Once Jorge sees Josh’s 7-year-old niece bust a move, he assures he’s a better dancer than both of them. They instantly dare each other and They head to a local dance studio to prove their dance skills in front of a crowd of brutally honest judges. Who’s better at twirling and pirouetting, Jorge or Josh?
Like so many corners of the globe, the Ballet world has long poured over and favored the concept of whiteness.
The “ballet blanc” is a perfect example of that. Ballet blanc or “white ballet” is a scene in a ballet performance where the performers all wear white dresses or tutus. Deeply tied to its performance is a school of thought that suggests there shouldn’t be any black dancers in the corps de ballet because the identical nature of the performers is key to the performance.
If you ever took a ballet class yourself, you also know that racism exists in ballet thanks to your first-hand experiences with the tights and shoes you bought for your classes. Most likely you noticed that the “nude” color tights and slippers you were required to wear only came in colors called “European pink.” The issue has brought about a long and laborious process Black ballerinas are subjected to endure called “pancaking.” To make the pink and peach-colored ballet shoes match their skin tones, Black dancers beat their shoes with makeup so that they match their skin tones.
In light of the current fight against ongoing racial injustices, thousands are signing petitions calling on ballet shoes makers to add darker color options to their line of shoes.
To promote the petitions, Briana Bell, a Twitter user and an 18-year-old black dancer from Dallas, explained that ballet shoes are just one of several ways that dancers of color are made to feel as if they do not belong in the world of ballet. “Black ballerinas have constantly been pushed out of the typically and traditionally white ballet world because our bodies aren’t like theirs and this is just another way to make us feel unwanted!” went onto explain in a series of tweets
In an interview with Daily Mail.com Bell explained that “Racial discrimination within the dance world is passive in my experience, but very much still there. Little things like not being able to find your skin tone in leotards, tights, and shoes may seem insignificant, but imagine how embarrassing it is to have to wear tights/leotards/shoes that do not blend with your skin and your white counterpart’s dance attire matches them perfectly. Recently, of course, efforts have been made in the way of leotards and tights but pointe shoes have fallen behind.”
Bell also highlighted the lack of support and awareness of non-POC dancers is what has continued such microaggressions.
“I’ve come to learn from the comments of my post that simple things like this never crossed the minds of many non-POC, because this seems very basic and not like a luxury to them,” she went onto explain in her interview. “But to us it’s a luxury that hasn’t been afforded yet. And while I do understand that there are some businesses that sell various shades of brown pointe shoes online, finding a pointe shoe for you isn’t so easy that you can do it online. We need to go into the shop, get our feet measured, and find the exact shoe for you because there are so many different shapes. If done incorrectly, you can injure yourself.”
Here’s hoping Belle’s petition sparks a change amongst big ballet brands like Capezio and Block.
“These big brands like Capezio and Bloch are more accessible for us because they have shops locally we can walk into,” Belle underlined. “So at this point, it’s either you sacrifice comfort and safety for the color, or you suck it up and paint your shoes after you get them.”
Over the course of its five-season run, fans of the E! series “Botched” have seen it all. The series follows doctors Terry Dubrow and Paul Nassif remedy the disasters at the hands of extreme plastic surgeries. Together the two doctors have the most bizarre scenarios in plastic surgery from a woman whose breasts morphed in a “uni-boob” after a botched job, to a woman whose face was filled with cement. Once, a patient showed up to the doctors with the desire to be transformed into an alien-look alike. In the most recent episode of the series, the doctors have their work cut out for them when a woman whose surgery left her with pubic hair sprouting from her face came on the show to ask for help.
Crystal Coombs appeared on the show to have a surgery that she’d had at age 9 fixed for the good of her self-esteem.
Not too many years ago, a serious dog bite to the face would undoubtedly lead to extreme disfigurement for the rest of a person’s life. Today, doctors have been able to improve their techniques for patching up the results of these attacks all with the help of plastic surgery. For Coombs, who had been attacked and bitten by a dog decades ago when she was 9 years old, this proved to be very true.
“When I was 9 years old, my grandfather was holding the dog, and I was actually pretty terrified of the pitbull,” Coombs told the doctors in the episode. “All I remember is black.”
“Full attack mode?” Dubrow asks her while Nassif asked, “So he bit out the chunk of tissue?”
“Clean,” Coombs replied. “Then went to the emergency room, and there the doctors suggested that we wait until we see a plastic surgeon.”
At the time, Coombs had been left with a gaping wound which she told the doctors of “Botched” had been “open for a while. Like how the outside of Freddie Kruger’s face looks, with the burn? That’s what the inside looked like.” Fortunately, after some time, Coombs saw a plastic surgeon who was able to create a skin graft for her. With a complex procedure, he took skin from her groin and created the graft. Sadly, when puberty began for Coombs, so did another painful aspect of her scarring.
“So you were getting pubic hair on your face?” Nassif asks her in the episode.
The answer? Yes. Yes, she did.
Coombs began to grow pubic hair on her face.
“Yes. Literal pubic hair. I don’t believe that the doctor mentioned I would grow pubic hair out of my patch,” she explained while speaking to the doctors. “I don’t remember that.” Fortunately, Coombs seemed to have a bit of sense of humor about the growth of hair despite the fact that it was sprouting from her cheek.
Nassif later explained on the show that Coombs, while suffering from an odd predicament was lucky. “Crystal is very lucky that the emergency room physicians didn’t just try to stitch up that big gash and opening in her cheek because the ER doctor does not have the same skill set as a plastic surgeon,” Nassif explained. “If they did, she would’ve been like this–.” Nassif tugged his eye down to show what it might have looked like for her.
Speaking to the doctors about the hair growing from her akee, Coombs explained that she had been fine with the growth before her daughter was born.
Coombs told the doctors that the odd graft hadn’t really affected her life or self-esteem until she became a mother. “Now since having my daughter, I really started to get conscious of it,” Coombs, who is the mother of a 6 months old, explained. “I’m worried about the kids that she’ll go to school with… “After having my daughter, I am very nervous about how other kids will treat her because of how I look. I don’t want her to be teased.”
Coombs asked the doctor if they could help her with reconstructive surgery that would be as small and minimal as possible.
Dubrow later explained that the surgery needed to reconstruct Coomb’s face is “actually very deceptively complicated” because “that skin graft is very close to critical anatomical structures like the nose, the cheeks, and the eye, that if altered even a little bit can change the entire shape of the face and look very deformed.”
Eventually, the doctors performed the surgery for Coombs and the transformation was quite remarkable.
Speaking about her end results, Coombs explained “Before, I was way too self-conscious,” Crystal recalled. “And now, I’m no longer worried about Sana having to go through 21 questions about what’s on my face. I’m excited, I feel beautiful…it’s like a closed chapter.”