Elements of An Irish Dancer: THE WIG

It’s day 8, and for the next couple of 17 Days of Irish I will be taking a look at the various elements that make up an Irish dancer. I have a budding one at home, you see – and am learning the ropes from the ground up. After several years of watching the fun at various festivals, at the age of 6, Miss A decided she wanted to be the one on the stage. So our journey began.

Miss A has been dancing for almost two years now, and recently we took a big step…we bought Miss A her first wig.

She's a strawberry blonde, and it wasn't easy to find a good match - but I think this looks fairly decent.

I can still remember the shock I felt one year at an Irish Fest, when I stepped into the bathroom to discover a dancer taking her wig off. You mean those curls aren’t REAL?!? I felt cheated, lied to….and kind of stupid…because really – if I had taken the time to actually look closely – the curls on those dancers  are just too perfect and bouncy and, well perfect!

So yes, I will let the cat out of the bag for you. It’s a wig. Sorry if you didn’t know.

In Miss A’s troupe, they recommend dancers wait to get the wig until around age 8 and then only a bun wig (like the kind you see Miss A wearing). The fuller wigs are better suited to older dancers. I agree with this for two reasons:

1 – the bun wigs are cheaper than the full, and I’d rather take my time moving up the scale of cost (it’s all rather expensive, if you haven’t guessed). It gives Miss A something to work for. In this case, she had to completely master her jig and reel before I would get her the wig.

2 – it just looks better – I have seen younger dancers wearing a full wig, and it looks, well…ridiculous. No offense, but something about it just looks down right silly.

So for now, Miss A will happily jig and reel with her bun wig and I can hold off dropping the cash on a full wig for a few more years. She has a lot more dances to learn before then.

And I have to admit I’m crossing my fingers that Lil’ G – who  has crazy curly hair  – might not need a wig at all.

She starts dancing in the fall, so we’ll see.

Come back for days 9, 10, and 11 – when we discuss an Irish dancer’s shoes, costume, and see Miss A in action as we learn a little background on the jig and reel.


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