Web Exclusive - Ask Amy

My bun is such a disaster in rehearsals that when I finish dancing, my hair is in my face. Please help! —Marcela

A secure bun isn’t just born that way—it needs a little help from the right tools, hair products and styling techniques. First, use a spray bottle to dampen your hair with water. Then, you may want to rub a little gel or hair paste in so that your hair brushes back easily (my favorite is KMS Hair Play molding paste, available at most drugstores). Use a flat brush with lots of softer bristles to help smooth your hair into a ponytail. When it comes to hair elastics, the thicker, metal-free versions tend to hold ponytails more firmly in place—otherwise try doubling up two thin ones.

Once your ponytail is finished, it may seem logical to wind your hair tightly around its base; but a tiny, ball-shaped knot is actually harder to pin firmly in place. It’s better to loosely twist the hair around to make more of a flat shape. I sometimes use my fingers to lightly backcomb my ponytail, which helps make my fine, thin hair less slippery to pin in. If you need extra help holding the bun’s shape, try winding a hairnet around it before you pin it. Then, make sure you have the right type of pin—you want U-shaped hairpins, not flat bobby pins, which don’t hold large amounts of hair as well and tend to pop out. Catch the edge of your bun with the prongs going away from the center, then twist the pin and push it down into the bun (you’ll want to feel the pin against your head, although it shouldn’t dig into it). Hairspray and bobby pin any flyaways, and give your head a good shake. If you feel your bun sliding around, you may need to start over.

Latest Posts


Pacific Northwest Ballet's Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan, photographed by Jayme Thornton for Pointe

The Radiant Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan: Why She's One to Watch at Pacific Northwest Ballet

Hollywood could make a movie about Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan's big break at Pacific Northwest Ballet.

It was November 2017, and the company was performing Crystal Pite's film-noir–inspired Plot Point, set to music by Bernard Hermann from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Ryan, then a first-year corps member, originally was understudying the role of another dancer. But when principal Noelani Pantastico was injured in a car accident, Ryan was tapped to take over her role.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Yonah Acosta in Sin La Habana, Courtesy Miami Film Festival

The Miami Film Festival Is Streaming 2 Films Spotlighting Cuban Ballet Dancers, Including Yonah Acosta

Many ballet companies are sharing digital productions these days, but if you want to get your ballet fix on the silver screen, the Miami Film Festival has something for you—and you don't have to fly to Miami to see it! Two ballet-centric films, the drama Sin La Habana (Without Havana) and documentary Cuban Dancer, will be featured in theaters and virtually at the 38th annual Miami Film Festival, running March 5 to 14.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Maria Kochetkova. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Kochetkova

Maria Kochetkova on How COVID-19 Affected Her Freelance Career, and Her New Home at Finnish National Ballet

When international star Maria Kochetkova embarked on a freelance career three years ago, she never envisioned how a global pandemic would affect it. In 2018, the Russian-born ballerina left the security of San Francisco Ballet, a company she called home for more than a decade, for the globe-trotting life of a guest star. Before the pandemic, Kochetkova managed her own performing schedule and was busier than ever, enjoying artistic freedom and expanding her creative horizons. This all changed in March 2020, when she saw her booming career—and her jet-setting lifestyle—change almost overnight.

After months of uncertainty, Kochetkova landed at Finnish National Ballet, where she is a principal dancer for the 2020–21 season. Pointe spoke with her about her time during the quarantine and what helped her to get through it, her new life in Helsinki, and what keeps her busy and motivated these days.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks