Dance Studio Flooring Buying Guide
Find the right dance studio flooring that will keep your space looking sharp, your dancers safe and your business booming. Learn about different marley options, sprung floors and more.
It’s funny, no matter how many years you’ve danced and how much you think you know about your floor, the first time you have to purchase dance flooring is always a little daunting.
It’s one of those things you assume you’ll know how to do. After all, you’ve been dancing on marley and sprung floors your entire life, so how hard can it be to pick them out?
As a dancer myself, I never realized how little I knew about the floors I danced on. I mean, I knew all the terms, of course, but looking at a selection of dance flooring, I found myself feeling totally clueless and even googling terms like “Can you tap dance on marley?” ( <-- yes, you can, but some types are better for this than others).
Don’t worry, it’s actually pretty simple and easy to find exactly what you need.
What Should You Look for in Dance Studio Flooring?
With so many dance flooring options to choose from, it’s important to figure out what’s important. Luckily, that really just boils down to safety, dance style and maintenance.
This is always the number-one priority.
The truth is, any physical activity comes with its risks. People like to give certain sports/activities a bad rap, touting that they lead to injury. But really, you can get injured doing just about anything if you don’t take the right precautions.
Your floor - along with adequate warm-ups, stretching and rest - is your best defense against injured dancers. Let’s take a look at how you can start with a safe floor that’s easy on your joints and slip resistant enough for safe turns, leaps and more.
All you really need for your subfloor is a clean, flat, level surface.
That being said, we very strongly encourage you to think about a sprung floor subfloor or home dance subfloor. I know, I know - it’s an extra expense, but it is so worth it.
Whether you’re a studio, school or professional company, the last thing you want is injured dancers. And the best way to prevent injuries is to start with a dance subfloor.
The subfloor absorbs and distributes the dancer’s weight, which allows dancers to continue to jump, leap and roll with a lower risk of injury.
There’s a reason no one dances on ceramic tile. Aside from being cold and hard, tile is super slippery, and slippery + dance do not mix.
While some styles are safe on just about any surface, things like ballet and specifically pointe really require a floor with some slip resistance.
While all marley-style dance floors offer some slip resistance, each one is designed to be safe for different types of dance. You want to make sure the floor you’re looking at is safe for all styles you’ll be doing in that space.
As I mentioned, different floors are best for different styles. If you run a strict ballet studio with no other styles, then it’s pretty easy. In fact, almost all dance flooring rolls are designed to work for ballet.
However, if you teach multiple styles and want to use your room for more than one type of class, it’s important to go with a floor that will work for each style.
Ballet & Pointe
For ballet and pointe, it’s very important to go with a slip-controlled surface. Vinyl “marley” rolls are the standard for ballet floors.
You have lots of options for your ballet marley flooring. You can choose based on how permanent you want the installation to be and how much traffic you anticipate.
Additionally, if you plan to do other styles on the floor, make sure your floor is appropriate for those as well.
Although many people think you can only tap dance on wood floors, you’d be surprised how many studios opt for a marley vinyl roll instead.
Tap is kind of tricky. You need a floor you can slide on. And you need to be able to hear the taps. However, you also don’t want it to be too slippery because your taps are already plenty slippery on their own.
It’s a balancing act between safety, sound and finding just the right amount of slip resistance. As someone who has tapped on many different surfaces, I recommend going with a tap-friendly marley.
For one, marley is the most versatile. If you choose a tap-friendly marley roll, you can also do ballet, jazz and more in the same space.
Additionally, a durable, tap-friendly marley will provide just the right amount of slip resistance. It’s kind of like Goldilocks - you don’t want too slippery or too slip-controlled. It has to be just right.
Modern / Contemporary
Have you ever seen the movie Center Stage? If you have, you know ballet dancers are high maintenance.
It’s okay. So am I. It’s not a judgment, but an observation.
Contemporary dancers on the other hand? They can dance on just about any dance surface, in any outfit, with any footwear.
The only thing to note about flooring for contemporary dance is that you don’t want an overly slip-controlled surface. Because these dancers usually dance barefoot, too much slip resistance will lead to them tearing up their feet.
If you choose a marley vinyl roll for contemporary, make sure it’s a light slip-control floor that is versatile for many styles of dance.
Jazz dance is also pretty low maintenance. You can dance on wood or marley, but I’d recommend going for the marley.
I danced at a studio with wood floors and I could never get just the right slip resistance. Barefoot I would tear my feet; jazz shoes were too slippery. It’s just hard to find the right combination.
With a marley vinyl roll, jazz shoes or even socks give you the perfect slip control without getting in the way nailing that triple pirouette.
No matter how many signs you put up that say “No shoes in the dance studio”, you know people are gonna walk in with their shoes and track in outside dirt and grime all over your beautiful floor. I know, it is so frustrating!
The best way to combat how difficult it is to keep the outside dirt away is to choose a dance floor that is easy to take care of. You’re going to have to end up cleaning it regularly, so you don’t want a floor that requires a big song and dance (pun intended).
