Dance Dress Code Decoded: The Bun

When time for ballet class rolls around and you start running down your mental checklist of “to-do and to-grab,” one of the easiest things to forget is putting your dancer’s hair in a bun.

History of a Hairstyle  

Modernized Greek Knot

Modernized Greek Knot

Much like a tutu and ballet slippers, the bun is synonymous with a ballerina.  The bun’s origins date all the way back to the Greeks – a low, knotted bun at the nape of the neck.  Today, the style is known as a “Greek knot.”

The bun reemerged in the 1880s during Regency England (think Jane Austen novel movie adaptations) and moved from the bottom of the head up to the back of the head.

During the Victorian era, the bun was extremely popular with many variations.  The “Apollo’s Knot,” a middle-parted, high-sitting bun with ringlets surrounding the face is indicative of the period.

 The most recognizable bun from this period is the aptly named, “Victoria,” a sleek bun with two loops hanging down around the ears.

Gibson Girl

Gibson Girl

The bun later transformed in a loose, more natural look, “the Gibson Girl,” in the 1890s.

The bun began losing its dominance in the 1920s with the emergence of the bob.  The bun remains popular in different iterations like the top knot, “man bun,” and the always classic ballet bun which has never faded since its first appearance.

Why Do I Have To?

A secure bun for ballet or pointe (a ponytail is ok for other disciplines) is required for several of reasons:

  1. A bun allows your teacher to see the line from your head to your neck to your shoulders and your back clearly.
  2. A bun keeps the hair out of your eyes and face which allows you to see the teacher and your reflection in the mirror.
  3. A bun can prevent injury.  Have you ever had a braid to the eye?  Painful!

How Do I Do It?

Don’t be intimidated by the ballet bun!  Gather up a ponytail holder, some bobby pins, a hair net, and some hair spray.  With some practice, you’ll have ballet buns in the bag!  Try this tutorial for a quick how-to.

Ballet Bun

Ballet Bun

Any time you have questions about dress code or getting your hair into a bun, ask the SDC Staff.  We’re always happy to help!

Trip the light fantastic, dancers!

~Ms. Kerry