Channel classical ballet heroines in these princess-perfect tutus.
You got a lob, and it’s adorable—but it’s probably also un-bun-able. How can you keep it out of your face for class? We asked hair pro Chuck Jensen to create three dance-friendly updos that are perfect for shorter hair. (All photos by Jayme Thorton)
Tucked French Braid
1. Tucked French Braid
• Create a French braid—crossing the strands over, not under, as you go—
from the top of your head to the nape of your neck.
• Braid the remaining tail of hair (as best you can) in a standard braid.
• Tuck the tail under and use hairpins to secure it, creating “X” shapes with the pins for security.
Chuck’s Tip: Have slippery and/or dramatically layered hair? Wet the
ends before beginning the braid, to keep them from sliding or sticking out.
Modified Gibson Tuck
2. Modified Gibson Tuck
• Create a deep side part.
• Grab two small pieces from one side of the part and twist them together.
• Keep picking up new pieces of hair as you twist along the side of your head, pinning at intervals to keep the twist from unraveling.
• Repeat on the other side.
• Make a ponytail, incorporating all remaining hair, at the base of your neck.
• Roll the tail upward and use hairpins to secure it at your nape.
• Gently pull the ponytail roll and the side twists together, so they look like one seamless twist.
Chuck’s Tip: Hide any leftover ends by tucking them into the side twists.
French Twist with a Twist
3. French Twist with a Twist
• Create a part along the top of your head from ear to ear, dividing your hair into two sections.
• Pin the front section out of the way.
• Create a small French twist with the back section by making a low ponytail and then pulling the hair upward as you twist it. Tuck the ends into the top of the twist.
• Unpin the front section of hair and create a deep side part in it.
• Twist the hair on one side of the part into a rope.
• Tuck the end of the rope under itself and pin it to the top of the French twist.
• Repeat the previous two steps with the hair on the other side of the part.
Six ballerinas discuss why they love their pointe shoes.
Kajiya in Ben Stevenson's The Nutcracker (Photo by Amitava Sarkar, courtesy Houston Ballet)
Yuriko Kajiya, Principal, Houston Ballet
Foot type: Wide and flat, with long toes
Shoe: Capezio Tiffany
Customizations: “I like my heels and sides to be lower than those of the stock shoes. One of the biggest things Capezio does for me is cut down my shank to almost nothing. I really like how light the shoes feel on my feet.”
Kajiya’s advice to dancers: “Pointe shoes are like Cinderella slippers—you’re always trying to find the style that’ll help you dance your best. I’d advise younger dancers not to go with shoes that are too hard in the beginning. They can cause damage to your Achilles tendons if you aren’t strong enough.”
Rausch in Ulysses Dove's Red Angels (Photo by Angela Sterling, courtesy Pacific Northwest Ballet)
Lesley Rausch, Principal, Pacific Northwest Ballet
Foot type: Long and narrow, with very high arches
Shoe: Freed of London “V” maker
Customizations: “I wear wing-blocked shoes and ask them to bang out the bottom
and platform so they’re really flat. Freed also three-quarters the shank and makes the vamp and sides to my specifications. A lot of shoes try to make you go over your pointe more, and that just doesn’t
work for my ankles.”
Rausch’s advice to dancers: “Talk to someone who has a foot shape similar to yours, especially if you like the way her shoes look. Find out what she wears and what her tricks are. It’s really a matter of trial and error.”
Button in Jose Martinez's Resonance (Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy Boston Ballet)
Dusty Button, Principal, Boston Ballet
Foot type: Wide at the ball, narrow at the heel
Shoe: Bloch Inc. Jetstream
Customizations: “To accommodate my foot shape, Bloch makes the heel of my shoe much narrower than the base. Because my arch is closer to my heel than the middle of my foot, they remove one of the nails from the bottom so it breaks right where my arch is.”
Button’s advice to dancers: “Don’t just follow what’s trendy. I think it’s silly when people tell you not to wear a certain brand or type of shoe. Find what actually works for your foot, regardless of anyone else’s thoughts or what your favorite dancer wears.”
Erickson in La Bayadere (Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre)
Julia Erickson, Principal, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
Foot type: Wide and square, with bunions
Shoe: Gaynor Minden #4 box
Customizations: “I have some of the material cut down on the sides, and the back half of the upper is made with Gaynor Minden’s Luxe fabric lining, which prevents the wrinkling that can happen when you point your foot in your shoe. I also have a box liner because I’m kind of in between sizes. I wear both the hard shank and the ExtraFlex shank, depending on the role I’m dancing. These shoes are great, because they really let my metatarsals spread and alleviate the pressure on my bunions.”
Erickson’s advice to dancers: “Be patient. It takes time to find the shoe that feels like an extension of your body. Wear what makes you feel free to dance the way you want to dance.”
Angelova in Balanchine's Walpurgisnacht Ballet (Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy The Suzanne Farrell Ballet)
Violeta Angelova, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet
Foot type: Under-pronated with a recovering injury on the fifth metatarsal
Shoe: Sansha Etudes
Customizations: “I don’t have a special order on this particular shoe. I actually wear a few different brands of pointe shoes depending on the role that I’m dancing. These shoes are very quiet, so when I recently danced Giselle, which has so many jumps, they worked well. I do have to make sure my shoes are softened properly to avoid aggravating my fifth metatarsal.”
Angelova’s advice to dancers: “Try as many different shoes as possible. If you can, have a fitting with a shoe company and see if they can make a trial shoe especially for you.”
Scheller with Tyler Angle in Balanchine's The Four Temperaments (Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy NYCB)
Ana Sophia Scheller, Principal, New York City Ballet
Foot type: Wide
Shoe: Grishko Nova
Customizations: “My vamp and sides are slightly shorter than those of the stock shoe, and my shank is measured to break with my arch, with additional flexibility through demi-pointe. I like that these shoes last a lot longer than any others I’ve worn.”
Scheller’s advice to dancers: “You always want a pretty shoe, but make sure it’s also comfortable so it doesn’t cause injuries.”
Get Dance Spirit in your inbox