What’s the Big Deal About the Bun?

By Ava Karas

Okay ladies, we need to talk…about hair! Many of you may have questions about why we have to spend time putting our hair up in buns for ballet class, as well as performances.

  • The obvious reason is as simple as tradition. Wearing a bun in ballet class shows respect for the art form and its history. Since the development of the camera and even in the paintings of Edgar Degas, ballet buns have been present. In the courts of Italy where ballet originated, historical documents show that women wore their hair slicked back in a bun. Although we may not realize it, ballet buns have more logic to them than what meets the eye.

  • Buns are made to keep hair out of your face. In a performance, it would be distracting for an audience member to constantly see a dancer tossing hair out of their face.

  • It’s also a problem for the dancer. Let’s say you’re trying to do a turning sequence with your hair down. Your hair would most likely flop down into your face and whip your eyes (making them water), interfering with your spot and making your turns disastrous. Whereas if you have your hair in a bun, your spot and channel of vision would be clear, meaning that your turns would have a higher level of success.

  • Wearing your hair down is not only a problem for you—it’s hard for your partner. His job is hard enough, spinning you around, lifting you up off the ground, running you all over creation—he doesn’t need hair hitting him in the face to top it all off. That would make for a pretty sour relationship.

  • Not only is wearing your hair out a problem for you AND your partner—it’s a problem for your teacher. When everyone’s hair is in a bun, teachers have more access to your upper body that they can fix. Plus, it’s a bonus when everyone’s hair looks the same—it’s easier for them to see who is doing what.

    So, with all that being said — just wear your hair in a bun! It’s fun being a rebellion—but it’s easier if you just follow the guidelines that your teachers and tradition set for you because it’s the best thing to do (in this case). It is a sign of respect for your instructors as well as peers … and you can get creative with it and make some pretty cute Homecoming/Prom hair!

    P.S. Little ones, if you are having trouble with your ballet buns, ask an older girl, they’d be happy to show you how it’s done!

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