This is the third in a series of three articles by Harlequin Floors founder and CEO, Robert (Bob) K. Dagger, discussing important issues to be considered when investing in a new dance floor. Whether it’s a sprung floor system or simply a portable dance surface, the choice of floor is one of the greatest artistic and business decisions that most dance schools and companies will ever make. The right floor is also important for reasons of dancers’ safety and long-term health. There are many aspects to consider and Bob examines these in detail to provide a useful guide to choosing the right floor for you. This, along with Part 1 and Part 2 will provide you with all you need to know about choosing the right dance floor for you.
Planning for the new floor
The importance of a floor designed for dance is supported by experts in dance medicine, both to protect dancers against injury and to provide a surface where dance can be performed safely without the risk of slipping or falling. Whatever the level of dance that is studied or performed, having the right floor is essential.
We noted that the investment in a new floor is perhaps one of the greatest artistic and business decisions that most dance schools and companies will make. Today, floors of the highest standard are available to suit all budgets.
Checklist to choose the right floor
The main factors to consider include the following:
- Will the floor be portable or permanent?
- For what form of dance will the floor mainly be used?
- What is the sub-floor?
Useful resources to find out more
Fortunately there is information published about dance floors, but possibily the most valuable guidance is from recommendation and trying out floors. Before making any decisions, use these resources to help you understand what is available, then get advice from a dance floor specialist who will be happy to assist.
Call the experts for advice
While working through these questions is essential, it is now important to discuss your requirements with a dance floor expert who will talk you through the options, understand your dance needs and where the floor will be installed in order to propose the optimum solution for each individual situation.
It is also worth thinking about accessories, such as ballet barres or roll straps and storage bags or, for larger portable sprung panel floors, storage carts.
Care and maintenance
Finally, after the new floor is installed and being put to use, a few words about care and maintenance. Routine cleaning for dance floors is straightforward washing with water and detergent, making quite sure that the floor is thoroughly dry before use. The main cleaning difficulties in dance studios are related to scuff marks – sole marks from the shoes, marking from the shoe dyes and, of course, rosin marks. The first methods to try are neutral ph cleaners for vinyl flooring. Obviously floor treatments which leave a wax finish or shine must be avoided, as they will cause the floor to become slippery. Always be sure to rinse the floor with clean water to avoid residue build-up –- a most important point, because this may cause the floor to become slippery. Rosin and shoe marks which are still left can be removed with mineral spirits, but avoid the use of strong solvents such as cellulose thinners or acetone, which will quickly harm vinyl dance floors. For specialized cleaning, proprietary brands of ‘safe for vinyl’ floor strippers are available.
Practicing in the home environment
So what about students who want to practice at home and do not have a suitable floor? Well, there is now a simple solution – a Home Dance Studio Kit – based on the same sprung floor and dance surface used and demanded by professional dancers all around the world. Investing in a home dance studio can ensure children can practice safely at home, secure in the knowledge that it is not only the choice of professionals, but endorsed by specialist in dance medicine who have pin-pointed the importance of the right floor to avoid long term tissue damage and injury.
What is a Home Dance Studio?
A home dances studio may be ordered through Harlequin Floors and will be delivered pre-packaged to your door. It is versatile and can lay on any reasonable smooth surface like concrete, tile or even carpet to quickly convert an area of the home such as the garage, and of course a bedroom, into a mini dance studio. A Harlequin Professional Home Studio Kit contains LatchLoc Liberty™ sprung floor panels, and a special assembly tool. Harlequin Cascade or Harlequin Reversible dance floor surface, which comes in a roll, is then laid on this. The beauty of the home dance studio is that the Liberty sprung floor panels and Cascade or Reversible dance surface are the same construction as the floors widely used by professionals worldwide throughout the dance community. So practicing on this at home provides the same response and feel of a fully professional dance floor and offers a continuity that medical opinion pinpoints as important in injury avoidance.
Finally, we always recommend that you visit a studio or venue, which has the type of floor that you are considering purchasing. Especially with a sprung floor, before the outlay of a large investment, you or your dancers should be afforded the opportunity to test the floor you are considering. This can not only save you money, but save potential problems if the floor is not suited to the type of dance your performers do. Make sure to include the performers in your choices and final selection, and as always, contact Harlequin to help you though the process.