How to keep a hat on your head while dancing

How to Secure a Costume Headpiece

dance headpiece

Posted on by parmarishel

By Parma Rishel 2/13/2021

Imagine the embarrassment of having your headpiece fly off while you are dancing. It’s distracting and even dangerous for the other performers. The audience’s focus moves to the headpiece lying on the stage.

All performers must learn how to secure their costume headpiece. Continue reading to learn how to confidently secure your headpieces.

Styles of Dance Costume Headpieces

Performance headpieces are wildly different. Some are simple scrunchies, appliques, or just a strip of fabric. Others are made on a headband, barrettes, or combs.

Dancers may also have hats or masks to wear as part of their costumes. The weight and height of these head adornments can vary.

Methods for Securing Costume Hair Pieces

Never rely on barrettes or elastics the come on the hairpiece. As soon as you do, the “headpiece fairy” will come and rip it off your head.

Small Fabric

If your headpiece is a strip of fabric, applique, scrunchie, or bow, use plenty of bobby pins and hair spray. After putting it in place, use bobby pins whose color doesn’t distract from the costume piece.

You may wish to use strong-hold hairspray on the hair first to crease a stiffer texture. This helps ensure that the hairpiece will stay in place.


You must know if the hat stays on the head throughout the dance. If the choreography calls for the hat to taken off and put on, then you don’t need to attach it.

There are several approaches to securing hats. For soft-sided hats, cut a small hole in the sides and back. Then use bobby pins to attach it to the hair. Another option is to put an elastic strap on it that’s worn under the chin.

Staining white elastic with tea or makeup helps to hide if from the audience.


Headband style headpieces can present a challenge. There are several approaches to try. One is to glue a ribbon inside the headband. Leave spaces where the ribbon isn’t glued. This will allow you to use bobby pins to hold it in place.

Steps for Securing Headband Style Headpieces

Another method is to integrate the headpiece placement into the hair bun process. Here are the simple steps to follow.

1. Glue or sew a piece of elastic to the ends of the headband so that it fits the head. If the headband “pokes” into the dancer’s head, you can glue some felt or foam to make it softer.

2. Hot glue a small loop of 1/4″ elastic at the top of of the headband. Put bobby pins through this loop going in opposite directions to secure the top of the headband.

3. Divide the back half of the hair and place the upper part in a ponytail.

4. Place the headband on the hair with the elastic across the back of the head. Pin the elastic band with bobby pins. Spray extra-hold hairspray over bobby pins.

5. Pull the lower half of the hair up and join it into the ponytail. This covers the elastic and helps secure the headband.

6. Finish making the ballet bun.

One of the best times in a dancer’s life is the performance. You have a chance to share your passion with an audience. Don’t let a costume headpiece falling off ruin your moment.

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costume headpiece dance headpiece keep dance headpiece on secure headpiece

how to keep your hat on your head

By Chuleenan 4 Comments

If you like hats, even if you only  wear one a few times a year, you don’t want it to blow off your head on a windy day. Nothing’s worse than chasing your hat down the sidewalk or watching it drift into traffic (yes, that’s happened to me). To keep your hat on your head, you can attach a thin elastic cord made specifically for hats – like I did on this velvet and linen vintage hat (pictured above), which I got at All Things Vintage in Oakland. (The lovely ladies there sell beautiful vintage hats and they actually gave me a hat elastic so I didn’t have to buy one.)

Here’s what one looks like.

These elastics are 11 or 12 inches (28 to 30.5 cm) long and have small metal barbs at the ends, which lets you secure it to the inside of the hat. You can buy them at Lacis in black, white or beige for 45 cents each at their retail store in Berkeley or online on this page (scroll down until you see “Hat Cord” 12″) on their website. (You can also buy 11-inch ones ( 12 for $6.50) online at Judith M Millinery Supply House on this page: 11-inch hat elastics.) Choose the color that will blend in best with your hair color.

You can also make your own hat elastic by buying elastic cord in pre-cut packages or by the yard at a fabric store or online. I got a couple of yards of this black elastic for 30 cents a yard at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics. It’s about 2 mm thick.

