“The Masked Dancer” aired its latest episode last night and led fans to much surprise at the man behind the Ice Cube dancer.
The Fox dance competition series features a mix of stars across all industries competing in disguise for the ultimate title. During Wednesday night’s elimination, the character of Ice Cube ranked in the bottom, meaning its identity would be revealed to the public — and it was Bill Nye the Science Guy.
While his notes about global warming, his Ivy League alma mater and his mom’s profession as a Navy code breaker were helpful giveaways, there was one clue that was an unexpected sign of the scientist’s identity: ballet shoes. The clue was hinted during his introduction as the character with a set of ballet pointe shoes held up in passing.
While many don’t typically associate Bill Nye the Science Guy with ballet, the use of the prop was actually a clever way to allude to his patented improvements on a classic ballet shoe. In 2002, Nye filed for an official United States patent for a new take on a toe shoe.
The design features a more structured toe box to provide support from the inside out for dances en pointe; Nye’s reasoning for the invention comes down to physics as he hoped to create a more solid base for the front of the foot by adding protection in the upper and outer sole. The design would then relieve pressure on the entirety of the foot as well as the leg and ankle during dance
“The dancer’s center of gravity lies on a vertical line that passes from the dancer’s body down to the area of support, which is the dancer’s foot, toes, and ankle. This downwardly directed force of gravity is balanced by a force rising upward from the floor on that same vertical line,” Nye explained in a 2011 interview with The Atlantic. “Therefore, the dancer’s foot, toes, and ankle are subject to a force that is at least equal to the dancer’s weight. This force may increase as the dancer accelerates from flat-footed position to an en pointe position while practicing or performing.”
After the reveal of the scientist’s identity and the connection to the ballet shoes, the news led to a surge in Google search, according to the sites’ Trends data, of over 1,200%.
Want to see Nye’s reveal for yourself? Watch the video below.