3 Tips To Reduce Slipping On Dance Floors

There’s nothing more nerve-wracking for a dancer than a slippery dance floor. The most popular dance flooring is vinyl, or marley, while other common surfaces include hardwood and laminate. There are a few ways to decrease the risk of slipping and falling. Follow these three tips to help keep you steady, and give you peace of mind.

1. Rosin

Rosin is a solid tree resin, or sap, found in pine trees and other plants. It is used to increase friction and grip. You can purchase powdered rosin from your local dance store or online. Sprinkle a quarter-sized amount of rosin on the floor. It may be slightly chunky. Break these chunks up by lightly pressing them with your heels or the balls of your feet. The rosin will coat the soles of your shoes and become engrained in the fibers, increasing traction against the floor.

This is my favorite method of reducing slipping, but it has its pros and cons. Sometimes, classrooms will already come equipped with a rosin box, a large shallow square you can step in. However, it can also be messy, and even damage marley dance floors.

2. Water

If rosin is unavailable or not allowed, you can try using a damp paper towel. It’s cheap, easy, and zero clean up. I used this method all the time, and it works best with canvas shoes. Wet a sturdy paper towel and wring out any excess water. Do not use tissue since this shreds and makes a mess. Step on the paper towel and dampen the soles of your shoes. This moisture will help you stick to the floor a little better. Just make sure not to leave puddles where you first stepped on the paper towel. You can leave the paper towel by your place at the barre and step on it again whenever the need arises. After class, make sure to wipe the area clean and throw it in the trash.

3. Scoring

If neither of these options is available to you, try scoring, or scraping, the soles of your shoes. This is particularly helpful if you’re wearing pointe shoes. With your pointe shoes on or off, scrape the bottoms of your shoes with a cheese grater, fork, or box cutter. Do not attempt this while wearing technique shoes. Creating minor grooves in the leather material will reduce the slippery texture and help you grip the floor. Just be sure not to make serious gashes. If in pointe shoes, you can also take a razor blade and slice off the satin tip of the platform. This will expose the canvas, making it less slippery when dancing on pointe.

Always check with your teacher before attempting any of these tips. Do NOT use soda as some dancers do. It leaves a sticky residue, which your teacher will definitely not appreciate. Whichever method you use, do not indiscriminately leave these materials in different spots throughout the room. Find your place at the barre, and perform the process in your spot. This keeps things clean and tidy, and reduces the risk of harming your peers.

image credit: Sario Reale
Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


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