Choosing the right dance floor to install can be a daunting task. With literally hundreds of different kinds of dance out there, how can you be sure you have the right floor covering to meet the demands of your studio, hall or home?
Without getting too in depth, two key areas to watch are slip resistance and shock absorption. Both factors should play a large role in determining how easy and comfortable the performance surface is to dance on. Dancing on an improper surface such as concrete, even for short periods of time, can cause pain, injury or even irreversible damage to your bones, joints and entire body.
Each form of dance requires different levels of slip resistance. Ballet dancers need a much higher degree of grip than do ballroom or bare feet dancers. While much of that can be regulated through the use of proper footwear, floor surfaces still play a critical role.
Marley, or vinyl, floors such as the Rosco Adagio line of rolled dance floor provide a solid non-slip surface for dances such as jazz, modern, ballet, Irish, Flamenco, lyrical, drill team or tap and are typically preferred when more general community all-purpose use takes place. It provides a medium-fast floor speed and is excellent for semi-permanent or permanent installation. Adagio’s marley floor rolls also accommodate touring, although its specialty touring line typically works better in those situations.
Jill of Marietta, Ohio said, “I wish I would have had this a long time ago,” after purchasing Adagio dance flooring from Greatmats.com for her dance studio which offers ballet, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical and tap classes. “I LOVE THIS FLOOR! and it looks really sharp.”
For more specialized applications, a smooth, unfinished hardwood floor provides less friction and is ideal for social or ballroom dancing. Meanwhile, its hard surface lends well to tap or Riverdance where sound is important. Hardwood is not appropriate in all environments, such as those exposed to moisture or outdoor conditions. In those cases, portable or laminate flooring is a good option, given an appropriate underlying structure.
Engineered wood is also common economical alternate to expensive hardwood dance flooring as it is less liable to warp or shrink.
No matter what material the floor is made of, proper care, storage and cleaning is critical to maintaining proper slip control on your dance surface and extending the life of your dance floor. Avoiding even minimal dirt and water can play a huge role in the life of your dance floor. Gym floor coverings are also an option to protect your floor.
Most performance dance surfaces involve a sprung floor system underneath. The dance floors can be either laid on top of a sprung floors (also known as floating floors) or have one built in. Hardness of the surface greatly affects what type of protection a sprung floor can give to the dancer. Hard performance surfaces protect from serious injuries while soft surfaces defend against minor injuries. There is very little overlap.
Sprung floors can be supported by resilient materials, such as foam backing or rubber feet, or by mechanical cushioning – such as criss-crossing wooden slats.
An alternative to sprung floors is having the floor built over a wooden frame, which will provide some give and spring.
Keeping slip resistance and shock absorption factors in mind while choosing your dance flooring will surely help you find the proper dance floor for your needs.