Cut it to the length you need, insert it into the hat and knot it at the ends where the metal barbs would be on the pre-made hat elastics. But you need a big knot to make sure it stays in place. You can also knot the ends around a small bit of wire, which will do a better job of keeping the elastic from slipping off. (I wrote a post about this in 2012. Back then I didn’t know where you could buy hat elastics so I made my own.)

The pre-made hat elastics are primarily for “fitting” hats – hats with a crown that comes down near your ears. If you have a “sitting” hat, such as a pillbox, which sits on the top of your head, the pre-made elastic won’t be long enough so you may either want to make your own or explore using a hat pin or clip to keep it on your head. I’m not sure how a long elastic would look; I think that depends on how much your hair hides the elastic.

To insert the elastic, you need to make two small holes in the ribbon (usually Petersham – or millinery grosgrain) inside the hat. Most hats will have this ribbon, which operates as a sweatband, preventing perspiration and oil from staining the hat.

The elastic goes underneath your hair, not under your chin, so the holes should be made in the ribbon at the midpoint of each side of the hat near your ears. The elastic will go behind your ears so you want to place the holes slightly closer to the back of the hat.

I’ve used a large needle to make my initial hole and then taken the point of my small pair of embroidery scissors to make the hole large enough to slide the elastic through. As you can see this hat came with combs inside but I don’t like using them. You can see my hat elastic.

And here’s a close up shot.

And here’s a shot of the hat, which I love.

UPDATE: I posted a photo from this post on my Instagram account (@csews) and @_sarawaters commented that she read this post but couldn’t picture how te elastic helps keep it on your head. So this update is for you Sara!

Where does the hat elastic go? It goes under your hair in the back. When my hair was longer, I just put the hat on my head with the elastic hanging down in the back and pulled my pony tail through. Or you can grab your hair, put the elastic under it and put the hat on your head.

I’m wore the black vintage hat in this photo. You can’t see the elastic here but it’s going from the crown of the hat and under my pony tail. (I’m wearing my red Anna Dress in this photo. You can read about that dress in this post: Finished: My Red Anna Dress.)

You can sort of see it in this photo – the elastic is that thin black line going from the velvet loop at the brim and goes down at a slight angle.

I also wore this hat with the first Anna Dress I made. It was windy that day as you can see from the photo but the elastic did the job. My hat did not fly away! If you have very short hair, shorter than chin length, I’m not sure if the hat elastic will stay down because you may not have enough hair to keep it in place; it might ride up the back of your head and then the hat will fall off. Hat elastics are probably best suited for hair that’s no shorter than chin length which is my current length. I purposely didn’t go any shorter because then I wouldn’t be able to wear a lot of my vintage hats. 😉

This vintage chapeau is not quite a sitting hat but has enough of a crown so I could use a pre-made elastic. (You can read more about the dress here: The Anna Dress: Celebrating Sewing Indie Month.)

I hope you found this information useful. One of these days I’ll write a post (or maybe make a video) about using hat pins.

Do you like to wear hats? I wear them every day, vintage and contemporary. What hats do you like to wear?

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Filed Under: Hats Tagged With: hat elastics, hats, Judith M Millinery Supply House, Lacis

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Students study the Talmud. New York, 1960 © Bettmann / Getty Images

The kippah, a light cap, a traditional Jewish male headdress, is kept on the head due to its shape and size. Most often these are cloth or rag bales. If a kippah is light, rigid, made of cloth or velvet, then some kind of device may be required to wear it. Usually a female hairpin becomes such a device. But in general, a properly selected kippah sits well on the head and does not fly off. It is much more interesting how the kippah stays on the bald head: either it is very well matched, or it is a special kippah with a transparent silicone strip around the circumference. Such a strip can be seen, for example, on women's stockings.

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A man in a tallit. Early 20th century © Hulton Collection / Corbis via Getty Images

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Brody township. Lithograph by Karl Auer. 1830s Wikimedia Commons

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Victory, challenge, passion, dagger, donkey and demonic power

Lezginka is similar to the Caucasus itself. Everyone has heard about it, many consider themselves experts, but if you look closely, it slips away, turns into a bunch of fables. What seemed as old as the world was invented recently, and modern stories are sometimes based on the truth.

