It's a question that often pops up online in dance teacher forums where studio owners look for creative ways to save money. It may sound tempting to try shower pan lining as vinyl flooring—it's PVC, just like marley, right? Unfortunately, it's not that simple—PVC products are not all created equal.


Shower pan lining has a warning printed on it, as mandated by California legislation (Proposition 65) for products that contain certain hazardous chemicals. In this case, DEHP is a widely used plasticizer and a component of many household items, including tablecloths, floor tiles, shower curtains, garden hoses and medical tubing. It is a known carcinogen and has been banned from children's toys, because it can be absorbed through the mouth and skin.

Tom Stewart, a technical support specialist for Oatey, a shower pan liner manufacturer, says shower pan liner "is normally installed between two mortar beds and provides a water barrier to the substrate below it. Under normal usage, any exposure should be much lower than applicable OSHA guidelines because the amount of DEHP is minute."

But when shower pan liner is used as a dance floor, all bets are off. It can deteriorate when it is exposed to the air, causing shrinking or warping, and it can be difficult to anticipate how the liner will react to temperature changes, cleaning solutions or rosin. There is no manufacturer guarantee if something goes wrong with the product, and the studio could be liable if students or staff were to develop health issues related to long-term DEHP exposure.

Marley, on the other hand, comes with much less risk. It typically does not contain a printed warning about toxicity and incorporates multiple layers, such as closed cell-foam backing, woven mineral fiber reinforcement or fiberglass. A thin top layer may have UV light protection to prevent sun damage and to give performers slip resistance. Dance flooring companies often work with installers who are product experts and who can provide professional flooring installation that is guaranteed for the life of the studio.

"Shower pan liner is designed to be effective for a very specific use, and it is not as a dance floor," says Randy Swartz, president of Stagestep. "Your studio flooring is a long-term investment and the most important investment you can make."


Rana's Dance Floor www.youtube.com


Home Marley Dance Floor Options for Over Concrete or Carpet - Greatmats www.youtube.com

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Photo courtesy of Hightower

The beloved "So You Think You Can Dance" alum and former Emmy-nominated "Dancing with the Stars" pro Chelsie Hightower discovered her passion for ballroom at a young age. She showed a natural ability for the Latin style, but she mastered the necessary versatility by studying jazz, ballet and other forms of dance. "Every style of dance builds on each other," she says, "and the more music you're exposed to, the more your rhythm and coordination is built."

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After years of throwing summer parties at your studio, you're likely fatigued by coming up with themes and event details. You want your students to have a good time, but you're also up to your eyeballs in choreography and costume decisions.

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