene into vitamin A, which protects the lining of the organs and makes it harder for bacteria to grow or viruses to attack. You can read more about color therapy in nutrition here )
Anyways, that was the rule for the first year company members (I was 11 when I was invited to the Company). At that point, none of us knew anything about makeup and it was best to just be told what to buy.
I don’t think fashion should work that way and I find it annoying how much ORANGE is in every store right now. With my fair skin tone, I look horrible in orange, like I have jaundice or like I might actually need the calamine for it’s intended use.
I plan to ignore this trend the way that LIttle Red Riding Hood ignored advice from the experts, like ‘stay on the path’ or ‘don’t talk to strangers’. I think you just have to know what works for you. I think this kind of thinking applies to my choreography as well. There’s a big trend of using ground work in contemporary styles that relies on arm strength that let’s face it, I don’t really have. And I’m not going to try to force that kind of stuff in my work because while experimenting is fun, if it doesn’t suit you, it looks worse for trying to add it. Big Bad Woof! (No, that’s not a typo. I meant to say woof)
We all might need a rainbow in our diets but we don’t necessarily need the full one in our closets or work approach, no matter who says so. Sometimes colors clash with each other and sometimes colors, or choreography trends, or even people and influences that appear in our paths- just clash with us.
The Road Not Taken- by Robert Frost