Pancaked ballet shoes worn by Misty Copeland in January 2018

Pancaked ballet shoes worn by Misty Copeland in January 2018

Usage conditions apply
These ballet shoes were worn by dancer Misty Copeland at a January 2018 production of Black Swan, and have been pancaked (or colored) to match Copeland's skin color.
When they are dancing without wearing tights, dancers pancake their shoes to match their skin color. Copeland's pancaked shoes, along with those of Stella Abrera, are reflective of ABT's efforts to promote diversity in ABT and in ballet companies more broadly. Copeland is the first African-American dancer to be promoted to principal ballerina in the ABT, while Stella Abrera is the first Filipina-American in the company to be promoted to principal ballerina. In 2013, ABT established Project Project Plie to prompte diversity and inclusion throughout the company, with Copeland mentoring aspiring dancers of color. Project Plie has received philanthropic support from the Ford Foundation; Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Stavros Niarchos Foundation; corporate supporters, and others, and has worked in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Besides receiving philanthropic support, the effort has helped ABT attract more diverse funders, along with more diverse audiences.
American Ballet Theatre staff explained the following about the shoes' use and the process of pancaking them:
"Shoes can be worn for slightly varying lengths of time (depending on the frequency of rehearsals or the rigor of a certain performance), but in general, a Principal dancer will only wear a pair for one performance (two at most).
Dancers pancake the shoes with makeup (over the counter cover up usually does the trick!) They each have their own process, but in general, it just involves applying a thin layer to the shoe to cover up the shine. It can take up to 10-15 minutes when done with care, although sometimes dancers just need to apply it quickly in the wings, and they dab it on in 2 minutes."
Currently not on view
Object Name
shoes, pair of
Associated Place
Physical Description
fabric (overall material)
overall: 21 cm x 8 cm x 6 cm; 8 9/32 in x 3 5/32 in x 2 3/8 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of American Ballet Theatre
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Work and Industry: Philanthropy
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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