Just how vegan are you? Part 2: Vegan dance decisions

In part 1 I explored the complexity of being vegan while living in New York City. Yes there are tons of places to eat, but veganism goes way beyond what’s on your plate. Part 2 is about the vegan decisions I’ve made as a dancer and business owner. I hope that other will find some helpful information to help them with their business decisions.

Update: There will be a part 3 where I discuss whether I’ve finished my vegan faux feather fan making attempt and how my new vegan dance shoes are working out.BVW_6968-744

Dance shoes-

I’ll be honest I spent a good amount of time stressing when I purchased my first pair of Vegan shoes. My budget didn’t allow for a fancy pair from Moo Shoes and I seriously spent an hour in the store contemplating the factory my shoes may have come from. As a ballet dancer, I’ve just put in an order for a pair of Cynthia King slippers. Doesn’t look like she makes pointe shoes though.

I’m also thrilled that this year I’ll be outfitting my dance troupe with custom made vegan ballroom. Dance Shoe Online offers treegum soles as an option for their Synthetic shoes and I’m waiting to hear back in terms of what the fabric is used for the inner sole. Assuming it’s a synthetic fabric as well, that would make many of their dance shoes 99% vegan. I say 99% because who knows what’s in their glue.

There are 6 dancers to get shoes for in my dance troupe, but hopefully, we’ll get enough work to support purchasing gorgeous vegan shoes for all of our members.

Feather Fans-

Right now I’m feeling pretty good about my decision to go with cruelty free Peacock feathers. Peacock meat is not something I’ve seen on a menu, so the by-product concern is removed. These fans will still provide a wow factor for clients who are looking for that extra touch. Delighted to have purchased two dozen very glittery peacock feathers from Jezabelle von Jane.

I’m also working on making a pair of faux feather fans. Teasing the fabric is a bit time consuming, but the plan now is to create two faux feathers and see how they move.


I never use fur (not even the vintage recycled kind), but a recent online conversation with female drag artist Crimson Kitty made me think about the message sent to audiences by using faux fur. Bettina May has a faux fur stole with rhinestone eyes that not only looks like real fur, but the rhinestones offer a nice wink and an nod to the audience letting us know that it is not real. It’s difficult when as a performer you are creating a look of luxury. I teach my dance students to think about the message their movements sends to the audiences, however the ethics of costume choice also sends a message. My faux fur coat may not be obviously faux to the audience and an audience member who is against fur may be turned off by my act. Until I can think of a truly obvious faux fur option for stage, I’ll keep faux fur on my list of no no’s along with real fur, wool, fleece, and silk.

Silk Fans-

I love my Silk Fans. I love that I’m getting better at using them. I’d love to do a whole number with my dance troupe, everyone waving Silk like fans. It would cost about $120 to get enough PeaceSilk to make 2 fans and technically PeaceSilk is still an animal by product even though it is more humane. I look forward to doing some research into Soysilk.

Feather Boas-

As an educator my students look forward to playing with the feather boas I bring to class. The clean up is a nightmare. I’m in the process of creating a dozen Organza boas. I made some fluffy tails for the Hunnie Kabaret corsets uses Rayon and loved the look (not to mention the fact that there were zero feathers to pick up). The downside again for me is the time it took to make them. I’m a lady short on time, but big on ideas, what can I say.

Other food for thought…

As for my non stage business needs, I do recycle and buy recycled whenver possible. I found a great raincoat at The GoodWill that is made from 100% recycled materials. In the burlesque world many of us take to Ebay to find cheap discounts on merchandise shipped directly from the manufacturer. My problem with this, is a lot of times we haven’t looked into whether that factory is treating it’s workers in a humane manner and weather the materials sourced are souced soundly. After all, what good is a pair of vegan shoes if they were made by an undernurished factory worker who’s being exposed to countless chemicals in the process of making the product. I know it’s a pretty grim picture, but I’d like to think that picture has kept me from making several impulse purchase.