Hair wrapped in a bun is older than ballet. It can be traced back to Grecian woman who twisted jewels into the low knot as a sign of status and wealth. Then, woman of the Victorian Era moved the bun higher and added curls and braids. As they were getting creative with different styles of buns, classical ballet was gaining popularity and depth. To this day, a ballet bun enhances a dancer both physically and psychologically.
First, it shows respect. Ballet is rich in history and traditions. Its lessons go far beyond movement. A dancer is disciplined, well put together. The leotard and tights are fitted and ribbons tucked into the shoes. A bun completes the look and provides immediate poise and confidence going into class or performance. It’s the same concept as scheduling a hair appointment after buying a prom dress. Styled hair provides poise and confidence while honoring the occasion.
Second, it’s an aspect of safety. Turns are laced throughout the movement. A dancer spots their head to turn without getting dizzy then seamlessly transition into the next move. When hair is loose it whips into a dancers face and eyes interrupting their ability to spot. Loose hair can cause a dancer to miss step like an untied running shoe in a race.
Third, loose hair continually needs fixed. While turning, jumping and stretching, loose hair falls and whips into the face and eyes. Young dancers interrupt the instructor to assist them in fixing their hair. Intermediate and advanced dancers lose vital practice time and corrections on time spent doing and or re-doing their hair.
Fourth, floppy and falling hair interrupts facial expression. To mature in performance dancers learn to keep their eyes off the floor and be mindful of what smile, if any, is the right smile according to the music, movement or story. A dancer needs to practice the way she wants to perform. This applies to the movement, face and hair.
Fifth, hair in the unfamiliar feel of a bun on performance day can physically and psychologically interfere with even a well-rehearsed dancer. During a performance unpracticed buns tend to fall and a dancers center of gravity and security in movement and facial expression can be hindered.
The ballet bun still has its place even though we are far beyond the Grecian and Victorian era. Certainly the times have changed as we race from school, extra-curricular activities, dinner and homework. In the midst of it all, don’t let getting hair into a bun frazzle you. It takes weeks for a dancer to achieve her splits and it can take weeks to figure out a ballet bun. Length and texture of hair varies. There are aisles full of varying pins, clips, headbands and products to help. When your child is ready, pass off the hairbrush and responsibility off to her.
Posted on Wed, October 1, 2014
by Heidi Vander Boon