No, Not Pink. Ballet Pink. There’s a Difference.

Inspired by ballet pink

It’s funny how pink is associated with girls and ballet.

The official uniform of ballet is ostensibly black and pink. But ballet pink is its very own thing. In some ways, it’s really not pink at all: a chimerical hybrid of peach, flesh, shrimp, salmon. It’s really a magical color: the color of seashell interiors, warm flushes, a non-color that breathes.

And yet, alas, search for “ballet pink” and instead of blush and bashful, one too frequently finds godawful bubble-gum, peony, carnation, full-on rose. Barbie.

Well, the true ballet pink is a color for the ages: possibly one of the finest neutrals that has ever lived. And, sure, A Chorus Line taught us that “Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet,” but we always felt, quite rightly, that everything is actually beautiful in ballet pink (or theatrical pink, salmon, blush, or nude…you can call it what you like, but we have scars on our toes and many of our old pointe shoes, so we’re going with ballet pink).

So, find a bag. Buy some classic leg warmers but pair ’em with a jean skirt, flats, and a blazer. Add a very pale and subtle flush to your stucco or your bedroom. Wear the prototypical ballet pink wrap sweater to the boardroom, the office, the grocery store, to school. Wear it with everything, preferably untied. This is a color that doesn’t have to be restricted to the aspiring trinas of the world.

You can wear or decorate with it too. And we think you should.

(Shopping? Adorable suede Chinese Laundry flats with ankle ties; Thigh-high leg warmers, Cable-knit throw blanket; Swank Rebecca Minkoff leather bag; Traditional Capezio ballet wrap sweater; Converse low-tops. All links lead to Amazon.)

Update, 29 September 2019: This post comes up a lot for people asking what is ballet pink; theatrical pink; millennial pink or what is the difference between…


Ballet and theatrical pink are both a warm neutral pink that blends (Caucasian) flesh/nude tones with a very pale pink. The exact shade is difficult to describe and varies among pointe shoe and tight manufacturers but it is always, always a perfect muted pink that is close to (again, Caucasian) skin tones without blending entirely into it.

Millennial pink has a lot in common with it but I think it is more fairly called the twin of “blush.” (A dusty but not musty, again, neutral pink.)

You know. They sell those pink lightbulbs (or used to; I’m not sure they come in CFLs or LED). And the point of them is that it casts a “rose-colored glasses” and very flattering light that tends to enhance as much as it illuminates. That kind of pink? (And “rose” and even “pink” is too strong a term for the color) well, that’s millennial pink. It’s more a mood or an aura than a color. But basically, if you’re hearing something described as “millennial pink” you should be thinking of darling, subdued pinks that are shy, shell-colored, cream-based pinks.

Theatrical and ballet pinks are easy to find: visit any ballet class with a dress code and look at the tights.

Now. Capezio has a nice ballet pink tight/wrap skirt/pointe shoe situation going BUT their pointe shoes and wrap sweaters can be a little strong on the light pink to be considered pale or true ballet pink. (Their tights, especially the seamed ones, are really pretty true.

Prima Soft “pink” tights are almost perfect, just a teensy bit strong in saturation to be the most perfect ballet pink.

I’m very fond of Grishko pointe shoes for their ballet pink: it has a magical ability of being the perfect pink to occasionally color-shift depending on what light is on it. It can blend with (Caucasian) skin, it can gleam white, or it can  be its perfect, natural, pale, slightly warm pink shade that is satin and magic.

It should be noted here that every manufacturer of dance stuff has their own version of the pink and they’ve copyrighted some of the dye blends. You can count on it. (Avoid Capezio beginner level pointe shoes; they tend to be actual bubble-gum pink.)

At the end of the day, if you’re looking for ballet or theatrical pink and/or millennial pink (a term that is going, going, gone), well, just try to find the palest pink that is trying to be a neutral that you can.

The pink you can’t describe? That is only pink because peach is too strong and there is no other good color descriptor? Well, it’s the chimerical pink that changes which is best-called theatrical or ballet.

The truth is that the color is just as slippery and changeable and temperamental as any overtly arts person you ever knew.

Wait five minutes. The color will look closer to peach, to white, to nude, to…question mark.

And that, my friends, is the magic of ballet pink.

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