Teaching Tips

If You Want Your Dancers to Let Go, Try Adding Some "Hairography"

Dancing with your hair down is a unique skill that doesn't come naturally to all dancers. For some, hair in the face can throw everything off. It can feel like a wild animal has landed on your head, impairs your vision and occasionally smacks your face and ends up in your mouth. But despite looking to be a spontaneous choice, dancing sans hair security needs to be practiced to look natural.


Plus, it gives dancers an entirely different feeling, says Debbie Roshe, who teaches jazz and theater dance at The School at Steps in New York City. And the difference, from a teacher's viewpoint, is obvious. Especially for the bunheads. "Dancing with your hair down is different for dancers who come from a ballet background," says Roshe. "Having their hair down allows them to literally 'let their hair down.' It allows them to throw themselves into the choreography and not be so careful with their movement."

In the video below, Roshe's Intermediate level-two students (12- to 14-year olds) are seen whipping their heads in the warm-up. This is a great place to introduce the sensation to young students so they can use the mirror as a point of focus. "We're doing an end-of-year showcase with a rock-and-roll piece that definitely calls for hair down," says Roshe. She frequently also asks her adult professional-level classes to take their hair down. "It's important to know the timing for flipping it out of your face," adds Roshe.

How do you incorporate "hairography" into your class?

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