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Swing Analogies–Dance Floors are like Glaciers…

June 9, 2010


This is part of a new random series where we explore the world of dancing through weird analogies– something us teachers are always on the lookout for, because if they are correct analogies, they help strengthen understanding of a concept and are easy for students to remember. It also happens to be a way to do a post in a short amount of time for those weeks when I’m working in exotic locations or am in jail (also possibly in exotic locations).

A workshop dance floor is like a glacier

Today’s analogy isn’t about Lindy Hop specifically. It’s just interesting, probably useless information. It comes from Dave Moldover of Dance Jams Productions, one of the biggest and most trusted companies for event dance floors (they did Frankie’s 95th giant dance floor, and ILHC, for instance.) We rented a floor from Dance Jam for the Balboa Experiment and talked to him about dance floors.

You might have been at an event, and noticed that the floor, well, shifted. A giant, hundred foot dance floor can shift many feet on a carpet, and if it’s not paid attention to, it can run up against walls, and panels will even begin to buckle as it slowly but powerfully, glacier-like, runs into a wall. It can even bend chair legs and table legs without anyone noticing.

This is because of the carpet. When pressure is put on a carpet fiber, the fiber bends down, and then pushes back as pressure is released. Since the fibers are manufactured to go in a similar direction, the floor pushes that dance floor towards that direction. Lindy Hoppers and other street dances tend to move floors a lot, because we put so much pulse and weight into the ground.

In the venues that Dance Jam productions uses a lot, they know the drift and where to set-up the dance floor so that it ends up the weekend in the right spot.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Breanna permalink
    June 9, 2010 10:08 am

    I like the idea behind this series! As for the glacier analogy, I think anyone who was at Lindy Focus VII (or VI? Or VIII? Whichever one it was!) will fondly recall the Fluff ‘n Scoot, which was LF’s solution to the traveling floor problem. It was a great way to bring campers together and make sure the floor was in the correct place, all at the same time. Kind of like s’mores for lindy hoppers, but…not.

  2. Melissa permalink
    November 20, 2010 3:32 pm

    Breanna, my favorite memory of Lindy Focus (to date) is of standing in the middle of that huge dance floor and chanting “Fluff…Fluff…Fluff and scooooot!” and marvelling as the floor and I scooted back to where we belonged.

    -Melissa (the fluff-and-scoot girl)

  3. dave permalink
    November 23, 2011 3:03 pm

    The “Fluff & Scooot” remedy is effective for floors up to about 1000 square feet. Larger floors are too heavy to move this way and they can be damaged.

    -Dave (the designer of the dance floor)

  4. Heidi Rosenau permalink
    November 23, 2011 4:32 pm

    I can attest to this shift with a warning. Do not put your bag near the edge of a floor. I did at Boston Teatparty, and didn’t notice that the shoulder strap flopped onto the carpet. By the time 2 classes were over, the floor was sitting on a strap, and there was no way Joe and I could life my bag. Fortunately, the straps were detatchable (weird, but they were), so I extracated the bag that way. Got the strap back 2 days later when they peeled up the floor at weekend’s end. It was safe under there…once trapped, it wasn’t going anywhere. Ha.

    • Melissa Greene permalink
      December 3, 2011 3:13 am

      Heidi,
      Next time, let me know.
      A screw gun and 5 minutes, and we could have had your strap back. :-)

      -Melissa

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