The good news is all of our dance flooring options are super easy to clean and maintain. They just require sweeping/vacuuming and a damp mop with a mild cleaning solution.
If you end up with scratches that really bug you, you can give it a more careful scrub. But, generally speaking, it’s really just as easy as taking care of any home floor. Just make sure to clean up spills right away and you’ll be good to go!
Types of Dance Flooring
Okay, so now that you know what you’re looking for, let’s go through your options and help determine the best choice for you.
Marley Dance Flooring Rolls
Truth be told, what we think of as marley flooring these days isn’t really marley. These vinyl rolls mimic the original marley flooring.
It’s kind of how we call all tissues Kleenex. They’re the same material and give the same slip control, but they’re all technically just vinyl rolls.
Anyway, there are lots of different marley-esque dance flooring rolls for you to choose from. Most of them do similar things, but some are designed for different styles and uses.
Adagio Dance Flooring Rolls
The Adagio roll is the most popular and versatile dance flooring option. If you need a dance flooring option that you can use for ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and more, the Adagio is where it’s at.
This medium-fast floor offers just enough slip resistance to keep you safe during ballet without tearing up your feet during contemporary. They’re also specifically designed not to absorb sound. That means they won’t muffle your time steps and wings during tap class.
Adagio Installation Options:
Adagio Tour Dance Flooring Rolls
Just like our Adagio floor, but a little lighter, a little more portable. The key word here is “tour.” These rolls are great for tour companies.
The thin, lightweight Adagio Tour rolls are excellent for tap - offering slip control without muffling the sounds. They are also super versatile, making them great for ballet, jazz, contemporary and more, as well.
Adagio Tour Installation Options:
Dance Floor Rolls
Dance Floor Rolls are the go-to marley option for ballet and contemporary. They offer a medium-fast speed and the perfect amount of slide and grip to keep you in shoes and out.
Dance Floor rolls are the best if you do any tours or travel. These marley rolls are super light and easy to install and reinstall over and over again.
Our Dance Floor are best for traditional styles, such as ballet, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop.
Dance Floor Installation Options:
Arabesque Dance Flooring Rolls
This floor ain’t messin’ around. Arabesque marley rolls are heavy duty, tough and durable enough to hold up to the most intense dance company rehearsals.
Also, this is a fast floor. Triple pirouettes and fouettes will come easy on this turn-friendly marley.
These are the opposite of the Dance Floor rolls - they are thick, heavy and best for semi-permanent installations. This is not the floor you want to take on the road.
This bad boy is so durable it can handle tap, ballet, jazz and even things like Irish step and flamenco.
Arabesque Installation Options:
Roscoleum Dance Flooring Rolls
Roscoleum means business. Your taps, heels and most intense dance moves are no match for this thick, durable dance flooring. This does make it a little on the slower side for turns, rated as a medium-speed floor.
If your studio gets a ton of traffic and specializes in styles such as tap, flamenco, Irish step or other hard-soled styles, Roscoleum could be your best bet.
If you’re a more traditional ballet studio, however, this could be overkill.
Roscoleum Installation Options:
Performance Floor Dance Flooring Rolls
Do you plan on doing recitals and performances in your studio as well as classes? Then you might prefer the Performance Floor marley.
The Performance Floor isn’t ideal for tours - it’s more of a permanent or semi-permanent type deal because you want to keep it looking beautiful and performance-ready.
These rolls are tough and gorgeous, making them perfect for all types of dance, both in class and performances. They have a lot of grip to them, making them a medium-slow flooring option.
Performance Floor Installation Options:
Studio Floor Dance Flooring Rolls
The Studio Floor is for the space you know you can keep protected from through traffic, street shoes and hard-soled dance styles.
This marley roll looks great on stage or in a ballet/pointe studio. It has a good amount of grip, offering medium speed.
Studio Floor Installation Options:
Wood-Look Dance Flooring Rolls
If you’ve ever been to the fancy studios in NYC, chances are you’ve seen those marley rolls that somehow look like hardwood. How do they do that?!
It’s easier than you think! Those floors are nothing more than a traditional vinyl dance flooring roll with a wood look.
And good news! We have them!
“Impact Rolls - Wood Series” Dance Flooring Rolls
These are the most beautiful, convincing and durable wood-look dance flooring rolls on the market. The Impact Rolls are thick and durable enough to hold up to everything from dance, to gym flooring and more.
Because they are thicker, we don’t recommend them for tap - they won’t produce the best sounds. These rolls are best for ballet, jazz and contemporary.
Impact Roll Installation Options:
“Eco-Impact Rolls - Wood Series” Dance Flooring Rolls
Just like the Impact Rolls, but a little more friendly for the wallet. Same rules apply.
Eco-Impact Roll Installation Options:
Each dance flooring roll is a little different and this also depends on whether you are doing a permanent, semi-permanent or temporary installation.
Traditionally, you can easily install marley dance rolls yourself by laying rolls flat and using vinyl tape over the seams. Of course, we always recommend checking the product specifications before installation.
Ready to get started?