Donkey, goat and Avar headman

Paradoxes begin with the very name "Lezginka". It was invented in the first half of the 19th century by Russians serving in the Caucasus. So they christened many local dances - with different styles and names. They were just seen in Dagestan, and then the Dagestanis were indiscriminately called Lezgins. The irony of fate is that the real Lezgins - the people living in the south of the republic - preferred completely different dances, more like Azerbaijani dances or a Russian round dance. They called Lezginka "Avar Kavkha" - "dance of the Avar headman."

Photo: Aydemir Daganov

Knowledgeable people easily determine which people the Lezginka belongs to - by the clear, swift movements of the Chechens and the smooth manner of the Tabasarans, the outstretched arms of the Dargins or raised to the head - among the Kumyks. The easiest way to distinguish between the dances of southern and western Dagestan. In the first, there is more freedom, in the second, posture and composure dominate. In the mountains, the movements are sharper, on the plains - smoother. Choreographer Fyodor Lopukhov explained this by the fact that the highlander's step is shorter. There is nowhere to turn around on a tiny godecan, so you have to compensate for the lack of space with expressive gestures.

Many people think of Lezginka mainly as a pair dance. A man in a Circassian coat soars, imitating a mountain eagle, and a girl in a long dress smoothly slips away like a swan. In reality, they mostly danced separately - especially during the time of Imam Shamil, who punished musicians and forbade pair dances. But the male lezginka at that time was honed to perfection, often becoming a competition in strength and endurance. Until now, the Aguls and Rutuls challenge each other to a “dance battle” to the gambling claps of friends.

“The dances depicted weapons, natural phenomena, work and hunting, but not eagles and swans,” Alla Umakhanova, an employee of the Dagestan Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a former ballerina of the Mariinsky Theater who devoted her life to studying the choreographic art of the Caucasus, refutes the well-known myth. - Except that the girls of South Dagestan had a "swan dance", which was not at all like a lezginka.

Of the animals, dancing Dagestanis imitated, as a rule, donkeys and goats. From the latter, according to some researchers, the Georgian and Kumyk male lezginka inherited a toe dance - a trace of ancient mysteries, when the dancers pretended to have hooves.

Victorious dance of the Goryanka and male striptease

The dances of Caucasian girls were far from being peaceful everywhere. A traveler who visited Ossetia at the end of the 19th century recalls: “Women dance much more bravura than men. In their movements, especially in the movements of the hands, there is more courage and energy, and a woman (actually, a girl, because a woman does not dance) looks more courageous during the dance, as a conqueror, and not a conquered ... ”The dresses of the mountain women often ended just below the knee and did not hide the legs in trousers. The Dagestan women played with them with dexterity, which would be the envy of any other professional dancer. For many nations, it was indecent to leave the circle before the partner, and sometimes the girls deliberately drove the guys to exhaustion.

Photo: Vladimir Sevrinovsky

Lezginka dances lezginka

In the vicinity of Shatoi, Chechen women in white shirts with sticks in their hands danced at night, frightening people in imitation of the demoness Almasta. Until now, in some mountainous regions, the movements of girls are far from smooth and meek, and in the Lak kyissu dance, a woman leads a man.

Sometimes lezginka turned into a kind of male striptease. Pavel-Platon Przhetslavsky, an assistant to the military commander of the Middle Dagestan, describes a playful dance of local cavalrymen who made a march circle, repeating the movements of the first in the ranks. He gradually took off his weapons first, and then his clothes down to his shirt. Women turned away, but peeped furtively, saying in surprise: “Toba! Toba! (“Step away from me!”)

Photo: Vladimir Sevrinovsky

The polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen, who was staying in the village of Tarki, saw greetings from his distant homeland in the lezginka: “A man in a Caucasian uniform, in a sheepskin hat, rotated for some time with short rhythmic steps, arms outstretched in both directions. Then he invited a partner from the circle of spectators. She minced in front of him with a serious look, with her head slightly lowered and coquettish bashfulness, the man followed her, dancing, and the girl “evaded” him. The dance depicts the harassment of a man. The movements are chaste and without any wildness. Both dancers, each in their own way, are charming: he has a masculine strength, she has a bashful femininity. The legs moved easily and lively, like drumsticks, in time with the music, while the body remained calm. The similarity with Norwegian fast dances is obvious. The man has the same energetic flexibility, the girl has grace and tenderness. Only the rhythm and movements of the legs are different. In addition, in lezginka, a man does not hug his partner. In the East, close public contact between the two sexes is impossible.”

