Beautiful Wisp Free Ballet Bun Guide

What you need

– Hair brush

– Hair bands (hair colour)

– Bobby pins (hair coloured)

– Bun pins (hair coloured)

– Hairspray

– Hair gel

– Bun net (hair coloured)

1) Brush the hair into a tight high pony tail, use a comb to smooth out all the kinks.

2)tightly secure with a hair band.

3)starting at the base of the pony tail twist the hair tightly as you twist it should nautrally form a circle round the hair band. if not you can incourage it round with you hands.

4) keep twisting until the intire pony tail is twisted into a bun. the end of the pony tail can be tucked under the bun to form a smooth bun.

5) secure with a hair tie or two.

6) wrap the bun net over the bun. (sometimes bun nets can be huge so dont worry if you need double them over)

7) use your hand like a claw around the ponytail pressing down to flatten the bun to the dancers head.

8)use your fingers of the claw like a guide for wear to put the bun pins not forgeting to do secure the bottom of the bun too.

9) hair spray the bun liberally

10) use hair gel to slick back any fly aways and fringes

11) then use bobby pins to secure any fly aways and fringes

DADAR!! The perfect bun 🙂

Starting Dance When Your In Your Teens

First things first, Darcey Bussell didn’t start dancing till she was 11, Martha Graham did start dancing till she was 17, If any one tells you its too late THEIR WRONG!d083d27d0563e19b82c8513acc91ef0b

Don’t Worry  (i know easier said than done right) not only is it more common than you’d think and its down to you how far you want to take it! Who’s to say you wont be the next Misty Copeland, she started when she was 13. I’d recommend looking at what classes are offered in you local area find one that suitable for beginners and no by this i don’t mean asking to attend a 4 year old’s class when your 25 hahaha 😛 . Start of with a fun class aimed at teen beginners like our superstars class. You want a class that friendly and will cater to you needs, theirs no point doing something if you don’t enjoy it you will learn more if your having fun!

Work Hard! – Just because you start dancing in your teens doesn’t mean you wont be just as good if not better than a dancer who started when they were 2. Its all about hard work passion and drive.


Don’t judge yourself by what others can achieve-

Passion, drive and the want to learn will get you further than talent will alone. Recognize your own strengths and weaknesses don’t focus on other dancers strengths around you they could be more flexible but you might be able to jump higher or pick up routines faster. Own your own ability and work hard to improve you weaknesses and strengthen your strengths. Be YOUR best.

Dream Big-

Go all in, no one made history by dreaming small! Do what makes you happy there’s no point getting up every morning to do something you hate.

If you’re positive and willing to learn nothing can stop you

Lots of Dance Love


Up In Lights Dance Academy

Improving Your Turn Out

ballet youth legs

Flat turnout is a dance milestone that everyone dreams of achieving. Here are some stretches and exercises to help you strengthen and improve your turnout.

What is turn out?

Dictionary definition: Turnout (ballet), a rotation of the leg which comes from the hips, causing the knee and foot to turn outward, away from the center of the body.

My definition: Turnout, is a ballet position effected by the amount of flexibility in your hip joint. It involves turning your leg and foot out away from the center of your body. perfect turnout is when each leg is turned out to 90 degrees.

How to stand in turn out (correctly)?
1. Start in parallel with you feet touching

2. Turn out both legs rotating at the knee.
-You should be able to keep your balance and keep both legs straight.
– It should NOT hurt!

3. Pull up. Make sure you are standing up straight with your core engaged, back straight and bum in.

4. Do not roll forwards on to your feet. Your weight should be evenly spread between all 5 toes on each foot. With your arches up (this will naturally happen if your weight is spread evenly and you are ‘pulled up’, but i find it helps to visualize what is happening)


Improving your turn out

In Class
– Being aware in class is the main thing that will help you improve your turn out. During barre work maintaining your best turnout will strengthen your muscles and give you more control of your turnout when in arabesk and performing jumps.

