Hot Tips: Flooring

Dance Floors vs. Sports Floors

The athlete stutter steps and dribbles from baseline to baseline, usually protected by cushioned footwear. The dancer jumps and turns from stage right to stage left, often barefoot or wearing soft dance shoes. The movements and performers are different; shouldn’t the floors be different too?

While it might seem logical that a well-designed sports floor will suit the needs of elite, athletic dancers, there are several factors that should be considered when specifying a dance floor.

Construction of a sprung subfloor for a sports floor is typically firm with a high degree of energy return, ideal for ball bounce and athletes wearing cushioned footwear — a luxury barred to most dancers. Dancers prefer a sprung subfloor with a combination of shock absorption and energy return that will ease pressure on their joints and cushion landings.

After deciding on a subfloor, the next thing to consider is performance surface. Here the top priority for dancers is slip resistance to protect against slips and falls. Although athletes share those same risks, they need a surface that doesn’t block movements and are again usually protected by footwear.

To ensure you select the correct floor for your facility, start by answering the following questions: What types of dance will primarily be performed? Will the floor be in a multipurpose or theatre facility? Is the subfloor concrete, wood, sprung? Is the floor to be permanent or portable? Are the ceilings high enough?

Dancers spend significant hours practicing and performing, whether in a studio or on stage. Choosing the right floor for your dance or performing arts program will instill confidence, creativity and protection for all students.

This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.

About the Author

Christine Ott is marketing director for Harlequin Floors.

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