Equip yourself with basic studio equipment in portable form to make lease-hopping a cinch.

So your current location is only temporary—so what? You can outfit your space with equipment that can move when you do.

Gone are the days of garage dance studios and wheedling your local recreation center into letting you commandeer the gym four days a week. Today’s studio owner needs a space of her own. But that space doesn’t have to be—and often isn’t—permanent. “Today, 80 to 90 percent of all dance studios are leased,” says Randy Swartz, president of Stagestep Flooring Solutions.

As your business grows, your location is likely to change more than once. Rather than replacing your entire studio outfit with each new space (or only renting former dance studios), consider equipping yourself with portable studio basics—flooring, barres, mirrors and sound system. Below, we offer easy, affordable ways to take your studio essentials with you from one leased locale to the next.

Taking the Floor

Glynis Van Slyke, president of Entertainment Flooring Systems (EFS), is familiar with the I-need-a-temporary-but-safe-dance-floor plight of many studio owners. “We have studios that are desperate—they need to open—but the location they’ve gotten isn’t really ideal, so they’ll only be there for a couple of years,” she says. “Why spend $30,000 for a floor that’s designed to be permanent?” You won’t be there long enough to recoup your investment.

That’s where portable flooring comes in. EFS’ portable sprung floor, for example, comes in a choice of finished maple or oak hardwood and runs cheaper ($8.30–$9.30 per square foot) than the company’s more permanent options. Its tongue-and-groove locking system, says Van Slyke, is not affected by multiple moves (though disassembly and reassembly should be done with care to hold up during transition). Even the moving process is designed with portability in mind: “You’re just pulling up the boards, stacking them, pulling up the under layer and loading it into a truck,” she says.

Harlequin Floors’ Liberty LatchLoc sprung floor uses the same principle—a floating subfloor with interlocking wooden panels, which simplifies installation. Reconfiguration is a breeze: If you want to pull it up and move it to a new space, you can at any time. Stagestep’s Encore floor, at $10 per square foot, works in a similar way.

Transportability If you’re traveling often from one nonstudio location to the next, consider investing in a rollout floor, like EFS’ Duofloor. It’s the most lightweight model (under 3 pounds per linear foot, as opposed to 4 or 5 pounds), reversible (black/gray or black/white) and comes cut based on customers’ dimensions (like 30' x 40', which, Van Slyke notes, “matches up with a lot of stages”).

Raising—and Lowering—the Barre, Ad Infinitum

Unlike a wall-mounted ballet barre, which can leave sizable holes (and possible structural damage) should you choose to remove it, portable barres are lightweight yet sturdy, substantial and still adjustable. EFS offers PVC or aluminum options; Harlequin has aluminum and beech. “It’s a double barre,” explains Harlequin marketing director Chrissy Ott, “so you can use both or just the lower barre. There are various configurations.” Companies offer different lengths—52 and 72 inches at Harlequin ($470 and $570, respectively), for example—to fit whatever size studio you’re operating in.

Transportability Stagestep’s The Elite portable barre, with its 1-2-3 assembly, carrying case and light weight, was created for easy transport. “You can take it apart, carry it by its case handles, open it up and snap it together,” says Swartz. “It’s very stable, very strong.” The 5' model is $685.

Angelica LaRusso and Anna Rufrano use Harlequin’s Cascade, an easy-to-move rollout dance floor, at their studio in Amityville, New York.

Smoke and Mirrors

Instead of installing heavy glass mirrors (with the potential to shatter dangerously) in your temporary studio space, try glassless mylar. This nonfogging, nondistorting alternative stretches and vacuum-seals mylar over an aluminum frame. “If it breaks, it’s not going to shatter,” says Ott. “It’s really a safety thing.” (And, as Swartz points out, glass mirrors aren’t included in your insurance—they’re an add-on.) Harlequin offers a bifold two-piece model and a trifold; they can come on wheels or on floor stands, allowing multiple configurations.

Transportability Wall-mounting versions like those of Stagestep and Harlequin only require double-faced tape and/or mounting brackets. Stagestep’s smaller size (4' x 6') is $400, and the larger (4' x 8') is $425.

Sounding Off

When it comes to portable sound systems, remember that amplification requirements will differ with studio size. A small studio, for example, can get away with a build-your-own hi-fi system, but larger rooms might require the more powerful PA (public address) systems. Both require the same equipment: a CD or MP3 player, amplifier and speakers. JVC, Panasonic, Sony, JBL and Yamaha all offer hi-fi or PA packages to fit the size, shape and budget of your studio.

Transportability It’s easy to go completely portable when it comes to sound—a sound dock, like Bose’s SoundDock XT speaker ($149.95), works with (and charges) iPod and iPhone models. You’ll get good sound quality, compact size and auxiliary input for other audio devices, like a tablet or MP3 player.

Finally, don’t forget: If you do eventually find the studio of your (permanent) dreams, you can always sell your portable floor, barres, mirrors and sound system to the next owner starting out studio life in the temporary zone. DT

