Dracula opens with the corps of Dracula’s vampire wives reveling in their undeadness, this year featuring brand-new wigs with long, blonde locks, each individually styled by Ballet West’s Wig Master, Yancey J. Quick.

“With 20 brides in the show, each with a different wig, it really makes such a huge impact on stage,” said Quick. 

When Corps Artist Lillian Casscells saw the wigs for the first time, her face radiated with excitement. “They are so beautiful! I feel like I’m in ‘Lord of the Rings,’” said Casscells.

Yancey explained that “When you look at references of the time period for what this might have been, all of these women are supposed to be dead for a very long time, so the wigs harken back to the Medieval and Renaissance periods.”

The brides’ wigs are made of synthetic hair, allowing for more durability during performances. Styling a synthetic wig, however, is a little trickier than human hair.

The wigs were ordered in the signature ash blonde called for in the original design. Quick then cut the hair to the right length and styled each with different braids using steam rather than a hot iron, which would melt the synthetic fibers. Quick then placed a headpiece onto each wig, considering each dancer as he completed the final design.

“Some of these dancers I’ve known for over a decade now, so I’ve gotten to know their personalities,” said Quick. “I also take into consideration their casting, so some of these dancers featured in the Pas de Trois and Pas de Six that are more featured, I made sure they had more stand-out headpieces that are taller and bigger, whereas our flying brides, I chose headpieces that are a little tighter to the head and a little smaller, because they are going to be strung by wires and swung across the stage.”

Each wig has the illusion of hair growing out of the dancer’s head, thanks in part to a lace front just below the hairline. Once the dancer is on stage under lights and makeup, the audience can’t see the lace. Before putting on the wig, the dancer puts their hair into pin curls, which is then covered by a cap securing the curls. Once the wig is placed on their head, a handful of three-inch pins are placed through the wig, through the dancer’s pin curls, keeping the wig tightly in place.

If the audience looks closely, they’ll notice the principal roles of Renfield, Flora, and Dracula, wear wigs made with human hair, since they are subject to closer inspection under spotlights. Flora’s wig in particular is a very specific color of red, hand-dyed by Quick to compliment all of the dancers in that role.