Today’s topic of discussion is tap dance floors! (Part 2)

You can find Part 1 of this series on Episode 007 where I discuss in-studio flooring that can be used by anyone looking to build-out their commercial dance studio space or at home studio space. For Part 2, we’re going to talk portable tap dance floors.

Over the years, I’ve done some heavy research in hopes of finding the best flooring options for my dance studio, home studio and solo tours and this episode is a detailed description of the portable and permanent tap floors I own and have built. I share this information with you in hopes of it helping you to find the best flooring option for you and your journey in the dance.

**Disclaimer: Before building any floor, please consult an engineer or contractor with the appropriate expertise! This isn’t a how-to guide to DIY tap floors, but rather a stepping stone to your initial research in finding the best product for you and your dance situation.

PORTABLE FLOORING

Why Do You Need a Portable Tap Floor? (2:20)

As a professional tap dance artist, my floor is my instrument and I always bring one with me for performances and classes. The only time that I do not bring a floor with me is if a sprung wood floor is already at the venue or being provided. Many of my students have portable floors of their own so they can practice on their own, and then they can tuck them away when they’re not practicing. It’s an easy way to create a practice space without taking up space.

Concert Dance Floor created by Bluebird Graphics (2:56)

Great for larger venues like a theater or outdoor stage. This floor is comprised of individual squares that measure 3.5’ x 3.5’. I have a total of 14 that layout to 22.5’ x 7’ deep. I chose these measurements because when my company Hillary-Marie’s Sole Music Collective, performs, I usually have four dancers on the stage at most, and the rest of the stage is reserved for a live band.

Positives: (3:51)

  • Easy set-up. It takes less than 10 minutes to fully lay the floor and breaking it down is even quicker.
  • It’s sprung and therefore very comfortable and healthy to dance on.
  • I can change the size of the floor as needed for the gig.
  • I’ve had this floor for less than a year and after decent use and travel, it’s holding up nicely.

Challenges: (4:32)

  • You have to have space to properly store this floor (like a garage or a storage unit)
  • You need a truck to transport the floor (which I don’t necessarily consider to be a challenge because it comes with the territory of wanting a large concert dance style floor, but it’s worth mentioning).

Here are some photos of the floor:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smaller Floors for Solo Gigs or at Home Practice

Tongue and Groove Oak Floor  (2’ x 3’) (5:09)

A student of mine built this floor for me and I have used it as a portable floor for local NYC gigs and as a practice floor in my NYC apartment. This floor comes apart in two pieces and when assembled, the two pieces fold into each other along the tongue and groove seam and then lock together. It’s sitting on 2 parallel pieces of wood which essentially creates a frame and under those pieces, I’ve used rubber cement to glue rubber to the bottom to prevent the floor from sliding while I’m dancing.

Positives: (6:11)

  • While there isn’t a bounce to it, it is sitting on top of a wooden frame, so it’s healthy to dance on.
  • Fantastic sound quality.
  • The grain feels really nice.
  • Truly is portable.
  • Can be laid on any type of floor from carpet to marble and it won’t slip.

Challenges: (6:40)

  • A bit heavy, so I have to use a cart to travel with it comfortably.
  • Bulky, so I wouldn’t take it on an airplane.
  • Best for local gigs when you’re traveling by car.

Check out this floor in action:

FasFoot Floor (7:02)

This is my go-to floor for traveling gigs and recording sessions. This is also what I recommend to dancers who want something to practice on at home, but don’t feel like building something from scratch. It comes in two parts essentially, the floor itself folds up into thirds and then it sits on top of a base which breaks down into smaller pieces. The entire floor can fold up into an easily portable bag. The floor I travel with is 27 inches by 35 inches (about 2 feet x 3 feet). They do also have a larger option which is 4.5 feet x 4.5 feet.

Positives: (7:44)

  • Carry-on size. Easy travel on an airplane.
  • The seams sit flush so I never catch a lip in the folds of the floor while I’m dancing.
  • Has a nice bounce to it that feels good.
  • Healthy to dance on.
  • Nice sound quality, not “boomy” at all, which is why I like to use it for recording sessions.
  • Can be laid on top of any floor from carpet to marble to cement.
  • This is truly the most portable tap dance floor I’ve ever owned. The floor itself folds up to a third of its size and the frame it sits on breaks down. All of the pieces lay comfortably together in a bag and I never have a problem with it at the airport.
  • The base is extremely lightweight and it comes with velcro straps which hold it all together nicely.

Challenges: (8:45)

  • For the best use of this product, I do recommend the frame, which does not come with the floor, it is a separate purchase. It is now available on the website, and it is SO worth the additional purchase!

Check out this floor in action:

O’Mara Portable Briefcase Board: (9:12)

To hear more about O’Mara, check out Episode 007, Part 1 of this Tap Floor series because I have a 6’ x 6’ floor of theirs in my home studio that I really love.

The Portable floor meets carry-on luggage size at 14’’ x 22’’ x 3’’ when folded. When opened it is 28’’ x 22’ inches and weighs about 12 pounds.

Positives: (9:47)

  • Easy to travel with. Carry-on approved.  
  • As with all O’Mara floors, the sound quality is nice.
  • A beautiful sprung floor that is very healthy to dance on.

Challenges: (10:05)

  • On the smaller side, not a lot of dancing space.
  • They haven’t created a travel bag for it, yet, but hopefully, that is coming soon!

*A travel bag is now available on the O’Mara website!

2’ x 2’ Frame with Maple Plywood Top: (10:15)

I built a frame by using 2×4’s and put some maple plywood on top. When I first moved to New York, this is the floor that I used to practice in my apartment and to travel to gigs. Now, I keep one of these in the trunk of my car just in case I ever need a floor.

Positives: (10:53)

  • Very cheap and easy to build.
  • DIY project.
  • Easy to carry without a cart or a bag, so riding the subway with it was never a challenge.
  • Sits on top of a frame, so it is healthier to dance on.
  • Decent sound quality.
  • Can be laid on top of any type of floor (just be sure to put rubber underneath so you don’t slide as you dance).

Challenges: (11:24)

  • Floors like this wear down pretty quickly, so they have a short life-span.
  • Doesn’t fold up, so you have to build it small to keep it portable.
  • Difficult to fly with. It’s great to travel with by hand or in the car, or to have something small that you can have at home that you can tuck away when you’re not using it, but if you’re flying, this is not the best option.

Share Your Thoughts (12:23)

I would love to know what portable floors you are using! If you have any flooring experiences or suggestions that you would like to share with the iTapOnline Community, or any questions about any of the floors that I discussed, please comment. I always write back and I truly love talking tap dance!

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