Friday, January 23, 2015

Ballroom Tip: Shiny Hair

Ever wonder how ballroom dancers get that incredibly shiny-like-the-side-of-a-piano gloss to their hair?  One way to accomplish this is with hairspray and a blow-dryer.  Once your hair is in its bun or ponytail spray the sides with hairspray, smooth it with your hand or the back of a comb, and then blow it dry.  I recommend something with a fine spray for this; you can do it with something like Got-2-B Glued, but you will have larger blobs of spray to smooth out.  Repeat five or six or eight times, making sure each layer is dry before adding the next (I've found that if there is moisture trapped under the hairspray, it can split the hair once dried).  You will then have a slick gloss to your hair, with the added benefit that it will feel like plastic and won't move if hit with something while dancing.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Ballroom Tip: Heel Covers

Today's ballroom tip is one that made me feel both relieved and a bit dense when I first read it.  I publish it to here to hopefully spare anyone else who has spent too much time wrestling with these little things.

The little plastic items pictured above are heel covers.  They protect the tip of the heel from wearing down and exposing the nail in the heel--that sort of thing is strongly frowned upon by anyone maintaining a wooden dance floor and should be avoided.  Furthermore, the worn heel-tip can fall or break off, either of which means your shoes won't be good for dancing until repaired.  Heel tips extend the life of the shoes and reassure everyone that you won't damage floors.

Heel covers can be a huge pain to shove onto the heels, though.  The covers taper at the top, meaning you have to stretch them a bit to get them on.  The trick to making this easier is to heat them up.  Use a hair-dryer, put them under a bright light, even breathe on them a bit until they are above room temperature and the plastic has gotten a bit more malleable.  Then you will have a much easier time pushing them on to your shoes or pulling off a dead one.

Happy dancing.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Ballroom Tip: Trim Shoe Straps

With the new year, I thought I would start a weekly series of ballroom tips and little tutorials.  I started dancing as a college student, and found there were many things to learn beyond figures and technique that make dancing easier and more beautiful.  These will not be involved, and they will focus on those that are preparing to compete.  Whatever your dancing goals are, though, I hope they help you to achieve them.

For the ladies, trim your shoe straps.

A brand new pair of shiny shoes, Latin or standard, has long straps so they can be adjusted to your size.  After you have adjusted those straps, cut off the excess.  The picture above shows my current competition shoes shortly before their third competition.  I had forgotten to trim the straps, and as you can see, they had started to curl away from the shoe.  If left like that, the straps will stick out and interrupt the look of a long leg which you want.  So I took a pair of scissors and cut them down.  There is no need to finish off the ends, as they won't fray.  This will give you a cleaner look on the dance floor.

Happy dancing!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Stash Review and Yarn Resolutions

Happy New Year!  I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I accomplished in 2014 and what I hope to accomplish in 2015, and so I will jot down my yarn-related resolutions here.  That should make me more likely to keep them.

I started with a stash review.  While most of my stash is on Ravelry for easy perusing, it was beneficial to pull it all out and see what is actually taking up the most space.  I don't have a lot of storage space for yarn and don't really want to have a big stash of wool, as it is that much more fiber I would need to keep clean and moth-free.  Shaking it all out lets me check on its quality and repack my storage boxes.

First up, the fingering yarns: