Save the Last Dance for Me Once upon a time “Red Shoes” were linked to status, wealth and power. The cost of red dyes like cochineal, and madder , used to die cloth and leather, made them affordable only to the rich. Popes, Emperors and Kings wore red shoes to symbolize a divine right to rule. By the late 18th century red shoes had become a sign of aspirational fashion for men and for women. When author Hans Christen Anderson published “The Red Shoes” in 1845 he linked Christian themes of sin, pride, disobedience and redemption to a Danish folk tale and red shoes took on a darker meaning. His protagonist Karen and by extension women who wore red shoes, became cultural transgressors of the acceptable feminine norm. Red shoes were recast as symbols of passion, as uncontrollable urges and in Anderson’s version, red shoes possessed a will of their own…to dance. The only way Karen could stop dancing was by having her feet and shoes removed by axe. Since Anderson’s characterization,
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