The first question I get in class that helps me differentiate the serious students of tap from the rest is, “what can use to practice at home?”
This question lets me know that the student understands the importance of practice and is looking for a way to make it happen away from tap class!
So for all of you serious students of tap out there, here are my recommendations.
Here are 4 Portable Tap Floor options for any tap dancer who wants to practice at home!
This board, which I helped design:
*Absorbs tap dancing impact
*Is durable & lightweight,
*and even has a wooden surface.
I developed it after becoming disillusioned with all of the portable floor options listed below. Now I can practice or perform anywhere in my house or elsewhere just by sliding this floor behind the driver’s seat or into the trunk.
Best of all, you can get this board for under $100 before shipping. You can even order custom sizes & colors!
The biggest downside about this board is that, currently, it can only be shipped to the 48 contiguous states in the USA. International shipping is not yet available! Email me if you’re interested in International Shipping or becoming an International Reseller. (Taps [at] TapDanceMan [dot] com)
Visit the Portable Tap Dance Floor site to learn more about this floor and to see pictures of it in action.
#2 – The Stagestep Portable Tap Board
This is my favorite board when it comes to sound, though the material on the top does tend to slow my tap dancing down a bit.
This board is extremely durable as well, having survived the worst that I and other local hoofers could give it at our monthly tap jam. In fact, I have owned this board for several years. My main complaint is its size and weight. This board weighs around 37 pounds and is quite awkward to carry. Another problem with this board is that the foam under it is easily damaged and there is no way to get a replacement. If the foam ever comes off of mine completely, it will be completely useless. (I tore mine while removing the board from my car before a performance.)
Also, at 4′ x 3′ it’s a bit narrower than the other alternatives I mentioned but its definitely great for any scenario where you want your dancing to be very loud! The open space under the board seems to act as a natural amplifier.
If you want one visit www.StageStep.com. I linked directly to the product page as the site navigation is not great.
#3 – Jubilee Dance Floors
Visit www.JubileeDanceFloor.com to get your hands on another great portable flooring option. Jubilee offers a portable dance floor/mat that is designed to be light and efficient.
It comes in panels that are 2 feet x 2 feet each, and connect to one another using industrial strength velcro. This means that your practice floor could be as large as you need it to be. The panels fit together securely and seamlessly.
The Jubilee Dance Floors costs about $36 per square at the time of this writing.
Of course there are some downsides to dancing on the Jubilee Dance Floors. They are not made of wood so dancing on them is different than dancing on a hardwood surface and they are not nearly as loud as the other options. I was immediately comfortable using them, but they probably would not appeal to hardcore wood floor enthusiasts.
In addition, they are rather thin. While this makes them very easy to transport, it also limits their ability to absorb the impact of tap dancing.
And when the velcro wears down, replacing it is a very time consuming process. (It takes me about 30 to 45 minutes to replace all four sides on each board.)
Note: These boards were designed for practice, but I use them for performances as well which leads to additional wear and tear. This may be much less of a problem for you!
#4 – Old Faithful = A Sheet of Plywood
The cheapest way to create a surface for tap dancing is to get your hands on a piece of plywood and have it cut into a square 4 feet by 4 feet. In general, thicker boards are better than thinner boards as they tend to >warp< less.
Unfortunately, the thickness makes the board heavier and more unwieldy so you'll need to strike a balance between that and mobility.
You'll also want to sand the board down so that it's smoother and less likely to give you a splinter as you move it around.
While price and convenience are the pros of using plywood, there are significant cons as well.
First among them is the fact that plywood does very little to help absorb the shock of dancing on hard surfaces. This increases the possibility of injury.
In addition, the sound quality on a plywood sheet is not great and they can be difficult to transport for use in performances due to their size.
I hope this article helps you to find a solution to the challenge of finding a great portable tap floor!
Once you choose a surface and shoes, you'll have everything you need to take full advantage of the instructional tap videos at www.eTapDance.com.