Tag Archives: ballroom hair

How About a Few Action Shots?

2 Dec

We had a club demo this past weekend and got some nice photos taken by friends.

Looking happy:

B&G VBDS Demo-7

The problem with a height difference:

B&G VBDS Demo-1

Swirly skirts and tango face:

B&G VBDS Demo-3

Check out Pacifica Ball on Facebook for a video of our waltz.

About time to post some nice results

1 Dec

We had a fantastic time at the Snowball Classic and had some great results.  Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have any good photos, so we will go with some taken at a demo this past weekend.

First, the results:

Senior III Gold – 3rd out of a quarter final with 15 couples.

Senior II Gold – 5th out of a quarter with 17 couples.

Senior I Gold – 5th out of a quarter with 19 couples.

These are our best Snowball placings ever and in the past we have not even made all the finals, so we are tickled pink.  So happy we are moving right out of Gold into pre-Champ.  Crazy or what?  Lots of reasons, good and not so good for doing this, and it should be interesting.

Photos from our club demo:

IMG_0322 IMG_0326 IMG_0324

Seattle Star Ball 2014

7 Aug

It was a hot one.   Like really hot, hot, hot.   At least by our feeble West Coast standards.  It was the kind of hot that even though we were in a chilly air conditioned ballroom, the sweat from dancing was still damp after sitting in the chill for over an hour waiting for results.  For those unfamiliar with competition etiquette, it is considered bad form to change out of costume until after the awards are presented, so after basically sprinting indoors off and on for an hour or so, the ladies pull off their shoes, the guys rip off the soaking jackets and we wait.


Then we get really, really cold and start putting (mostly wet) clothes back on and wait some more.

If we are really smart, we take photos before the results.  Especially wise when one is moving up a category for the first time!



We did ok in spite of feeling a bit inadequately warmed up and Bill pulling a calf muscle part way through.  We were not a bit intimidated by the idea of a floor full of faster moving Novice and Pre-Champ dancers.  Perhaps we should have been….

Nevertheless, we came 5th in Senior II Open Novice Standard (not last!) and 6th in Senior I Open Novice Standard.  Last, but with just a few non-last place marks.  This is how one adjusts expectations when moving up.  LOL.  Third in  Senior I Gold Standard which was very close to a 2nd place.  The tie had to be broken by some magical algorithm that, as it is math, I won’t attempt to explain.

Then, we take photos:


Hair – get the hair!


My ballroom sister Candy, also with a new dress and fancy new hair.

And then the silly photos.


The new gown performed really well and I am excited to get working on it again – finalize the way the floats connect, get some rhinestones on the skirt and a few other little details.  should be gorgeous-er in time for The Snowball Classic.

Oh – one more thing!  Since this gown has lovely flowers in the organza over skirt and the rhinestone flowers on the top look more like fireworks, I am naming this one The Butchart Gown after the fabulous Gardens that have amazing flowers and a breathtaking fireworks display every Saturday night throughout the summer.

Done enough to wear – magical day.

27 Jul

Finally at the DAY!  Done enough to wear.  If an emergency competition broke out tomorrow, it could be safely worn.  Of course there is still work to be done!  Of course some things are attached with safety pins!  But this is all par for the course.  It is a great feeling to imagine the dress as it will look out on the floor.


We, the Design Helper and I, have gone with the wispy, feathery bits of floats that seem so popular now, plus some ribbons, which are fun


I think perhaps a few more to add some volume are called for.  Will know better when we get some video of the dress in action at practice.


More rhinestones are in the mail.  Will be adding more dark stones to the top to make a better contrast and something will be added to the skirt.  Not sure just what yet.



Drat – still seeing the belt overlap.  Something will have to be done with that.

That’s it for the sneak peek!  Hope to dance this lovely dress in Seattle very soon:-)

DIY hair ornament – Claire’s hair jewelry hack

26 Jul

Ah, the old “take the photos and never do the blog post trick, eh?”  I took these in May and just found them following some hair ornament conversation on Pattern Review.  I wanted a bigger ornament for several reasons – to cover the insertion point of the hair piece and any messy hairdressing I may have done there, to make adding the ornament quicker and to make it easier to put on and take off.

Here’s what you need: an inexpensive hair comb like this one from Claires  , some coordinating hair swirls  or other lovely bits of whatever, bathtub caulk that dries clear, scissors, pliers, bag to cover your kitchen cutting board, heavy powermesh fabric or something similar – pleather might work, plastic knife or popsicle stick for spreading, elegant wig stand (mine is a yogurt tub holding my pressing ham (covered in plastic) and it works quite well, iPad, bluetooth speakers to listen to Stuff You Should Know and other education podcasts while working.



After deciding the general shape and cutting several layers of power mesh, spread the tub caulk on the mesh as evenly as possible.  Let it dry for at least several hours.

Cut the little corkscrew backs off of the individual ornaments and arrange them on the backing.  Secure them with globs of caulking and allow to dry. Trim the backing when it is all dry.


Put a line of caulking on the comb and set the new piece in place.


I suspect I supported this in some ingenious way until it dried.  Finished piece with the hair piece.  No photos yet – hope to get them at the next competition!


One little weird glitch is that the caulking reacted with the metal and it is a lovely turquoise now.  I would perhaps give the comb a few coats of clear nail polish to prevent that next time.

