How To Deal With Difficult Dance Floors

A Hindu proverb says: "He who cannot dance puts the blame on the floor" but let's face it – sometimes the floor sucks!

If it's too slippery you're feeling like Bambi on ice and are afraid to do anything that tests your balance. Sure, the spins work like charm, but you can't get properly in nor out of them. And if it's too sticky, it's difficult to do anything fast and your knees will eventually start to hurt.

To find a floor that is just right is like chasing a ghost, so most of the times we have to learn how to deal with a not so ideal one.

But there are a few tricks.

Sticky Dance Floors

A sticky floor is easily treated with baby powder. The disadvantage is that it leaves a mass, so if you're not in a place where people are used to this, just use the powder under your shoes and not across the floor, although that diminishes the effect somewhat. Also remember everybody's subjective feeling of how sticky a floor is is different, so don't assume that just because you can't move the whole floor needs a treatment and everybody will thank you for it.

Do not force turns and spins (your own or your partners) when the floor is sticky! Your knees can easily be hurt that way.

Slippery Dance Floors

A slippery floor can be more of a challenge. I've experimented with most of the traditional aids (and a few untraditional ones :o)), but your best bet is simply castor oil. It will get you through a few dances before it dries up. Use it sparingly on the soles of your shoes, as it's really sticky and can stop you dead in your track if applied to generously.

Wax also works, but only if it's fresh; you have to constantly brush it off and re-apply it, otherwise it becomes slippery in itself. But many people swear on it.

If you don't have anything like that, water, or coke, works just fine. Just make sure not to take too much, or it will become very sticky. Unfortunately it dries up very fast because of the friction heat.

And of course just brushing the shoes with a shoe brush can make a difference, although this works less and less the older the shoes are – then it becomes mostly a matter of cleaning them.

Hard Floors

Sometimes you will be dancing on concrete or otherwise very hard floors. This will put additional strain on your feet and legs. There is nothing you can do about that there and then, but be sure you stretch your calves afterwards and maybe treat your feet to a massage. Also watch your posture and stretch your lower back, as it will show signs of fatigue when dancing on hard floors.

Good Technique

Apart from physical aids a good technique will help you in dealing with a difficult floor.

Especially beginners will be disturbed by non-ideal floors, or any floor different from the one they're used to for that matter. But with experience a floor formerly percieved as slippery usually becomes easier to dance on.

Your bodyweight should always be exactly over the foot you're stepping on, otherwise you will slip easily. Avoid taking big steps and steps at a shallow angle towards the floor, e.g. dragging your feet. Try to actively feel the floor and push into and off of it. Relax your feet and spread your toes to get a better grip.

Tips For High Heeled Ladies

If you're afraid to fall and are physically seeking “up” and away from the floor, you will become stiff in your body, which will heighten the risk of falling. The more you use the floor and work with it, the more relaxed and stable you will be.

Try to "sink" or "push down" the weight from your upper body and shoulders into your hips. Watch your posture to make sure you're balancing on your own and not grabbing on to your guy for support.

If you're not comfortable and stable enough on high heels, consider using flats until you have gained more control.

Extra Tip

Another great tip is painter's tape! You can read more about it here.


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