WHETHER you’re specifying a dance floor for the world’s leading dance companies or for classes in schools, colleges or universities, the same fundamental criteria apply. Wherever a student chooses to study dance, it is important to make sure that the learning environment is equipped to professional standards with sprung floors, mirrors, and barres.
Choosing the correct dance floor is vital for dancers’ health, safety and artistic performance. All sprung floors are not the same and understanding the differences between various types of floors available is important.
Experts in biomechanics have established a clear link between the quality of a dance floor and the likelihood of injury, demonstrating that a floor with a consistent response and the correct degree of ‘traction’ is vital.
Dance creates impact energy. If the energy generated is returned to the body it can result in an array of joint problems, sprains, fractures and knee problems. Lower limb problems such as tendinitis, ‘shin splints,’ and ankle strain can all be attributed to incorrectly specified sprung floors and can take several weeks of physical therapy and recovery time to correct. A dance floor that is impact absorbent and provides lateral foot support is essential.
The performance surface
It is tempting to presume that as the elite athleticism of top dancers is on a par with sports people, that a sports floor is appropriate. It is not. There are some critical factors that distinguish the requirements of dancers from those of sports played on a sports floor. Many sports played on these floors require a firm floor which allows balls to bounce predictably. Sports footwear is generally cushioned to protect against impact injuries.
The footwear also provides grip for the sports person. By contrast dancers need more absorption or cushioning on landing from jumps. Their footwear varies according to dance style and doesn’t cushion landings. Dancers also need the right degree of traction from the dance surface.
One of the main attributes that dancers look for in a floor is slip resistance or ‘traction’. Although athletes share the risk of slipping and falling, they are generally protected by their footwear from floors that might be considered a slip hazard for dancers.
When specifying a floor for dance, using general flooring or sports floor standards will not ensure the right floor is installed – only a floor developed specifically for dance will do. There have been some high-profile examples where floors have had to be replaced by a dance company after the building is complete because the floor was not considered fit for purpose by the dancers using it.
Harlequin floors are the performance floor of choice for the world’s most prestigious dance and performing arts companies, theatres, venues and schools. Harlequin’s reputation is founded upon the design, manufacture and supply of a range of high quality sprung and vinyl performance floors specified by the world’s leading venues.
Ensure correct specification
Harlequin is the global brand leader for sprung and vinyl performance floors and has an enviable portfolio of dance and education clients from top universities and dance schools to the world’s leading dance companies including the Royal Opera House and Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Houston Ballet and New Zealand Ballet.
Harlequin have over 45 years’ experience manufacturing, supplying and installing professional performance floors and offer a wide range of sprung floor systems and vinyl performance floors to meet every requirement.
Harlequin’s CPD Programme
As part of Harlequin’s commitment to protecting the health and wellbeing of dancers and performers, our RIBA approved CPD explains why specifying the correct floor for dance and performing arts is critical to the longevity of a performers career.
Using comprehensive data and case studies, we outline the key considerations when specifying a performance floor and look at the important contribution the floor makes to performer health and safety. We explore the history of dance floors, the reasons why floor choice is so important, current standards and tests and how to ensure you specify the right performance surface.
Harlequin is the world leader in advanced technology floors and stage systems for the performing arts and is the industry choice for the world’s most prestigious dance and performing arts companies, theatres, venues and schools. Harlequin manufactures, supplies and installs a range of high quality sprung and vinyl floors and specialises in the building and refurbishment of bespoke stage systems.