This article has been prepared by Harlequin.
When a Principal Ballerina was asked recently what factors were important to the welfare of a professional dancer, she identified a healthy diet, good medical support, plenty of sleep and a good dance floor. If a good quality floor seems like a luxury or indulgence, then think about the statistic that 80% of professional dancers suffer from some form of injury each year. A poor floor can be a contributory cause of injury through falls attributed to an unsuitable dance surface. Or stress related injury from the impact of repeatedly landing on a hard unyielding floor. Although a poor floor can shorten the career of a professional dancer, it is equally relevant to young dancers taking classes at dance schools, or in education, to dance on a good floor.
British Harlequin is a great supporter of research into the relationship between dance related injuries and the quality of floor. Some key findings indicate the importance of a semi-sprung sub floor to cushion the stress of landing from jumps, but not bouncy like a trampoline which could unbalance nearby dancers. A sports floor is not the answer, although it is sometimes suggested. But there is a big difference. For many sports, footwear provides the cushioning effect and surface grip while the bounce of a ball demands a less cushioned floor than for dance. Harlequin shares the insights provided by research to produce a range of floors, specifically for dance. See document titled The Facts about Sprung Floors for Dance.
The demands of different dance forms call for appropriate dance surfaces. Footwear can vary from barefoot, socks or ballet shoes to tap dance shoes that are harsh on dance surfaces. For many dance styles ‘traction’ is the equivalent to grip for sports people. The right degree of traction allows dancers to perform with confidence without the fear of slips or falls that can limit their creativity. Most dancers seem to instinctively respond to the ‘feel’ of a good floor but when in class, rehearsal or performance they don’t want to think about the floor at all. They just appreciate that it is there, doing its job and allowing them to do theirs.
Harlequin has been developing dance floors for more than 35 years and the company is happy to provide guidance in selecting the best solution for any dance school or company. Harlequin also sponsors CDET’s Recognised Awards Scheme for Schools, Teachers and Instructors.