Freed of London Pointe Shoe Collaboration

Freed & Ballet Black Pointe Shoe Collaboration




‘Historic moment in British ballet history’

This year Freed of London have teamed up with Ballet Black founder and artistic director Cassa Pancho MBE and Senior Artist Cira Robinson to create the first skin tone pointe shoes, handmade in the U.K. for black, Asian and mixed race dancers.

After over a year in development, Freed of London has introduced new colours ‘Ballet Bronze’ and ‘Ballet Brown’ to their core collection. The Freed of London ethos has always been to develop shoes to meet the needs of each generation of dancer and these new colours continue to reflect this.

“This wouldn’t of been achievable without the help of everyone involved, especially “Ballet Black” whom we collaborated with to create these beautiful new colours.”
– Freed of London

“I am beyond delighted that Freed have launched these two new colours. Although it may seem like a very small change to the outside world, I believe this is an historic moment in British ballet history and another step forward for culturally diverse dancers across the globe who wear the iconic Freed brand of shoe.

I would like to thank Freed for using their platform to help instigate change, and Cira Robinson, Senior Artist at Ballet Black, for her unending dedication to making this possible.”- Cassa Pancho MBE, Founder & Artistic Director

The new colours are now available to buy as an express special order from the Freed of London (22nd October 2018). To place an order or enquire about Freed’s new Pointe shoe colours, contact: +44 (0) 207 240 0432 or email [email protected]

Photography by Tyrone Singleton

Cira Robinson, Sayaka Ichikawa & Marie Astrid Mence
Ballet Black Dancers from L-R Cira Robinson (wearing Freed's new Ballet Brown), Sayaka Ichikawa (wearing Freed's iconic pink satin pointe shoe) & Marie Astrid Mence (wearing the new Ballet Bronze)
Cira Robinson & Marie Astrid Mence Freed Pointe Shoes
Senior Artist Cira Robinson (standing) and Marie Astrid Mence (sitting) wearing Freed of London's Ballet Brown & Ballet Bronze Pointe Shoes. Tutus designed by Jean-Marc Puissant.

What is it like being able to have pointe shoes specifically to match your skin tone?

Wearing shoes of the same colour as one’s skin tone is essential for keeping an unbroken line from “fingertip to toe”.

Dancers not catered for by standard-issue pink shoes have previously had to rely on ‘pancaking’ – the application of foundation or powder make-up to their shoes to make them match their skin colour. The process can take up to two hours to complete and require up to three coats of expensive make-up.”

Having a shoe made to fit my skin tone is an absolute dream that I never thought would come true. Pancaking has been the way of the dance world for years and to think that colouring my shoes and ribbons to match my skin (since we don’t wear ballet tights) gives me a different sense of liberation that I can’t quite put into words. I am very pleased, to say the least.

Cira Robinson, Senior Dancer – Ballet Black

Cira also notes: “In addition the tedious and time-consuming act of pancaking results in the pointe shoe becoming soft and boggy. This leads to early degradation of the satin covering and reduces the wearable lifespan of the shoe.”

Dancers around the world will benefit with immediate effect.

(L-R) Freed of London’s Ballet Brown and Ballet Bronze Pointe Shoes


Freed of London is the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of professional dance shoes. They began manufacturing pointe shoes in 1929 when the lone artisan Frederick Freed started to handcraft and customise pointe shoes for dancers in the heart of London’s theatre land, along with Mrs Freed. Freed of London were the first company to work on the theory that the shoes should fit and suit the foot of the dancer, at a time when shoes were usually made in only one fitting and strength.

The ethos of our Pointe Shoe production still remains the same, we have developed and evolved to meet the needs of todays dancers and choreographers. Our Pointe Shoes are still hand made by individual craftsmen, using natural and biodegradable components.

Today you will find Freed of London Pointe Shoes being worn by both young students and international ballerinas performing at leading opera houses the world over.

Cira Robinson wearing Freed's Ballet Brown Pointe Shoes
Senior Artist Cira Robinson wearing Freed of London's Ballet Brown Pointe Shoes
Marie Astrid Mence wearing Freed's Ballet Bronze Pointe Shoes
Junior Artist Marie Astrid Mence wearing Freed of London's Ballet Bronze Pointe Shoes
Sayaka Ichikawa wearing Freed's Ballet Pink Pointe Shoes
Senior Artist Sayaka Ichikawa wearing Freed of London's Ballet Pink Pointe Shoes