The Shade of Synchronized Skating is a project collaboration between Aurora Tights and Get It Called that highlights three synchronized skaters in a self documented series covering the months from November to April. The Shade of Synchronized Skating details the experiences and thoughts of select synchronized skaters of color throughout their season as they transition from team tights to complexion specific tights from Aurora Tights. Along this process, the skaters are self documenting:
1. Thoughts and experiences prior to switching to their Aurora Tights tights
2. Thoughts and experiences during/after switching to their Aurora Tights tights
3. How the skaters feel they have grown, their experiences if it has impacted them or their surroundings, and the reactions of others.
We are excited to share the experiences of these skaters and to bring you all along for the journey! And a special thank you to Avery, Brianna, and Nadia for sharing with us their first hand experiences in the synchronized skating world.
Avery Diary Entry #3
They call it the ‘January blues’, and this couldn’t be more of an accurate statement right now in my mind. I don’t know about you, but it’s difficult to keep that smile going during these times. They say, “stay positive”, my reply is “yes, yes of course” and a silent “I’m trying” that they can’t hear. Here in Canada, Ontario specifically, we have been off the ice entirely since before the holidays and in a lockdown state with “stay at home orders”. Other than a few sole, outdoor skating adventures (still with many restrictions), I am anxiously awaiting our arenas opening back up so I can skate and be with my team again. It’s great to be able to see them online, however for me it’s just not the same. For now, we continue to “try” staying positive, support each other and keep healthy!
There has been little opportunity for me to wear my Aurora tights and this is not ideal for what we are trying to accomplish here. Please understand though that it hasn’t lessened the time I’ve spent thinking about the effects this project can have on our skating community and is having on me. Every single time I sit and dedicate time to this project, I am learning. This pandemic may have stopped some of us from skating, but it will not stop the conversations that we are meant to have and a big thanks to Get It Called and Aurora Tights for providing a platform for that.
I recently talked to a long-time figure skating coach who has also coached many synchro teams. We discussed all things skating and specifically tight colour as it relates to skater complexion. With sincerity she said to me “we certainly could have been better in years past, as it has only been the last few years that mesh, and tight tones have been considered”. I wanted to respond, “umm really? just recently? but why?”. However, maybe she never had to consider tight colour before with few people of colour in the sport or maybe with limited shades available, it just wasn’t thought of. Whatever the reason, the most important part was that it is NOW a part of her consideration. The conversation left me feeling an incredible sense of accomplishment.
I can’t help but notice that my Aurora Tights are becoming much more to me than just a pair of skating tights. For me through this project, they are starting to symbolize something bigger and are representing many firsts. A first for me to focus on a part of my life that I have never really focused on before. A first for every girl of every colour who wants to skate, be given a fair chance with no racial or social boundaries. A first for a company like Aurora Tights to take the lead on an issue that although may seem so unimportant to some, is of the most importance to others. And lastly, a first for the skating community to focus on what we can do to make our sport more inclusive and inviting.
As we progress through 2021, my hope is that you take a moment to consider what your ‘tights’ mean to you. Your tights could be your hairpiece or even your skating dress, it doesn’t matter really. After you’ve gathered your thoughts, now think of what they could mean to a little girl who is of a different race or skin colour than you. For just a moment, let’s ‘skate a mile in their skates’.
Thank you for reading and cheers to skating and being with each other in person real soon.
Brianna Diary Entry #3
After writing my first two documentations, I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from people both within the skating community and outside of it. People have told me that they had never really thought about tight color before reading my documentations. Truthfully, it wasn’t something I had thought much about before starting this project. Since I was young, I was told to wear the light tan colored tights, and I just nodded along without question. Besides, before the existence of a company like Aurora Tights, there weren’t even options for darker colored tights, so there was really no point in objecting to wearing lighter ones. However, what people, including myself, are beginning to realize is that the tights themselves aren’t the biggest issue, but rather they serve as a reflection of the underlying issues of a lack of racial inclusivity within the sport. I was fortunate enough to start off my skating career in a predominately Black environment, and I was not really exposed to the white world of skating until I started my synchro journey. I think that being a young Black skater in an environment surrounded by other Black skaters definitely had a positive impact on me and has influenced my growth as a skater. However, I recognize that most black skaters did not have that same foundational experience. I cannot speak from personal experience, but I can only imagine how a young Black skater starting out in a predominately white environment might feel left out noticing little things like the color of their tights being way too light for them but matching the skin tone of the white skaters. Experiences like these, although small, could have a subconscious impact on the skater as they move throughout their skating career. Wearing Aurora Tights has definitely prompted me to think about these things and reflect on my own skating career and experiences I may have had surrounding race that were more important than I gave them credit for. My experiences with Aurora Tights have also inspired me to think beyond the world of skating and consider how these issues play out in other areas of my life, and in the world as a whole. I am one of the few skaters in my high school, so although many of my friends can’t necessarily relate to the issue in terms of the skating world, they can definitely see the same issues playing out in the rest of the world. I’m grateful for the opportunity Aurora Tights has given me to really think about how big of an impact race can have in the skating world, and I hope that other people will also be inspired to try and understand these racial issues and their impacts, regardless of whether or not you directly experience them.
Nadia Diary Entry #3
When I first received my Aurora tights, I don’t think I realized how big of an impact it would have on me and skating, but it has had more of an impact than I could have ever imagined. It has been about three months now since I have started wearing Aurora tights, and myself as well as my parents, have noticed some big changes since I made the switch. As I had stated in my previous entry, Aurora Tights gives all skaters the ability to feel confident while skating, but especially skaters of color. For the first time, myself and so many others, are finally able to feel and experience the same feeling that our teammates have felt for years. Previously, I felt as though I stuck out amongst my teammates in a negative way. However, switching to Aurora Tights has allowed me to grow my confidence as a skater. Since this was previously never an option, I never even considered how I would feel if I were to ever find tights that matched my skin tone. It has truly given me the ability to feel completely confident while skating. This being the first time tights have been offered in multiple skin tones just goes to show how much skaters of color have had to overcome just to have the same skating experience as our teammates and competitors. For the first time, skaters of color will no longer feel like everyone is staring at them because their tights do not match their skin tone. My parents also noticed this difference in me as well. When I was younger I was very hesitant and did not skate with confidence partially because I knew people were looking at me differently than my competitors. It was hard for my parents to explain to me why exactly people were staring, but at the time there were no other options for tights and mesh other than to get something custom made. However, the thought of getting something custom made is not only expensive but outrageous that skaters of color would
have to have something custom made in order to match their skin tone. So my parents, as well as myself are thrilled that Aurora Tights is creating a welcoming environment for the next generation of figure skaters. Although this may seem like a small thing for some, to skaters of color, including myself this is a huge step in the right direction. I truly believe that companies like Aurora Tights are bringing synchronized skating closer to becoming more diverse and inclusive for all.