Dangerous hat

This ban, like all restrictions, awakened ingenuity. Chechens say that in the old days a guy who wanted to please a girl approached her closely in a dance and threw a hat from hand to hand behind the back of the chosen one. But as soon as he accidentally touched his partner, he was killed by the offended relatives of the girl. So the young man showed that he was ready to risk his life for the beauty. Whether such a custom actually existed is difficult to judge, but the Chechens, Avars and Kumyks did sometimes embrace their partner without touching her. And if the girl herself held her hand over the guy’s head, as if knocking off his hat, this was considered an insult and threatened with grave consequences.

However, in order to take a closer look at the chosen one, it was not necessary to dance with her yourself.

Photo: Vladimir Sevrinovsky

- A guy calls the girl he likes only for the final dance, - says an employee of the Grozny Philharmonic. - Friends take turns leading her into a circle, and he watches. The more a Chechen woman is invited, the better for her: it means that she likes it. In lezginka, the character of a person is visible. No matter how hard you hold back, you will definitely open up and show how soft and modest you are. Therefore, they did not marry a girl without seeing her in a dance. In my youth, I was often pulled back - I proudly tossed my head and moved so fast that the men could not keep up. It used to start modestly, but then I was still blown away.

Lezginka has a lot of rules, sometimes invisible to an outside observer. Each nation has its own. Sometimes the stewards control the order in which couples exit. In many villages, the old custom has been preserved to invite people to the circle with the help of an object - a stick or a flower. In Bezhta, a beautiful mountain girl gave me a candy wrapper - and it was a wonderful dance. When it was over, I gave the crumpled wrapper to another girl, continuing a kind of baton.

Photo: Vladimir Sevrinovsky

Often you have to pay for a dance. Sometimes the money is given to the manager, but more often, especially in South Dagestan, the girl is spinning with banknotes in her hands. The dancing bride is showered with money and can stick a thousandth right on her forehead.

If the old people dance, the young people stand respectfully. Often a young man gallantly invites an old woman to dance, and a 30-year-old beauty is spinning in a lezginka with a six-year-old boy. And when the dance floor is occupied by children, it is not easy to pull them out of there.

Despite the lack of physical contact, lezginka can be harmonious and passionate, like a tango. The girl modestly looks at the level of gas, and the guy shows her where to move, the position of her hands. And sometimes a jigit, even when paired with a partner, works more for the public, turning the dance into a violent joke or a demonstration of prowess.

Not everyone likes such defiantly masculine dances. Realizing this, Ramzan Kadyrov banned the Lezginka for Chechens in the center of Grozny and in public places outside the republic. At the same time, many are complacent:

Photo: Yury Mashkov/TASS

- Is Lezginka annoying in Moscow? Come here, dance Kalinka-Malinka on Makhachkala Square. Or hopak,” invites sculptor Sabir Geybatov. - Once upon a time, they legalized the rock culture that outraged many. I was in St. Petersburg then, I remember Saigon. The subculture of Caucasian youth is also an interesting element.

From lezginka to "Lezginka"

You can argue as much as you want about the appropriateness of urban lezginka outside the Caucasus, but its academic version is loved all over the world. Back in Pushkin's times, the highland dance was dressed in the veils of romanticism and elegantly entered the high society. Lezginka is danced by the characters of Ruslan and Lyudmila by Mikhail Glinka and The Demon by Anton Rubinstein (where it looks like a Caucasian dance no more than beavers from medieval bestiaries look like real beavers). After the revolution came the era of dance ensembles. Their heyday came in the middle of the 20th century - thanks to the efforts of choreographers. Few people are ready to look at a simple rural dance for a long time. To make it spectacular, experts removed repetitions, streamlined movements, and even borrowed elements from other dances. Lezginka expanded its borders - the Gaytagy dance, adopted in 1930 years for the Kaitag people.

