Contemporary Dance Flooring Buying Guide
Find the perfect floor for your studio with our contemporary dance flooring buyer’s guide. For studios, schools companies and more - a floor for everything from beginners to professionals.
Contemporary is a tricky one for flooring. It’s the only style where dancers are primarily barefoot, which means you still need some slip resistance, but you have to be really careful not to have too much, otherwise you tear up your feet.
You also have to remember that you (or your dancers) will be rolling and sliding all over this floor. There’s nothing worse than leaving rehearsal with floor burns all over your body.
Most contemporary studios and companies are using either plain old wood floors or what we refer to as “marley” flooring. All marley really means is a slip-control rolled vinyl dance flooring.
More on that soon.
Although wood floors can work well for contemporary, we still recommend a marley dance flooring roll. It’s what most dancers perform on and so it’s always best to practice how you will perform. Plus, it will help prevent slips and spills.
And your feet get used to it. I promise.
Like I said, today’s marley floors aren’t truly marley. You know how when you go to get a Lyft, but you still call it an Uber because it’s become such a popular term? Am I the only one that does that? Anyway, that’s what happened with marley - the brand name became the generic terminology.
True marley is no longer available anywhere, but the rolled vinyl we all know as marley is more readily available than ever! In fact, we have 7 different marley options to suit your specific needs.
That’s right - there used to be just one option for safe and attractive dance floors, but times, they are a-changin'. Let’s take a look at your options.
The Adagio roll is like the perfect pair of jeans. You know, the ones that can pass for casual or dressy that fit just right and are perfect for almost any occasion? That’s how Adagio rolls are for dance flooring.
The Adagio roll is the most popular and versatile dance flooring option. In fact, if you have marley installed right now, I’d be willing to bet it’s the Adagio floor.
If you need a dance flooring option that you can use for contemporary, ballet, tap, jazz and more, the Adagio is where it’s at. Adagio dance flooring rolls are medium-fast, offering just enough slip resistance to keep you safe without holding you back from slides, turns and floor work.
Adagio Installation Options:
Just like our Adagio floor, but a little lighter, a little more portable. The key word here is “tour.” These rolls are great for touring companies.
The thin, lightweight Adagio Tour rolls are still plenty durable to stand up to hours of class and rehearsal. They’re simple, easier to move and even better for tap than the original Adagio rolls.
If you have a shared space, they might be perfect for you.
However, if you’re planning on doing a permanent installation in a contemporary-only studio, I’d recommend taking the step up to the regular Adagio rolls.
Adagio Tour Installation Options:
Dance Floor Rolls are the premier contemporary dance flooring. They have just the right amount of grip so they won’t tear up your feet or make you stick during your turns.
Our Dance Floor Rolls have the perfect resiliency to support dancers of all skill levels. They offer a medium-fast speed and the perfect amount of slide and grip to keep you safe in shoes and out.
These rolls, like the Adagio Tour, are designed to be portable and convenient for touring companies. However, you can absolutely install them semi-permanently in your studio, as well.
Our light and portable Dance Floor rolls are also great for ballet, jazz, hip-hop and more.
Dance Floor Installation Options:
This floor means business. Arabesque marley rolls are heavy duty, strong and durable enough to hold up to the most intense dance company rehearsals.
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.
Also, this is a fast floor. Your turns and slides will feel fast and easy without the floor feeling slippery.
Arabesque rolls are great for professional jazz companies and studios. However, this bad boy is so durable it can handle tap and even things like Irish step and flamenco.
Arabesque 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 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:
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 contemporary studio. It has a good amount of grip, offering medium speed.
This baby is definitely more of an investment than our other marley options, so we recommend using it for your performance space or studios that need to look top notch at all times.
Studio Floor Installation Options:
Rosco refers to this floor as their “Battleship Linoleum.” This bad boy is the toughest of the tough, built to stand up to the harsh beating of hard soled shoes.
Now, let me tell you, this floor means business. It’s not a floor you take on the road and it’s not a floor you put in a shared space with ballet dancers. It is specifically designed for tap and hard-soled styles, but you can also use it for contemporary and jazz in a shared space.
Although this floor is robust and sturdy, it is a surprisingly fast floor, making it perfect for barefoot turns and slides.
Roscoleum Installation Options:
Wood-Look Contemporary 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
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.
Our impact rolls are like attaching a vinyl marley roll to a 5mm rubber underlayment. These can be especially helpful if you don’t have a sprung subfloor*. These rolls are also versatile enough for jazz and ballet.
Impact Rolls Installation Options:
*Note: These are not a replacement for a sprung subfloor. They are not nearly as shock absorbent. However, if you can’t do a sprung subfloor, they are better than a thinner vinyl marley on its own.
Eco-Impact Rolls - Wood Series
Just like the Impact Rolls, but with foam backing which makes them a little more friendly for the wallet.
These are great through intermediate levels, but I wouldn’t recommend them for a professional ballet company. They don’t hold up to heavier weights as well and the weight of repeated jumps and lifts from adult professionals could start to affect the shock absorbency of the foam backing.
Impact Rolls Installation Options:
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.
Contemporary Dance Flooring Durability / Longevity
All of our marley rolls are specifically designed to hold up to years and years of dancing of all levels. In fact, most of them boast at least a 5-year warranty, with our wood-look options offering as many as 10 years.
These rolls are in it for the long haul.
Contemporary Dance Flooring Installation
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.
Contemporary Dance Flooring Maintenance
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 marley contemporary 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!