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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Hair for Class


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The leotard questions have gotten such good suggestions I thought I'd give this a try.


I have extremely long hair (much much longer than my waist), and I usually braid it and put the braid into a bun (with many large bobby pins to keep it in place). Unless we're doing a lot of pique or chaine turns in a row it stays up fairly well, but I'm getting up to 4 or 5 classes a week lately and I'm sure it's not good for my hair or my head to do that practically everyday (headaches, breaking hair).


Does anyone have any suggestions for securing long hair in a non-ballerina bun fashion? I'm afraid cutting it is not really an option :rolleyes:

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My hair is also long and very thick. Although there are some days I'd love the feeling of pique turns with short, bobbed hair, I prefer to keep it long. I've tried a number of styles over the years that work well.


1. French twist


2. Put hair in a ponytail. Braid the ponytail. Fold the ponytail backwards (not under) and pin into place.


3. Make a very high (a la Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany's) bun and after pinning it well, surround it with either a braided piece of my mother's hair (she has the same auburn color), or with a flouncy scrunchy.


4. Heidi of the Mountains hairdo: two ponytails (pigtails, actually) on either side, braid them, then twist the braids into circles and fasten with pins. This is my ethnic side coming out.


5. Low ponytail. Fasten right above it a barrette that has a snood attached, and tuck the ponytail into the snood (great for days when there isn't much time).


6. A take on the Heidi do above: Instead of coiling the braids, simply fold them in half and catch them with another ponytail fastener.


7. Low ponytail. Braid it. Coil it into a bun and pin at nape of neck.

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dido, I agree that working with that much hair on an almost daily basis for class is a problem. What I don't understand is why cutting it is not an option. Dancers grow their hair and keep it long enough to secure in a bun for classes, if that is a priority for them. Keeping your hair at a manageable length for classes seems to me to be a priority. I love long hair, but I'm afraid I do not understand needing hair that is below waist length. What is the purpose? If it is too much hair to keep comfortably secure for classes, and you are dancing that much, then do whatever it takes to make it more secure and comfortable and safe for your head too! :wink:

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Since I started ballet I have worn my hair on a bun practically every day - some days I have it on the bun from morning to evening, some days I just braid it in the morning and lift it up to a bun before class. I've been doing this for over two years now, and I have not noticed any harm to my hair... so if I was you I wouldn't worry about that unless you actually start seeing breaking hairs.


My hair is to the waist and to begin with wearing buns used to cause me headaches too. Wearing a high bun for several hours still sometimes does, but mostly I'm used to it. Don't know if you will too, with such a long hair.

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I think Miss V is right in terms of what is most practical, particularly if you hair is thick as well as long. But if you've got a man in your life who loves it long, that's a pretty strong influence too. I did cut mine to the shoulders a little over a year ago, and my friends in class were immediately upset with me. So, it's back to being pretty long again (mid-back). I've cut it several times since then because it grows just about overnight. I'd say if you're going to keep it long, make sure to free it from the constraints of buns and braids and ponytails often enough to reduce the pull and wear and tear. And keep those split ends trimmed.

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Thanks for the suggestions Funny Face, I think the braided coils and loops will work for me, and I think I must be pretty dumb, because I never even thought of switching the placement of the bun, that alone will help.


I also plan to try only putting it up for class, instead of all day, thanks Jaana.


Oh, and why I can't cut it? My grandmother would be very upset if I did. I'm fond of it myself, but would definitely take off 6 inches to a foot if not for her. :yawn:


Thanks again, and if anybody else has ways to break the monotony I'd love to hear them.

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Funny how our grandmothers influence us. My grandmother had the first cosmetology license in her state and kept her hair long and auburn right up until her 102nd birthday when she passed away.


The French twist is kind of a trial and error thing. I do it best when I'm not trying and it just goes up in a second. You basically start at the bottom (the nape of the neck) and fold it over your hand, pinning it as you go. When you get to the top, you can keep folding it under and pinning, or you can turn it into a pretty coil and pin it that way. It can all be at the back of the head, or you can bring it up a bit over the top so that there's a bit of lift to the do.


There are some old hairdo handbooks I still have that give instructions on these classic styles. Maybe you can find one in the library.


Also, look at the pictures in Dance Magazine, etc. There are some great ideas there for hair and makeup in the photos.

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Guest Adrienne

Okay, this is kind of stupid, but what is the best way for someone with bangs to put her hair in a bun? I read something about it on another site, but I am not good with hair. Sometimes I'm amazed I can even manage to put mine in a ponytail.

Edited by Adrienne
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Adrienne, the bangs don't really have anything to do with the bun! Just make a pony tail and then either coil the hair around and pin it, or fold it under and pin it. If there are a lot of loose ends then you might want to use a net to secure it. Large hairpins are better than bobby pins for a bun, but don't use the little tiny ones because they don't hold and they fly out. Bangs can be slicked back with a bit of spray and clips or barretts, or, if they are not too long and your teacher doesn't object, leave them down. Some teachers will not allow bangs, others don't seem to mind as long as they are not in your eyes.

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Bangs were never allowed when I danced in our company, but I don't typically pin mine back just for class. However, when I do need to get them off my face, my favorite way (and the most flattering way) to do this is to part the hair in the middle, and roll just the very front part (the bangs portion) back very taut, gathering a little more hair into the roll as you work down either side of the head (you can spray this roll into place as you create it). The effect is sort of like coronet braids. Once you get the roll all the way to the ears on either side, put all of your hair in the pony tail at the nape of the neck and fix the bun from there.

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That little fringe across the forehead, which I, in fact, just trimmed last night for class this a.m. Gotta go!

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Guest beckster

We call it a "fringe" in the UK. Where the front of your hair is short and cut in a straight line around the level of the eyebrows. I've no idea where the name "bangs" came from - can't see how it relates to anything!

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Well, as far as my memory goes, Ekaterina Maximova used to wear her "bangs" (or "fringe") for very classical roles,like Sugar Plum. I always thought it was strange that she was allowed to do so at the Bolshoi!!!!



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