Whether you are a beginning or advanced tap or ballet dancer, having the appropriate dance flooring available for using during lessons, performances and practice is crucial to being able to perform the dance moves properly while offering the greatest amount of protection to your body. It is important if you are considering taking dance lessons from an instructor that you find a dance studio that offers a dance floor suitable to your pursuit of tap or ballet dancing. An appropriate dance floor is also a consideration if you wish to add some dancing flooring to an area of your home so that you can practice whenever you wish. Although they are both forms of dance, tap dancers and ballet dancers need different features from their dance flooring in order to both maintain their physical well-being while performing their preferred style of dance.
Ballet dance floors are designed for the needs of ballet dancers. Ballet dancers do a great deal of leaping and jumping on the floor, and the preference in ballet is to produce as little sound as possible when dancing. Because ballet dancers also do a tremendous amount of balancing, especially on pointe, they want what is known as a “slow” floor that is somewhat sticky, meaning it is not at all slippery. Ballet dancers even go so far as using rosin on the bottoms of their dance shoes to reduce the slipperiness. The ballet shoe is essentially a soft and pliable shoe, often made of leather or fabric, and so the dancer wearing such a shoe needs a dance floor that accommodates such dance footwear.
Tap dancers, on the other hand, need tap dance floors that allow them to make loud noises, as well as a wide variety of different acoustics. Tap dancers do a great deal of pounding on the floor with their feet, essentially quite different from the leaps that ballet dancers rely on. Tap dancers also want a “fast” floor that allows for the performance of slides and scrapes; this type of flooring should not be sticky at all. Tap dancers cannot achieve control and balance in their style of dance on a floor that is too sticky. Tappers also need a floor that accommodates their hard shoes with metal taps attached to the bottom.
Both types of dancers need flooring that is very resilient; a sprung floor is ideal in this regard. A concrete floor has no “give” at all if you jump up and down on it. A sprung floor will offer “give” when you jump. Because both types of dancers are using the legs and the feet in an ultimately percussive way on the floor, anything that can be done to make the percussion less hard is going to be easier on bones, knee joints and ankle joints.
Dance studios and performers need to keep these ideas in mind as they seek dance spaces with appropriate ballet or tap dance floors.