Suppliers

Dance Equipment International

danceequipmentintl.com

Entertainment Flooring Systems

flooradvice.com

Harlequin Floors

harlequinfloors.com

O’Mara Sprung Floors

sprungfloors.com

Stagestep Flooring Solutions

stagestep.com

Photos from top: Thinkstock; photo courtesy of A-Team Dance Center

Dance Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy of Kreiling

While training with Abby Lee Miller in Pittsburgh, Rachel Kreiling underestimated the studio's requirement of enrolling in every class. The versatile curriculum (tap, ballet, hip hop, modern, acro, lyrical and jazz) paired with Miller's unconventional teaching style, since showcased on "Dance Moms," greatly impacted Kreiling's own style and relationship to music. "Abby would play the music and choreograph within the phrasing, but rarely to actual counts," she says. This resulted in a huge positive learning component. "I had to learn musicality myself," says Kreiling, who left the studio at age 18 after graduating, more than a decade before the Lifetime network show aired. "And studying every style became instrumental in my attachment to music," she adds. "I'm always seeking out new genres and diverse songs." After a performing career that included a Broadway-style revue at Tokyo Disney, Revolution (a tap tour with Mike Schulster), and dancing with Alison Chase/Performance and in a Rasta Thomas contemporary ballet, Kreiling began assisting Suzi Taylor at Steps on Broadway in New York City. In 2007, Kreiling, who describes her class as extremely athletic and technical, became full-time NYCDA faculty.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo by Jerome Capasso, courtesy of Man in Motion

Finding a male dance instructor who isn't booked solid can be a challenge, which is why a New York City dance educator was inspired to start a network of male dance professionals in 2012. Since then, he's tripled his roster of teachers and is actively hiring.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
Getty Images

Q: Two years ago, one of my dancers fractured her ankle and was out for six months. Upon her return, I cautiously allowed her to take pointe class, but treated her as if she was a beginner, because she was rolling out into supination, and I was fearful she would reinjure her ankle. Her mother feels I have held her back and changed to another studio. Did I make the right choice?

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Courtesy of Shawl-Anderson Dance Center

For seven decades, Frank Shawl's bright and kind spirit touched thousands of dancers in the studio and in the audience.

After dancing professionally in New York City and with the May O'Donnell Dance Company, Shawl moved with Victor Anderson to the San Francisco Bay Area and founded Shawl-Anderson Dance Center in 1958. It is the longest running arts organization in Berkeley.

The two ran their own company for 15 years and Shawl-Anderson Dance Center became a home for dance for students and artists alike. It currently runs 120 classes and workshops every week for children and adults, plus artist residencies, rehearsal space and intimate performances. (If you have never visited, the Center is actually a large house converted into four studio spaces.)

Shawl taught modern classes at the studio until 1990, performed into his late 70s and took classes at the Center into his mid 80s.

As I simultaneously mourn and honor Frank—my dear friend, fellow dancer, mentor and boss—I reflect on a few lessons that I learned from him. These five ideas relate to our various roles in dance as students, performers, teachers and administrators.

Keep reading... Show less
Just for fun
Getty Images

Halloween is just a few weeks away, which means it's officially time to start prepping your fabulously spooky costumes! Skip the classic witch, unicorn and superhero outfits, and trade them in for some ghosts of dance legends past. Wear your costumes to class, and use them as a way to teach a dance history lesson, or ask your students to dress up as their favorite dancer from history, and perform a few eight counts of their most famous repertoire during class. Your students will absolutely love it, and you'll be able to get in some real educating despite the distraction of the holiday!

Check out some ideas we had for who might be a good fit. We can't wait to see who you all dress up as!

Keep reading... Show less
Site Network
Alicia Alonso with Igor Youskevitch. Photo by Sedge Leblang, courtesy of Dance Magazine Archives

Her Dying Swan was as fragile as her Juliet was rebellious; her Odile, scheming, her Swanilda, insouciant. Her Belle was joyous, and her Carmen, both brooding and full-blooded. But there was one role in particular that prompted dance critic Arnold Haskell to ask, "How do you interpret Giselle when you are Giselle?"

At 8, Alicia Alonso took her first ballet class on a stage in her native Cuba, wearing street clothes. Fifteen years later, put in for an ailing Alicia Markova in a performance of Giselle at with Ballet Theatre, she staked her claim to that title role.

Alonso received recognition throughout the world for her flawless technique and her ability to become one with the characters she danced, even after she became nearly blind. After a career in New York, she and her then husband Fernando Alonso established the Cuban National Ballet and the Cuban National Ballet School, both of which grew into major international dance powerhouses and beloved institutions in their home country. On October 17, the company announced that, after leading the company for a remarkable 71 years, Alonso died from cardiovascular disease at the age of 98.

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Getty Images

You've got the teaching talent, the years of experience, the space and the passion—now all you need are some students!

Here are six ideas for getting the word out about your fabulous, up-and-coming program! We simply can't wait to see all the talent you produce with it!

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo by Todd Rosenberg, courtesy of HSDC

This fall Hubbard Street Dance Chicago initiates an innovative choreographic-study project to pair local Chicago teens with company member Rena Butler, who in 2018 was named the Hubbard Street Choreographic Fellow. The Dance Lab Choreographic Fellowship is the vision of Kathryn Humphreys, director of HSDC's education, youth and community programs. "I am really excited to see young people realize possibilities, and realize what they are capable of," she says. "I think that high school is such an interesting, transformative time. They are right on the edge of figuring themselves out."

Keep reading... Show less
Getty Images

Q: What policies do you put in place to encourage parents of competition dancers to pay their bills in a timely manner?

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Photo courtesy of Kim Black

For some children, the first day of dance is a magic time filled with make-believe, music, smiles and movement. For others, all the excitement can be a bit intimidating, resulting in tears and hesitation. This is perfectly natural, and after 32 years of experience, I've got a pretty good system for getting those timid tiny dancers to open up. It usually takes a few classes before some students are completely comfortable. But before you know it, those hesitant students will begin enjoying the magic of creative movement and dance.

Keep reading... Show less
Site Network
Original photos: Getty Images

We've been dying to hear more about "On Pointe," a docuseries following students at the School of American Ballet, since we first got wind of the project this spring. Now—finally!—we know where this can't-miss show is going to live: It was just announced that Disney+, the new streaming service set to launch November 12, has ordered the series.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox