The first question I get in class that helps me differentiate the serious students of tap from the rest is, “what should I 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 4 tap dance floors & options for any tap dancer who wants to practice at home!
#1 – My Tap Dance Floors
The tap dance boards I designed:
*Absorb tap dancing impact,
*Are durable & lightweight,
I developed them after becoming disillusioned with the tap floor options listed below. Now I can practice or perform anywhere just by sliding this floor behind the driver’s seat & setting off.
Best of all, you can get my tap dance floors without paying extra for shipping. You can even customize the color!
Choose your tap dance floor based on your experience level (beginner through professional)!
The downside? I can only ship to the lower 48 U.S. states.
Visit the Portable Tap Floor Store to learn more about my tap floors and to see videos of them in action.
#2 – The Stagestep Portable Tap Board
This used to be my favorite board, though the material on the surface tends to slow my tap dancing down a bit.
This board is extremely durable, having survived the worst that I and other local hoofers could give it at our monthly tap jam.
My main complaint is its size and weight. It weighs around 37 pounds and is quite awkward to carry. Another problem with is that the foam underneath is easily damaged and, at the time of this writing, there is no way to get a replacement.
If the foam ever comes off of mine completely, it will be completely useless. (Sadly, I tore mine while removing the board from my car before a performance.)
Also, at 4′ x 2′ 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.
#3 – Jubilee Dance Floors
Jubilee offers portable dance mats that are light and efficient.
They come 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.
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 I would like. 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.)
If you want one, visit www.JubileeDanceFloor.com
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. 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 dancing on a sheet of plywood is risky. Doing so does very little to help absorb the shock of dancing on hard surfaces; increasing the possibility of injury.
In addition, the sound quality on a plywood sheet is not good 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 online tap lessons at www.eTapDance.com.