Dance Hair 101: Why must ballet students wear their hair in a bun?
It is a long-standing tradition to see ballerinas with their hair gathered into a secure and neat bun, but there is more than just tradition to this elegant hairstyle. The most basic purpose of the bun is to keep hair from whipping the face (and other dancers’ faces) during turns. Pony tails and pig tails do not keep the hair secure to the head. The bun provides protection from the excruciating results of being whipped in the eyes by hair!
In addition, ballet class requires that students focus on many different aspects of their developing technique and therefore they cannot be distracted by loose hair falling down or getting in their face. It is also highly distracting to other students when another dancer holds up a combination to fix their hair or must ask for the teacher’s attention to help. Dancers are responsible for putting their hair in a secure bun prior to class and should take proper care to make sure the bun is not loose by using bobby pins and hair clips. For students who like to try something different, a French twist or chignon are fun and acceptable alternatives to the traditional ballet bun- just remember to pin or gel all loose hair for a neat look. To keep all the hair off the forehead and securely pinned up in a bun or twist will ensure that students are not wasting valuable class time fixing their hair so they can concentrate on what is most important in class- learning and developing a love for dance!
The ballet bun made easy-
Step 1 - brush hair and put in a pony tail or braid
Step 2 - gather and twist the pony tail/braid
Step 3 - begin coiling the twisted pony tail/braid around the hair elastic to create the bun shape
Step 4 - use bobby pins as you go along, pinning the twisted coil all the way around
Step 5 - depending on the length of hair, continue coiling and pinning until the entire pony tail is in the bun
Step 6 - add additional pins to make sure the bun is secure (have the dancer shake their head to feel if the bun is loose)
Step 7 - wrap a hairnet around the bun for a sleek look
Step 8 - add a scrunchie, flower wreath or ribbon if desired and your bun is complete!
Erika Lindblom, Dance Instructor