Tap dancing is unique because performers not only dance but also create complex rhythms and melodies with their tapping. It’s an ingenious and creative art form — adored by both young and old. Let’s discover what type of flooring is best for tap dancing.

When you’re first starting out, you might be tempted to dance in your living room. After all, it’s fun to dance at home if you have an appropriate space. But often dancing at home is a bad idea for two reasons.

Firstly, you will end up damaging your floors. You’ll see scratches and cuffs appear almost immediately. Secondly, the tapping will infuriate your downstairs neighbors (and that’s an understatement). So what type of flooring is best for tap dancing?

In this article, we will look at the best floors for tap dancing.

And if loud and heavy tapping would inconvenience your neighbors, we will also look at some possible solutions so that you can still practice this amazing art.

The 3 Main Types of Tap Dance Flooring

Tap dancing has been popular since the 1800s. Naturally, artisans invented many types of flooring over the years.

Although you will find lots of subcategories, the two main types of flooring are (1) Vinyl and (2) hardwood. Let’s look at each one in greater depth.

(1) Vinyl Flooring For Tap Dancing

Vinyl floors (also named Marley floors) consist of these massive sheets of vinyl that you can roll over a sprung board surface.

They’re popular because they’re cheap when compared with hardwood. They’re also durable and easy to install. Plus, they create a rich sound while tapping. So, vinyl floors have been popular for ages.

And many theatres and studios have multiple dance floors. One floor might be for ballet, another for tap dancing, etc. And because vinyl floors are easy to install, they’re a popular choice at these locations; you’ll find them everywhere. It also doesn’t hurt that rolling out sheets of vinyl is much easier than laying down wooden panels.

But vinyl is unattractive when compared to hardwood, and some people believe that vinyl floors produce an inferior, duller sound.

(2) Hardwood Flooring For Tap Dancing

When it comes to hardwood flooring, the two most popular types are oak and maple. You can’t go wrong with either.

And when laid over a sprung board surface, hardwood produces a beautiful sound with lots of resonance. The tapping will have a vibrant and melodic tone that adds to the power of the performance.

The problem is that hardwood floors are expensive to buy and install, and sooner or later tap dancing will lead to floor damage. So it can be both expensive and time-consuming to replace damaged hardwood floors.

But the aesthetics make it worthwhile. And hardwood floors are the top choice if you have the budget.

(3) Portable Flooring For Tap Dancing

But let’s face it, installing special flooring for the sole purpose of dancing is unreasonable for most hobbyists. Luckily, high-quality portable flooring does exist.

Portable flooring comes in the form of square wooden mats. And you can transport them easily so they’re a great option for people who cannot tap dance at home.

But you might wonder where you could practice with these mats.

Well, you could take your portable floor to a gym or dance studio. But not all facilities welcome loud tapping.

You can also place the floor in a park or garden. And this is a great option because it feels fantastic to tap dance outside in the open air, and the soft surfaces make your dancing safer.

The most important thing is to avoid putting the floor on concrete, as hard surfaces make bad shock absorbers. To avoid injury, we recommend placing the portable tapping floor either on grass or on some other soft surface (such as carpet). Now you got the answer to what type of flooring is best for tap dancing. 

Portable floors during the pandemic

There is a saying in the dance world, “the show must go on”.  To stay true to this guiding principle, T3 Triple Threats adult theatre program began making our own portable dance floors. Thanks to a generous gift from Home Depot, we can continue making tap, and a variety of other dance styles, more accessible both financially and socially to community members during these uncertain times.

And with exercising outside being the norm these days, T3 is taking advantage of some of San Diego’s most beautiful parks and weather.  While giving our lessons outside, our portable floors allow us to combine socially distanced classes with the health and safety of being outdoors. On just about any day of the week, enthusiasts of all ages can find a class to participate in.

Over the last 19 years, both our youth and adult theater programs have proven that the ARTS have the power to bring people together. This is the reason we remain dedicated to making these programs more accessible. This is the reason we are here.

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