Ballet Hair

Different Ballet Buns and Hairstyles Appropriate for Class and Rehearsal

It is very important for dancers to have hair secured out of their face in class for several reasons. When turning, ponytails and stray hairs can be dangerous when whipped across the dancer’s face. In addition, the weight of the height throws off balance and can prevent effective spotting techniques that enable multiple turns and quicker rotations. Finally, the student who is constantly fixing and re-doing a hairstyle cannot focus on the material being taught. While it is not always feasible to take the time for a perfect classical bun and the standard bun doesn’t work very well with shorter hair or thick, heavy hair, it is possible for every dancer to find an acceptable dance hairstyle. Here are some suggestions or ask the instructor for other options.


“Cinnamon roll bun”

Start with hair pulled back into a ponytail and secure with elastic rubber band

Divide ponytail into 2 sections. Twist one section and wrap around elastic, pinning with bobby pins or hair pins AS you wrap (hair will stay better if you wrap a little, pin, wrap a little more, pin, etc. rather than wrapping all at once and pin afterward-bun is less likely to unravel). Repeat with second section around the outside of the first section that is already in a small bun.

Cover with hair net if pieces of hair spray out of bun to create a clean line.

“Braided Bun”

Start with hair pulled back into a ponytail and secure with elastic rubber band.

Divide ponytail into 3 sections and braid, securing with small elastic at the bottom. Wrap braid around elastic, pinning with bobby pins or hair pins as you wrap, tucking in the end of the ponytail and pin. No need for hairnet!

“Snood”

Start with hair pulled back into a ponytail and secure with elastic rubber band.

Twist ponytail and wrap around elastic, pinning with bobby pins or hair pins as you wrap. Cover bun with crocheted bun cover, available at WWD or any dancewear store. Secure with a few extra pins so cover does not fall off.


“Finger Roll Bun”

(Works for short hairstyles that have a harder time staying in other buns.)

Start with hair pulled back into a ponytail and secure with elastic rubberband.

Divide ponytail into 4 sections. Place finger horizontally at top of ponytail and wrap top section over finger, pinning underneath finger to head. Carefully slide finger out to reveal loop. Repeat the same with bottom section of hair, placing finger underneath ponytail and again with the side, placing fingers vertically on sides of ponytail. After four sections are pinned, manipulate loops and connect corners together to shape into doughnut-looking bun.

Spray with hairspray or carefully cover with hairnet.

“Avedon Hair”

(Created by Michael Avedon, stylist and make-up artist for New York City Ballet) Works best when hair is damp or wet. Start with hair pulled back into a tight, smooth ponytail and secure with elastic rubber band. Divide ponytail into 3 sections, spray each section with hairspray or work mouse in. Twist one section and wrap around elastic, pinning with bobby pins or hair pins AS you wrap. Twist second section and loop into a figure-eight above small bun, secure with pins. Twist third section and loop into a figure-eight below bun, secure with pins. Be creative as you style the figure-eights, making your hair your own stylized crown or head piece for your head.


“Rehearsal Hair”

Start with hair pulled back into a ponytail and secure with elastic rubber band. Twist into figure-eight above a low ponytail or below a high one. Clip the twisted hair to hair on head using large, metal clip. For longer or thicker hair, elongate the shape of the figure eight and use two clips to attach to head. Tuck end of ponytail under twisted hair and secure with bobby pins.


"French Twist for Medium to Long Hair"

Gather hair into low ponytail at nape of neck. Twist ponytail and fold upwards, continuing to twist as you fold. While holding the end of the ponytail at the top of the French twist, insert long bobby pin vertically at the base of the twist. Pin smaller bobby pins on folded side of twist, locking them with the long vertical pin. Fold end of ponytail into top of the folded side of the French twist, creating a little loop at the top of head. Pin into twist and secure loop to head. Another option is to twist end of ponytail into a bun at the top of the head and secure with pins. For shorter hair, make two twists. Start one with a ponytail at top of the head and twist down, start one from the bottom up, using the pinning techniques described above and tuck each end into opposite twist and pin underneath fold.