In 1958, the choreographer Tankho Izrailov, who worked for 18 years as an assistant to the great Igor Moiseev, founded the Lezginka ensemble in Makhachkala, staked out a popular name for Dagestan. According to legend, subsequently the Georgians offered suitcases of money for the “trademark”, but, of course, no one agreed to give it away. Tankho himself was a Mountain Jew, which is why anti-Semites are still spreading rumors that Masons invented the Lezginka to corrupt Caucasians.

Photo: Rudolf Dik/ TASS

Photo: Rudolf Dik/ TASS

Photo: Rudolf Dik/ TASS

Choreographers traveled around the villages, collecting little-studied dances. The most famous is Jamalutdin Muslimov, the "bird-man", a famous eccentric who sold his house and his wife's dowry to buy dance costumes. This collector of folklore has become a folklore character himself. In the mountains, they still remember how he came to remote villages and made old people dance in order to learn almost lost movements. In the film dedicated to him, this frail, mustachioed grandfather, agile like a boy, jumps in masks and rides a toy horse.


Chechnya: happiness after the end of the world

Pirates once lived here, then Old Believers, now poachers. They are covered in sand, fired upon by military sailors, they are rounded up by fish protection. This is Chechen Island, Makhachkala, Russia

But even the best choreographer is powerless without worthy artists. They are still selected for Lezginka as grenadiers - in addition to abilities, height and figure are important. Bad habits are unacceptable: a smoker can lose consciousness right on the stage. After all, the work of a professional dancer is no easier than that of a miner in a mine.

- The age of an artist is hard and short. Twenty, at best, twenty-five years, - laments the artistic director of the ensemble Zulumkhan Khangereev. “You jump for five hours every day. There are linings on the knees, but the joints still suffer. No time to take a breather. Two or three minutes to change clothes - and a new dance. People think: you dance, you get high, you get money, the whole world has seen it. They envy the tour. We in Australia gave one hundred and ten concerts in three months. Early in the morning you get on the bus - and five hundred kilometers to the next city. There, before the performance, if they had time, they prepared the food themselves. And if not, tea, warm-up, preparation - and on stage. At 11 pm we check into a motel, at 5 am we are on the road again. When I finished dancing, I had problems with both my legs and my spine. Who is not devoted to the profession, can not stand it and leaves. Only those who love art remain.

Warehouse guard's pas de deux

The ensemble faced a difficult task - to choose the brightest elements of the dances of the peoples of Dagestan, but to maintain the relationship between them so that lezginka does not turn into a set of tricks. The most successful dances initially seemed folk and left the stage for the people. But experiments with topical stories often ended in failure. And no wonder: it is difficult to imagine a beautiful dance dedicated to corn growers or the protection of warehouses.

Photo: press service of the ensemble "Lezginka"

Any innovation caused a controversial reaction. Some critics scolded Lezginka for its penchant for circus effects, others objected that circus art permeates the entire culture of the Dagestanis, who adore mummers and rope dancers. The newspaper Le Parisien wrote enthusiastically about "jumps and implausible spins performed in stunning positions." At the same time, the English ethnographer Robert Chanciner criticized the exaggeration of already brilliant movements and the forcing of the tempo, which violated the traditional rhythm. He preferred the performances of children's groups to eminent ensembles.

But the Dagestanis themselves evaluate their native dance most severely. Meticulous Makhachkala spectators zealously peer into the smallest details of the costume and argue until they are hoarse whether it is appropriate to dance in burkas made of velvet, and not of traditional felt. Therefore, Zulumkhan Khangereev admits that it is most difficult for him to give concerts at home. But if a new dance is accepted there, then it will go with a bang in any country.

Igor Moiseev said that dance is a self-portrait of the people. It is not surprising that numerous Caucasian Lezghins repeated the fate of their nations. After centuries of isolated life in the mountains, they descended to the plains, frequented the banquet halls and mingled among themselves. Some got used to the rhythm of the city, others received an excellent education and went into academism, paying for it with a separation from their roots. And all the same, at rural holidays, their own, native dances thunder, and candy wrappers are handed, and the ban on touching only kindles passion.

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