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Hair Essentials for Dance Competition Dancers

Updated: Sep 10, 2018

Hair can be a tricky one to get right, can’t it? If you’ve got a lot of hair, it can be hard to tame. If you’ve got thin hair, it can be hard to accentuate. You want it to look neat and tidy but not unnaturally tight. Just like bodies and faces, every head of hair is different. We can’t tell you exactly what is right for your performance, but we can give you some tips on how to help you along the way:

Before your start your competition hairstyle here are some tips to get the best from you hair.

  • Don’t wash your hair the day of the competition. In fact, try and leave it for at least two days. The more oils that your hair has had time to produce naturally, the less products you will need to use to control it.

  • Dry shampoo... it is going to be your life saver. Even if your hair appears clean, dry shampoo is a great tool to help you create volume.

  • Back-combing is a skill we don’t do enough. Even when you need to wear your hair up with tight precision, the way to avoid it looking flat is by back-combing the roots of your hair (the whole head). This will keep natural lift as well as helping you have a ‘crunchier’ base to dig pins into.

  • Dig pins into. Yep, I said it. If you want a slick up-do with no strays, you can never use enough pins. When you think you are done, put in a few more. Then head bang upside down, and put in a few more. Double crossing kirby grips can stop them from moving. Interlocking one leg of each straight pin (by bending one leg of each pin back) to another will stop them slipping too.

  • Just like you do with makeup, build up your hairspray. Start with a large spray all around every inch of your head, from approximately 30cm away. Then use the flat of your hand or a back-combing brush to smooth it out. Then, spray again but this time on more specific areas at a slightly closer range. You want to make the hair solid but avoid it being too shiny.

  • If you have long hair and are wearing it loose or completely down, be careful that it doesn’t cover your face. You can avoid this by putting some subtle plaits in your hair, or by back-combing and securing with lots of hairspray into a position you like. It will still move, even if it feels stiff around your head.

Hairstyle ideas

  • Check if your performance is era-specific. If it is, then do your research! If for example, you are doing a piece from ‘Hairspray’, look up ideas of 1960s hair and try your best to replicate this. It will take your overall presentation to the next level.

  • A ponytail can be your saving grace, but make an effort. A centre parted, low pony can help elongate the neckline and look more elegant. Wrapping and pinning a section of hair around the ponytail to hide the hair tie adds an extra level of sophistication and professionalism. Don’t forget... Slick the ponytail down with wax or hairspray so that it moves as one piece without static hairs going astray.

  • Hair pieces can be a great way of adding more volume, length or authenticity to your performance. But only if its done correctly. Invest in a good piece (it can be synthetic, but spend a little more money to avoid that shiny plastic look). Brush it and style it like your own hair to make it appear as natural as possible. Match the colour to your hair, and if you can’t get an exact match, dye it. Oh... and one more thing... practice in it! At least 5 times. Make sure your own hair is secure under it. Make sure you secure it to your own hair. Blend a half wig or non-lace front full wig with a section of your own hair at the front. Just like your makeup... blend it!

Whatever you do with your hair, make sure it makes sense for your performance. The most important parts are that you can dance in it, it doesn’t get in your way, it doesn’t distract your or the judges, and it looks authentic. Have fun with it, and just like any added presentation skill, practice!

If you want some hairstyle ideas check out this great pintrest board for some ideas

By Stephanie Clark Porter