Curly hair is popular in Irish Dance. The head of our school points out that the curls bounce when you jump, so it looks really bouncy and like you're jumping really high when you've got a head full of curls. If you've been in dance or theater much you know it's all about the illusion, right?
I've read that the long curls became popular during the Shirley Temple era and never really went out of style. You can acheive them by rolling the hair on spikes. You put glop on each strand of hair, roll it up, and leave it for about 24 hours:
There are various ways of doing this. Some people go for fewer spikes, and then separate the big, fat curls out into several smaller curls once it's set. i imagine some people use faster drying hair products.
And a closer look:
As you can imagine, it's not that comfortable to sleep in. It takes at least an hour per head, so if you have multiple kids you will spend multiple hours doing this. It rules out going to a swimming pool to relax and cool off before a competition. If it rains on the way to the feis (competition) you're out of luck. Also, if you go to register for a feis the night before, and it involves walking through an Irish festival, you can pretty much expect drunks to want to poke your child's head in fascination. Plus, girls with short hair are pretty much out of the running for obtaining curls. So, for team competitions, it's easier to get a uniform look by having everyone wear wigs.
Some teams wear bun wigs -- they pull their hair up into a bun, and then just have a little curly hairpiece on that. The winning team in Annabeth's division chose this look. It was very nice and neat. Individual competitors will sometimes wear their hair "soft", which is to say that they don't go for the tight curls. Again, that's harder to do for a team, since we have kids with all sorts of day-to-day hair styles.
I've heard that there are rumbles about rules that young beginners should not be allowed to wear wigs to compete. I happen to disagree with that idea. As long as the curls are popular, you should be able to achieve them however you please. Of course, we could just ditch the entire idea of the curls, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. In the meantime, those in favor of ruling out wigs for young girls are welcome to take their spike-wearing daughters into a crowd of drunks and think about what the anti-wig rule accomplishes.
Currently there are rules in place that a young beginner cannot wear makeup, nor can she wear the glittery solo dresses. Annabeth was allowed to wear makeup for this event since it wasn't a local feis. She isn't allowed to for a regular competition. In the case of our team, the thought was that everyone should match, so one mom did all of the makeup. This was a good idea, since my own personal makeup kit is limited to mascara and chapstick. When they told me to go to the MAC counter to get the lipstick, etc., I was totally blank. Mac? Huh? "M-A-C, MAC, go to a department store like Macy's or Nordstroms." Each dancer on our team had her own lipstick, lipliner, eyeliner, and mascara. The woman in charge of the makeup provided the base, eye shadow and highlighter for Annabeth, having sensed, perhaps, that I was already way outside my have-a-clue zone.
Again, I don't think the winning team in Annabeth's division wore much (or maybe any) makeup. I don't know that they used tanner on their legs -- that's another thing. Young beginners cannot wear tanner in ordinary competition; but for this Annabeth had 3 layers of Boots self-tanner, along with a coating of Rimmel leg makeup, as did everyone else on the team. I was talking about the tanner to my hair guy, and he commented, "I'm Irish, and I know that the Irish don't tan. You're either pale white or else you're red with sunburn." Yeah, well. A lot of Irish dance has sort of diverged from the Irish roots. I mean, look at the solo dresses -- does anyone really walk around looking like that in Ireland? No.
Overall, Irish dance competitions have rules in place to keep the young beginners from going too overboard with the "look". In the beginning they concentrate on the dance. But at special competitions they can go for the look. And, as they get older and compete at higher levels they are welcome to pile on enough wigs, makeup, and bling to