I grew up dancing, and from my first recital at age three, all the way through my shows with my college company, I noticed many ways that ballet and beauty go hand in hand.
Now, however, my own dance career is over and I have the unique pleasure of teaching ballet to a gaggle of squirrely but adorable middle school girls. Those who can’t, right?
So I thought I’d teach you, beautiful xoVainers, some of the cardinal rules of ballet beauty I’ve picked up over the years.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
While dancers on stage may be know for their elaborate makeup, in class it’s a different story. The instructor needs to be able to see very precisely how your body is aligned and how you are moving, so nothing should distract from that. Along with their pink tights, black leotard, and absence of jewelry, dancers are expected to keep their hair and makeup neat, clean, and understated.
To get the look, start with a ballet bun. This isn’t the time to whip out your bun rings. A true ballet bun is small and tight, and falls anywhere from the nape of the neck to the middle of your head, no higher.
Comb your hair back while it's still damp to keep flyaways smoothed down to your scalp. Gather the hair in a super-tight ponytail at the base of your head, and then start twisting that ponytail until it starts coiling around itself to form a perfect bun. Secure with approximately a thousand bobby pins and seal with hairspray so it doesn’t come loose when you’re spotting your pirouettes.
For makeup, less is more.
Skip the foundation; you would just sweat it off in ballet class anyway. Sweep a matte or satin finish shadow one shade darker than your skin across your eyelid—I chose MAC eyeshadow in Soba. Then finish with a coat of your favorite volumizing mascara.
For color, choose a cream blush like Stila Convertible Color in Lillium, a perfect ballet pink, and tap it across your cheekbones and lips. This stuff stays, too, so no worries about it melting off under the stage lights (which is also what I call the fluorescent desk lamp in my cube).
Finish it off with a swirl of setting powder, if you like, for a fresh-faced look. So demure and chic, amirite?
TAKE CARE OF YOUR FEET
Not gonna lie: dancer feet can get pretty gnarly. It’s especially hard to keep them looking nice because you want to keep those dancer callouses to prevent blistering in your pointe shoes. No pedicures allowed. Still, foot care is essential, especially since your feet can take such a beating in class.
To keep everything fresh and clean, wash with a tea tree oil soap, like Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle body wash. It gets rid of nasty bacteria and that dank sweaty shoe smell.
Follow it up with Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Creme. This super-thick formula makes feet sooooo soft and smell like tropical heaven. Put socks on after applying because this stuff is so rich and sticky that it will get all over everything if you don’t. But that means that it will stick tight to your feet to soothe and soften them all night long.
PERFECT YOUR POSTURE
The final rule for looking balletically beautiful is posture. Now while you are all un-slouching yourselves, lemme drop some posture knowledge.
Improving your posture is the single quickest and most convenient way to improve your appearance wherever you are. Good posture makes you look taller and slimmer, if that’s what you’re into, but it can also push the gals into an extra flattering position and make you look more confident, which everyone knows is super-sexy.
The trick is looking poised, but not rigid. Start standing with your heels together and your toes pointed outwards. Imagine stacking each joint from the heels on up on top of the previous one, to visualize aligning yourself properly.
A good reminder for the most difficult body parts to maintain--the neck, head, and shoulders--is to imagine a string running from the base of your spine all through the middle of your body, coming right out the top of your head and attaching to the ceiling, as if you were a marionette. Feel your neck elongating and your head resting comfortably on top of it, remembering to keep your shoulders down and relaxed instead of bunching them up to your ears.
Boom. You look better already.
It's a hard habit to get into, but by carrying yourself this way for just one day you will notice that you look better in your clothes, feel less soreness in your lower back and neck from hunching over, and even feel a boost in your mood, too.
Let me know if these tricks work for you. And as we dancers say to each other before going onstage, Merde!