Key Points:

Over-enthusiastic hairspraying by budding ballerinas caused a mass evacuation at the Regent Theatre at Palmerston North.

About 1500 people had to leave the building during the Maureen Ax School of Dance's Sleeping Beauty production when a cloud of hairspray set off a backstage smoke alarm on Sunday night, the Manawatu Standard reported.

"The kids were getting ready for the next act and they actually had their hair down for the previous dance ... so they had been furiously spraying their hair to get it back into the right place," Maureen Ax said.

About 200 dancers had to wait in King Street and Broadway Avenue in their costumes.

Palmerston North Fire Service senior station officer Rob Freeman said: "If you stand in a room with 20 girls in tutus spraying hairspray around and you open the door and a big cloud of hairspray vapour goes out, it can set off smoke alarms.

"It's like steam from a microwave or shower."

- NZPA