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Monday, January 26, 2015

Styling Short Hair for Ballroom

So as you might guess, I get most of the ideas for my posts by eavesdropping on various conversations around my studio. Of course, I do get ideas from you lovely readers, but more often than not, my ideas come from overhearing conversations of new dancers and/or being directly asked questions by newcomers. Interestingly, one of the most common discussions I hear is how to style short hair, or rather does one even need to style short hair. First off, the answer to the later is “Yes! Regardless of the length of your hair, you must style your hair for competitions and all other performances.” Why, you ask? "Why, do I need to style my short hair for comps/performances when it doesn’t get into my face/eyes anyway?" Well, put simply, because you look unfinished. When you put such extensive effort into your costume, tanning, makeup, etc., it looks a bit odd when you just leave your hair without any styling.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “How do I do anything with my hair? I’m not like you long haired girls with tons of options.”

You’re right! You’re not like those of us with long locks to manage – you’re actually a bit luckier in a lot of respects, because your hairstyle is going to be a lot less time consuming and probably a lot easier to construct. And while I don’t have short hair, I have picked up a few styling tips and tricks from watching my crop-locked companions prep for comps, as well as just generally observing how short-haired competitors style their hair.

In this post, we’ll talk about three main varieties of short hairstyles, which most of you should be able to fit into: pixie cuts, bobs, and something in-between.

Pixie cuts are probably one of the easiest cuts to style, as all you really need to do is get some gel and/or pomade (whichever works best for you) and get to spiking. Spiked hair is generally the way women with super-short styles go when it comes to ballroom hair; check out photos of Blackpool Latin Champion (among many other notable titles) Joanna Leunis if you need some inspiration.

For those of you with slightly longer styles, especially styles that are short in the back and longer in the front, slicking your hair straight back is always an OK option, but there are much more adventurous routes you can, and should, take. One of my favorite options for short-haired dancers is to use gel and make various swirls with the front portion of your hair, making sure to keep all of the pieces off your face and out of your eyes; this style adds more interest and keeps the look more feminine. Additionally, you can use a curling iron and curl your hair all over to help create volume and use pomade and/or gel to solidify these shapes to your liking. Again, Joanna Leunis is an awesome example of how to style hair this length, as she’s not only rocked a pixie, but she’s also had slightly longer, but still short, styles.

Additionally, some super-dedicated Latin dancers opt to have their hair cut into dance-friendly styles, that move well as they dance. Usually these styles are long in the front and super short in the back, which looks amazing on the floor. Unfortunately, however, I don’t think these styles always translate off the dance floor, but, if I’m honest, they’re some of my favorite on the floor. And an added bonus of these styles is you don’t really need much styling pre-comp, as your hair has been cut into a style specifically to move well as you dance. That said, I’m not sure that all coaches and judges are cool with this look, so you may want to run it past your coach before you decide this is the route for you. Check out images of Viktorija Puhovika to get a better idea of what I’m trying to describe, and also check out this video to see how killer this hairstyle looks on the floor. Just keep in mind, you can’t touch it if it gets in your face/eyes, so before you decide to wear this one to your next comp be sure you can manage that sometimes monumental task!

Finally, the last style I’m going to discuss in this post is the bob. Unfortunately, this is probably the single most difficult style to arrange when it comes to looking appropriate on the dance floor. Not to mention, there’s quite a lot of controversy regarding how to style bobs properly. My best friend actually rocks a bob, and I’ve seen her struggle with styling and the controversy surrounding how to style a bob appropriately, and while she’s yet to reach a definitive answer on how to address the issue, I’ll do my best to give you some pointers and I’ll report back if she ever solves the issue. In my personal opinion, the best thing to do with a bob, at least for Latin, is pretty much leave it alone. I love how dancers like Anastasia Kolktova and Khrystyna Moshenka look on the floor with their neatly cut, straightened, and styled bobs look on the floor. I do think there’s a fair amount of styling done to create this look, though I can’t tell you precisely how to get it; that said, if you have a bob you can probably figure it out or have your stylist teach you. Also, I think quite a lot of these styles depend on the cut as well as the texture of your hair. Total honesty: if I wore a bob this is how I would wear my hair for Latin, and anyone who didn’t like it could just fuck off. However, as mentioned previously, bob styling can be somewhat controversial, and for many coaches wearing your bob like the aforementioned Latin goddesses is a big no-no. If that’s the case with your coach, I recommend clip-in extensions or other hairpieces that can help you create the look of long hair. Also important to note, I always recommend extensions/hairpieces for Standard/Smooth when it comes to styling a bob.

Do you have short hair and have any tips for styling short hair for comps? If you do, comment below and give us your best tips!


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