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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Men/boys being asked to cut long hair for a role?


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Hi, I apologize for double posting this question, but I realized that I needed the input of adult male dancers, not parents of boys...


My 11 year old son loves ballet & has been dancing for 6 or 7 years. Two summers ago he decided to grow his hair long. He has beautiful, long blonde curls that he keeps in a tidy low ponytail. The ponytail is about 5" long at most. Last year at our local Nutcracker (our company is RDA in modern, just FYI, so it is a decent company, not a little local dance school) my son was a cousin for the 2nd time. This year he has been offered the role of Frederick(Fritz) IF he cuts his hair.


How normal is this kind of a request? The same company has had adult males with long hair in the Nutcracker (just last year & same ADs), with low ponytail & a grosgrain ribbon, so this request seemed somewhat out of line in that light.


I have to let my son know when he comes home from school at 4Pm Pac time. We have to give our decision in a couple hours. He is very serious about ballet, recently discussing taking dance in college & as a career. So in light of that, does he need to get used to the idea that he will have to cut his hair?


Thank you for your input

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Yes, I'm afraid it is normal for ballet companies to require a specific hairstyle and length (for example, women's hair must be long enough for a bun). Some professional contracts do not allow dancers to alter their hairstyles during the performing season. In the case of this company, they may have preferred one look for some adults and another for children. The nice thing about hair is that it grows back, so he need not keep it short the rest of the year if he prefers it long and it's all right with the school.

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CUT IT!!!! It doesn't have to be crew/military cut, but he should be able to comb it neatly without any hair in his eyes. You have to think Dennis the Menace short, without the cowlick. Boys are meant to be boys and girls are meant to be girls. And in ballets, the girls have the long hair. This is a very normal request.


I have a student right now that is about maybe 8-9 years old and has very long hair a la the famous runner Prefontaine and it does not make him look neat or tidy. I know there is a cute face under there somewhere.


I will tell you another extreme. I had a young boy who cut his hair but shaved it all off. We didn't realize that he did this until he got on stage and took off his had and his head was nice and shiny. Talk about a shocker.


The hair should not be cut the week of or the day of, but at least 2-2.5 weeks before the performance so it doesn't look choppy. It should look "well worn."


In conclusion, if the company needs a certain look, the company needs the certain look. That's how it goes~


Hope this helps.

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One more thing...


Being a professional, when in doubt about my hair, I always ask my director if I can/should cut my hair or not.

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And now for a perfectly pragmatic answer: If his hair is long enough where it could conceivably reach his eyes while he dances, then it needs cutting. Scratched corneas are no light matter.

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Now that the deadline has passed, I'm going to close this one, and reopen the one on Parents, as balletboy is actually a Mom, and the answers will be better there for parenting purposes. Just for the record, I got my hair cut this year, when an eighteenth-century role fell through and now I have to buy myself a half-wig for Nutcracker!

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