Portland Rose Festival and River City Ball

22 Jun

One of our all-time favourite competitions for so many reasons!  We met our good friends Terry and Candy there six years ago and we love meeting up with them, dueling on the dance floor and going for beer afterward.  What could be better?


Here we are in the new hall at the Ballroom Dance Company in Tigard, near Portland.  Lovely floors, lots of mirrors to distract us as we put our first Open choreography on the floor (eeeek!) and wonderful people running the comp and cheering us along whether we deserved it or not.

Hair and makeup took 2 full hours.  We heard an interview with Dmitri Zkarkov where he said, “if we have nine hours, it takes nine hours1  If we have 20 minutes, it takes 20 minutes.”   I need to learn the 20 minute kind…..


Front of the hair.  Isn’t the upholstered wall lovely?


Side view.  This was the first time I had a near hair malfunction, but was rescued before the first heat by a fellow competitor who had LOTS of pins to lend me.


Back view.

Results were good!  First in Senior II and Senior III Gold, second in Senior III Novice and third in Senior II Novice.  Gotta love a small field!

Great beer afterward at Max’s Brew Pub.

Pacifica Ball come and gone

2 Jun

So wonderful to have a competition in Victoria again!  The new and improved Pacifica Ball was a fun filled weekend with lots of great dancing.  We came 6th in Senior I Standard and 4th in Senior III. Our friend and fellow competitor Tom Overton even competed in Senior IV!

No hair and makeup pictures this go around but some goofy stuff on out way out for post competition beer. Pretty cool to have our friends David and Denise as the poster “kids” for the event.  Well done Victoria!

IMG_0629 IMG_0632 IMG_0638

Southwest Regionals Hair and Makeup

10 Feb

Getting ready for the Southwest Regionals in lovely Culver City California. Note the attractive, decorative mirror.  Lighting is poor again, sorry!


I went for the quick version of the bangs and just did one big curl.  Maybe not my favourite, but still okay.


Side view – very smooth.  Could use a bit more glue on the back.  The hairpiece looks good!


Back view.  Amazing that this is all fake hair… Thank you Olga Kulikova for showing me that shorter hair and a hair piece works for ballroom!


Crowning glory!  Looks like I have a great big tiara on sideways.  LOL!


Results there were pretty good.  We made our first tiny step into Open choreography by doing our single Quickstep run in Novice.  Yikes!  Time to start some serious cardio.

Photo links day!

25 Jan

The wonderful Nelson Wong has his photos from the Vancouver Challenge Cup ready to view today.  Here are some links to photos of us:

Great tango face

Deliriously happy in quickstep

Good view of the right side of the dress   and Bill looks pretty happy, too.


Oh – THAT’S where it went!

24 Jan

The trouble with having a lot of things on the go and a lot of stuff on one’s computer is that things can go astray.  They may even wander off into different folders without so much as a fare-thee-well.  This apparently happened with my hairpiece styling photos, leading me to believe that I had not even taken them.  Somehow they have resurfaced, so here is the story of how I created my ballroom hairpieces.  I have no idea how professionals would do this, but by trial and error, this is what I arrived at.

The hairpiece:


This is from the Headshop Online.  I think it is the Breathless Ponytail.  It has a claw clip, which would just clip over your own ponytail or bun, some attached hair combs for security and an elastic drawstring system for securing around your bun or ponytail.  Ultimately, I took off the claw clip (too bulky) and the combs, just leaving the drawstrings. Opening the drawstrings to flatten out the hairpiece, this is what it looked like on the inside:


When I tried to style it this way, the seams were always visible and the whole thing just looked too big.  So, it needed a bit of alteration:


I put this cord in the hairpiece to show how I sewed it.  Using some heavy thread and a large needle, I gathered the netting up to make the whole thing more compact.  It did look a bit weird!


…or like a lovely brown flower.  I am not sure which.  Yes, this does make a bit of a point where the gathering is the tightest at the center, but since one of the purposes of the hairpiece for me is to add height, that is ok.

I wanted to keep the elastic drawstrings to tie around my bun, but they just got in the way and it didn’t feel like I was going to be able to get a tight hold with them, so rather than just cutting them off, I trimmed the length and sewed them in.


This is a plastic needle (I think for tapestry maybe?) that was perfect for sewing the elastic into the edge of the hairpiece.  Now for equipment!  My trusty pressing ham covered in plastic so I don’t get hair product on it.  It sits in a nice yogurt container (organic, of course…) with some random fabric to hold it steady.  One day I will get a wig stand.




These long pins are called hat pins and were bought at the fabric store .  Certainly nowhere near as long or impressive as my grandmother’s hat pins. But along with regular sewing pins, hair pins, bobby pins (small and large), hair clips (small and large) and a few other bits and bobs, they are key to holding the hair in place while styling.

Hairpiece on “wig stand.”




Dividing up the hair.  You can see my “scrunchie” hairpiece in the background.


The first loop.  I use got2b invincible hair “glue” gel  and freeze spray.  Using the pins to hold the loop in place allows me to have hands free to use the hair dryer to dry and/or leave it a few hours to dry.


Hair elastics and big clips keep the other hair out of the way.


Second big curl:


Shaping up.  Small sewing pins hold the smaller curls just fine.  They can be criss-crossed across the hair to keep it from springing up.


The finished product:


...Then Came Dance

Dance is an eternal story. Let us continue to write it.



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