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Long Hair of the Ladies

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I seem to recall, in Midsummer, Helena and Hermia in wigs, since discarded.

The ladies in Merry Widow section of Vienna Waltzes -- except the Widow herself -- wear Gibson Girl (not the tv show) style wigs. There must be more, but none come to mind right now.

I remember one dancer in a long-hair principal role wearing a wig to compensate for her own short do, and the hair did not move naturally. When a dancer's hair is loose and it's not hers by nature, it's pretty obvious.

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Okay, you started it...

In Firebird, during the set change... (to the wedding scene)... and the corps does the the courtly dance.. (to disguise the sound of the screech, screech, screech of the risers being dragged across the stage)...don't the corps guys wear mustard colored 'bang-bobbed' wigs? And didn't you ever notice, those little SAB girls (when the curtain goes up) scootching, side-ways, across, the risers, holding onto their big, black, top-heavy, chiquita banana-hatted wigs (with always one poor child, whose head is petite, with her part resting on her nose?)

Or maybe not...I tend to make my own history as I age.

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Long hair was always important to Mr. B. When the teen-aged young marrieds were faced with economic hardship, first wife Tamara Geva had her knee-length hair shorn to make some money. So it may not be a surprise that when he made his Valse Triste (1922) on first muse Lydia Ivanova, her long hair --said to have been thrown with Isadora Duncan-like abandon-- was a crucial component in its performance. And when last muse Suzanne Farrell returned, he created the wildly hair-tossing Tzigane for her.

This season's Walpurgisnacht exploited the freeing of long hair in creating the feeling of frenzie as the beautiful witches began their annual rite. Clues that the hair was real, as suggested by other posters --non-uniform length and color, the natural freedom of flow, certainly led me to believe they weren't using wigs.

However, in leading roles that feature long hair some short-haired ballerinas have supplemented their filamentous failings. You may find specific examples in last year's Dancers thread on Short Hair. I suppose augmentation would be less a problem for a soloist, but would stand out like a sore thumb in the corps. Yet, seeing hair-dancer Janie Taylor this season in the Robbins Faun, well, that was the real thing: cropping that hair would be a mortal sin, comparable to breaking a dancer's leg.

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My favorite moment in Serenade is in the finale, when the three women nest against each other with their heads tilted back, and all of that magnificent hair is flowing. The red-haired Calegari or the blond Kozlova or Kistler, contrasting with the medium brown hair of Watts or Nichols, and the dark, dark hair of Ashley or Lopez or Melinda Roy made my pulse jump.

Thank you, Farrell Fan, for mentioning The Cage and Orpheus. I can't believe I forgot those short glam wigs for the insect women or the ropy wigs for the Bacchantes. And carbro for the "Merry Widow" wigs. I think there are wigs in the "Trollops and Dandies" section of Vienna Waltzes, too.

I think it would be impossibly warm to dance in a wig, but the Royal Ballet seemed to use wigs for everything, and I guess dancers have gotten used to worse, like hard stages.

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This is my pet hate: either pin it up and keep it that way or cut it off.

I'm with you. Most of the time the hair looks stringy. Perhaps if the flowing tresses looked like a shampoo commercial, I might change my mind.---but I don't think so. :angry2:

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[ ... ] seeing hair-dancer Janie Taylor this season in the Robbins Faun, well, that was the real thing [ ... ]

Love the phrase "hair dancer." We've certainly seen lots of those. Do ballet schools offer hints about how to perform port de cheveux? :angry2:

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Ditto drb, I've seen it too on an R&J dvd--poor Romeo blinded by love and flying hair. I also wasn't sure I liked Vishneva's ponytail in Act 1 of Giselle. I saw it in a publicity pic and first thought it was a "sporran" for one of the Court men, but then realized it was attached to her head. And then I saw a live performance and felt that it was both WRONG for the period, and made her too girlish--essentially using a hairstyle instead of acting/technique to convey youth and/or innocence.

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