In early June, LaDuca Shoes launched their new “cinnamon shoe,” a darker shade of their signature, sought-after character heels—a staple of Broadway performers, Radio City Rockettes, Knicks City Dancers, and celebrities like Laverne Cox and Katy Perry. Black and beige were the previous “standard” shades for character shoes. Dancers of color either settled for these two stock colors or painted their shoes to better match their skin tones. Finally, the dancewear industry is starting to change their ways.
“I want to honor all dancers,” says founder and designer, Phil LaDuca. Mr. LaDuca worked as a dancer and choreographer himself for over 20 years. The shoes are created by a dancer, for the dancer. They are painstakingly constructed in Italy and carefully fit to each dancer who enters the store. LaDuca shoes are made of the finest Italian leather and ensure the support and stability a dancer needs while affording the extreme flexibility that a dancer desires.
On LaDuca’s website, Mr. LaDuca describes, “We, at LaDuca, believe that no matter what type of dance you prefer, Character, Broadway jazz, or Tap, you should always be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of a versatile, flexible, all-purpose dance shoe. Be it taking a simple jazz class, auditioning for a musical on Broadway, participating in a dance competition, or practicing the waltz in ballroom class, there is a perfect LaDuca shoe for you. To be the best you must perform at your best—So wear the best, wear LaDuca.”
Sales haven’t yet skyrocketed for the new cinnamon shoe, but that’s likely because dancers are waiting for their current pairs of shoes to wear out before they pay for a brand-new set of LaDucas (which run upwards of $215 depending on style, heel height, and various accoutrements). Still, this launch is a huge (and long-overdue) development in recognizing dancers of color. Other brands such as So Danca have developed a wide range of skin tone colors for tights.
The dancewear industry still has a long way to go in representing diversity in this industry, but LaDuca’s new cinnamon shoe is a first “step” in recognizing the beauty in the fact that one color does not fit all.
For more information about LaDuca Shoes or to order online, visit www.laducashoes.com.