Wigs

Everything You Wanted To Know About WIGS

Believe it or not, wigs were intended to be a convenience, not an object of mockery by husbands, hotel staff and general passers-by. I don’t recall the need for curly hair, but I do remember my sisters fighting with my mother as the rollers were put in the night before competitions. Sometimes, late at night, I can still hear the arguing, the crying, the threats of never dancing again – and that was just my mom. My sisters were worse, yet no worse than most other girls who hated having their hair in rags, rollers or multi-colored fluorescent spikes whilst dining at Denny’s somewhere in Upstate New York on the eve of a Feis. While some saw the process as wonderful mother-daughter bonding time, most will agree that dancers are far better off nowadays with a fake head of curls that can go on and come off in a few minutes.

There are three main styles of wigs – curly hair wigs, bun wigs and the “Annabelle” straight-hair type. The latter was introduced in the past few years and hasn’t really caught on, most likely because it is so different. You’d think being different would be a plus in this activity, but no, it is better to resemble everyone else to fit in. The trend of bun wigs comes and goes. They are very popular now with younger Champ dancers, but for how long?

The bun wig has its advantages, but it is not for everyone. It is ideal for someone with amazing posture/carriage/shoulders and is ideal on hot summer days or for dance-outs/shows such as on St. Patrick’s Day (allowing the more expensive curly wig to save some wear and tear).

There are many brands and styles of curly wigs available at a wide range of prices. A good wig, taken care of properly, can last a few seasons. Any wig must ideally look like it could actually be real hair on the child wearing it, so one must learn how to put it on properly and ensure that the color and size are suited to the dancer. Putting on a wig gets easier with practice and it is not something to try without direction from more experienced dance families. Trust me. You do not want your child’s wig to fall off while she is dancing on stage at a competition. The wigs need to be really, really secure.

Beginner dancers may not wear wigs. They should have hair that is neat and tidy, kept back out of the face with a hair band (preferably navy blue or white to align with our school colors). Advanced Beginners do not need wigs, but may start to look for second-hand wigs available at the school. Before buying any Irish dance accessory such as a wig, talk to your child’s teacher first for guidance and approval. For your first wig, parents in the school usually have a small supply of gently used wigs for sale. The dancers of Goggin-Carroll maintain a specific look which requires the wig to be put on in a very specific way. As a dancer progresses through the levels, they may be eligible to purchase a brand new wig. We get most of our wigs from a company called Melaine Murphy in the UK. There are local vendors which carry her line of wigs, but the selection is best when ordering directly from Melaine.

A wig won’t help a dancer earn extra marks, nor will the lack of one reduce one’s chances, but a properly fitted wig will complement a dancers’ overall look, which does have a positive impact on a dancers’ presentation and their confidence to perform on stage.

By RYAN CARROLL – TCRG, ADCRG – DECEMBER, 2010

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