Posted: Mar 21 2021
We've been chatting with Tasha Danischewsky, who is an Addenbrooke's Hospital physiotherapist, about how important the right floor is for your dancing health. In short, there are two main factors to consider when finding the best dance floor: slip and spring! In other words, does the floor have the ideal amount of slip/grip for you to turn but not to fall over? And is it sprung enough to help protect your bones from stress fractures? We will briefly explore these two ideas below.
Sprung, semi-sprung, un-sprung...
A semi-sprung floor is ideal for dancing. Tasha points out that most dance shoes (especially ballet or jazz shoes) have no shock-absorbing properties, so you are relying on your floor to do the job. If you dance on an un-sprung floor then you are opening yourself up to the risk of stress-fractures, most likely in your feet. However, if you're wearing a shock-absorbing shoes, such as a jazz trainer or sports trainer, then you're at much less risk of injury.
Tasha adds that most speciality dance floors are actually more sprung than a sports floor. In dance we are putting a lot of weight on a small area and the high impact can cause shocks that lead to joint and cartilage damage, but a semi-sprung floor will reduce the shocks and help to keep you safe.
In addition, and most worryingly, you might not even notice the damage that you are doing to yourself on an un-sprung floor. The damage may be more noticeable when you eventually go back to dancing in a properly fitted dance studio. In addition, a better floor will lead to more endurance in class.
The key point?
Don't dance on concrete or anything with no 'give'. If you're dancing at home then a wooden floor is best, but you also need to consider how slippery it is...
Slip and grip
Tasha says "a speciality dance floor will provide just the right amount of grip to protect your skin and stability". If there is too much slip or too much grip then this will impact negatively on your performance and safety. This is arguably even more important than the amount of spring, because if you slip over while turning or jumping you could really do yourself some damage.
The level of slip and grip is easily solvable (unlike the level of spring) by using a speciality dance floor or mat over the top of your studio or home floor. Tasha recommends laying any home dance mat on a level surface and making sure that there is no gap between separate pieces.
The key point?
In your home, try to avoid dancing on carpets or rugs (too grippy) or on shiny kitchen floors (to slippery)! It is easy to ensure the correct level of slip and grip by using a speciality dance mat.
We realise that very few people will be lucky enough to have just the right kind of floor to dance on at home. So, if you're looking to make your home dance space that little bit safer, then look at home dance-mats by Le Mark. They come with a handy carry-bag and you can see them in more detail here.
Le Mark are a UK based company who have been supplying professional-grade dance floors to the TV, Film and performance industry since 1982.
We thoroughly recommend!