– Corrections and guidance from your teacher are invaluable.

– Keep your turn out in the forefront of your mind even when your not doing barre work. Turnout is equally important when turning and doing center work.

At Home
* Always warm up first before stretching or doing any strength exercises. Breaking a sweat will make sure your muscles are ready and prevent injury.

– Frog stretch – lay on your front (tummy), legs in pilé, knees turned out, feet flat together. Your feet should be straight or slightly raised, they should not be dropped down towards the floor. Press your feet down slowly till you feel a stretch and hold it for at least 30 second before relaxing, repeat 3-5 times.

– Butterfly legs – sit up straight, legs bent out to the side, feet joined in front of you. Push your knees towards the floor keeping your feet on the floor. Try to get your chest on to your feet, trying to keep your back flat for a more intense stretch.
Bring your feet closer to your body once you can get your knees on the floor.

-Strength exercises- holding your turn out correctly is hard work on your muscles and simple exercise to strengthen your ankles, calves and thighs will help you control and keep your turn out.

Exercises that will help with this are:
– Squats
– Dead lifts
– Box jumps – rise onto your tiptoes and jump to the four corners of an imaginary box, keeping on your tip toes.
– Bourrée
– Echappé

Stick to it nothing happens over night! YOU CAN DO IT! 🙂

Up In Lights Dance Academy

*Always work within your own personal limitations. Stretching should never be a bad or burning pain. For any persistent, burning or stabbing pain always go check with your GP before continuing to dance.*

Photos from :

-Lois Greenfields beautiful photography of motion in form – other examples of Lois’s work can be found at

Stretching For Beginners

The most common question i get asked as a dance teacher is ‘how can i improve my flexibility?’
So here are my top 10 tips for stretching at home. 🙂

1) Basics Are Best
Forget fancy complex stretches to start with, you won’t remember them and 9 times out of 10 they’re less effective than the basics.

2) Pain is your friend
Push the stretch until it starts to hurts. There is NO point stretching a muscle if you can’t feel it being stretched. – This is also how you know it’s working.
Quick point I should make is that stretching pain is not a burning horrible pain. It’s a nice pain ….as weird as that sounds.

3) Flat Back
When people stretch you see a lot of arched backs and curved spines, as they try to get their nose to their knee etc. You will achieve a far superior and more intense stretch by keeping your back straight/flat.
4) Warm Up
The worst thing you can do is stretch when you’re not warm. This is where most people go wrong and get injured. ALWAYS WARM UP! Even if its just having a hot bath before hand. Your muscles need to be warm to be able to stretch effectively. Plus stretching at the end of a class will mean you wont ache tomorrow!

5) Water
Water is so important for a healthy body. It keeps your joints lubricated and improves muscle tone. When you stretch and exercise you are breaking down impurities, you need to drink plenty to flush them out. You need to keep hydrated!

6) Strength
The worst thing people can do is just focus on becoming really flexible. This will NOT make you a great dancer. You need to be able to control it. There’s no point being able to kick your leg above your head if you cant hold it there. Add body conditioning, strength work and weight training to your weekly workouts, to make the most of your new found flexibility.  7) Push it
Your mind will quit a thousand times before your body will. So push it! Complete your full sets you can do it !

8) Hold It
Its all well and good being in the right position with a flat back and feeling the stretch but you must hold it for at least 20 seconds.

9) Make It Routine
Stretching once in a blue moon won’t improve your flexibility. You need to make it routine. Even if it’s just 5 min a day. Little and often is better than 2 hours once a month.

10) Make it personal.
Everyone has their own limits. Don’t compare yourself to others. Set your own goals and do it for yourself not other people. Flexibility isn’t an instant thing, it takes time but stick with it and you will get there!

I hope this helps.
As always -any persistent, burning or stabbing pain always go check with your GP before continuing to dance.

Up In Lights Dance Academy