Ballerina Precious Adams explains why she won’t wear the traditional pink tights: ‘I’m not colourblind’

The dress code for the New York Academy of Ballet outlines the requirement for students to wear salmon-coloured tights with pink ballet slippers to match.

While it may be seen as traditional for ballet dancers to always wear pink tights during classes and performances, English National Ballet dancer Precious Adams has decided not to.

As the 23-year-old from Michigan, USA explains, she prefers to wear brown tights that match her skin tone.


Having trained as a ballet dancer since she was nine years old, Adams never questioned her ballet apparel as a child.

However, as she progressed in her career, she realised that it was illogical for her to wear pink tights like other dancers.

“When I was a student I never really thought about the uniform – it was just pink tights and pink shoes,” she tells the Evening Standard.

“Then I became professional and my usual dancewear didn’t make sense.

“It changes the aesthetic – you want there to be continuation between your upper and lower body and there’s a big disconnect if I put pink tights on.”

Some people haven’t agreed with Adams’ stance on the matter, expressing their opposition to her decision to veer away from the traditional ballet garb.

“They’re like: ‘But pink tights, that’s what ballet is.’ In ballet people have very strong ideas about tradition,” Adams says.

“They think me wearing brown tights in a tutu is somehow ‘incorrect’. But I want to look my best on stage.

“I’m not colourblind and I think it ruins the line of my body.”

Adams previously trained at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, where she experienced racial discrimination when she was left out of performances and told to “try and rub the black off”.

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Adams explains that Tamara Rojo, artistic director of the English National Ballet, has been very understanding in regard to her decision not to wear pink tights.

“Every company is now multi-racial and they’re all having these discussions,” she says.

“Times change – it’s just a natural evolution for these things to be questioned.”

In 2015, Misty Copeland became the first African-American woman to be named principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre.

She was featured in Time magazine’s list 100 most influential people in the world in the same year.

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