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If you’re an avid dancer and your house has extra space, you could benefit from creating an at-home dance studio. It will be an especially easy project i you already have a home gym or a rec room (recreation room, but I think these are only common in the US). Here are a few practical steps to transform a room, or part of a room, into a functional dance space. Our range of home dance studio ideas covers the basics, technology set ups and useful dance accessories.
Home Dance Studio Basics
These are more or less the essentials for the dance studio in your home. Most dance schools highly invest in this essential equipment because it’s the most important.
1. Clear a space.
There’s no way around it; you need some free space to dance. Otherwise, you’re destined to accidentally kick, trip over or break some standard household object when you’re dancing at home.
Determine where you will have enough room to dance – even if it’s just 8’ by 8’. Sure, you won’t be able to perform large traveling movements; but otherwise, you will be able to move quite freely.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to maintain a permanent studio set up. Otherwise, you may need to prepare your home dance space every time you wish to dance by pushing your furniture to the room’s peripheries, etc.
2. Lay your home dance studio flooring.
Yes, you can dance on any floor, but it’s not easy to spin on carpet – and a concrete floor will be especially hard on your joints. The breakdancers’ solution was to practice on sheets of cardboard, but if you’ve got a budget for your dance studio flooring, wouldn’t you rather have wood floors? You can follow this DIY article from the Swungover blog (about swing dancing), which details how to make a wooden practice dance floor for your home.
You need a little know-how to assemble the aforementioned flooring. However, if you’re willing to forego wood, you can find interlocking tiles to create your dance floor. Models vary, but you just snap them into place, then fix the sloped border pieces around the edges. For instance, Soft Floor sells kits that cover 1 square meter, 1.8 square meters and 3 square meters.
If you want to upgrade to a professional grade studio, you’ll want a sprung floor. This type of floor helps to protect the joints during jumps and other high impact moves. The renowned dance flooring brand, Harlequin Floors, sells home studio kits with Harlequin Liberty sprung floor panels covered with either Harlequin Cascade or Harlequin Reversible vinyl. (Vinyl flooring, sometimes referred to as marley, is less slippery than polished wood and can often be found in ballet studios and covering professional stages.)
Once you finish your home dance floor, you still have a few more home dance studio flooring options. Other alternatives include purchasing a tap dance pad to protect your new dance floor – and purchasing an inflatable tumble track or acropad to safely practice acrobatic dance tricks.
3. Hang a dance mirror on the wall.
As Nelly’s Hot in Here single alludes, you need to dance in front of a mirror to be “checkin’ your reflection”– and it’s even important when you’re not just dancing in the mirror while you’re on the phone. Mirrors offer useful visual cues for dance learners. When you glance in the dance mirror, you may notice that you haven’t completely straightened your leg or that your arm positions are slightly off. This feedback can help you to improve your dance technique.
You can either mount multiple floor-to-ceiling dance studio mirrors on the wall to reflect your every movement – or install a single, large dance mirror panel. Specific dance mirrors aren’t necessary, either; you can get a skinny full-length mirror to to the job. Depending on your home dance studio arrangement, you can even get this over-the-door mirror, which hangs from the top of a door – or opt for a portable standing mirror. And if you want an artsy look, you can create a mirror wall with these sticky reflective mirror-like decals.
4. Raise the barre.
When you’re warming up with your own barre class – or a free online ballet barre video, you can use the back of a chair for support. It’s okay, but not ideal. A longer ballet barre would give you more room to stretch and could be shared with multiple dancers.
To set the barre, affix either a single barre or a double barre to the wall. (Pun intended.) Otherwise, select a transportable barre, which allows dancers to stand on either side of the barre and practice at the same time. You can either pick a barre with adjustable height – or choose a barre with two rungs at different heights.
You’ll enjoy trying these free online ballet barre classes even more when you dance with a real barre.
Tech Set Up for Home Dance Studios
If you want to play music on a quality sound system, follow along with an online dance class or record a video of you nailing a dance challenge (inspired by Covid-19), you’ll need to arrange your dance studio at home appropriately. This tech may not be necessary, but it can definitely enhance your dance space.
5. It may be time for a telly.
A television in a dance studio could be counterproductive, but only if you let it lull you into a movie marathon instead of a dance session. However, if you mount a flatscreen television to the wall in your home dance space, you can stream online dance classes and follow along without craning your neck to watch them on your phone or laptop. You can also cast YouTube dance tutorials to your smart TV, in addition to online dance fitness workouts (like DanceBody).
6. Listen, you want a good sound system.
It’s your space, your music when you’re at home in your dance studio. You don’t need to pop in wireless earbuds, like you would at a communal gym space. Gone is the heyday of boomboxes that blasted cassette tapes and CDs.Unless you’re feeling nostalgic, you can use a small portable speaker to amplify songs from your phone. Apple fans will naturally gravitate towards the iHome, while others may be tempted by JBL’s wireless speaker. If you want to go full out, shop for a surround sound speaker set, which will give you a more intense, immersive experience.
7. Get camera friendly gadgets.
Give your family and friends a break. With certain tools, you no longer need them to film all of your dance videos. You can simply prop your laptop or tablet on a small table to capture your sweet moves. I recently did this for the #danceitoutchallenge; however, I was disappointed with the video quality in the slightly low light.
You may want to record on your phone, instead. To do this, get a mini version of a tripod, called a GorillaPod which can stand on tables and wrap around other objects for optimum height placement. Or purchase a large standing tripod to mount your digital camera. (But do make sure your camera has a tripod mount.) While these devices will keep your recording device static, you’ll want this nifty Pivo device for automatic motion tracking. It’s pretty cool.
Dance Studio Extras
These small accessories aren’t necessary for dancing, but if you have the space, this is a good place to put them.
8. Collect your dance equipment for home here.
A home studio space is a great place for your dance training accessories. Sure, a foot stretcher to enhance your arches may not be your thing – but there are a couple of other dance accessories to improve your technique and physique. Instead of stretching your feet, you can use a pulley-based leg stretcher to perfect your arabesque. To better your turns, you can either try a turn board or a turn disc. They help you become accustomed the sensation of turning multiple revolutions. You don’t need to be in relevé on the turn board, but you will improve your balance in relevé on a small turn disc.
9. Bring in your home gym kit, too.
Your open studio space can function equally well for cross-training. While you might not have room for large pieces of exercise equipment, like cross trainers, treadmills, exercise bikes and rowing machines, you can probably squeeze in a weightlifting bench, small hand weights and a set of kettlebells. Resistance bands, gliders, ab wheels and TRX-type suspension trainers can come in handy, too.
A yoga mat is good for stretching, even if you don’t practice yoga, because it’s soft and keeps your warm body from cooling off too quickly on the floor. You would also enjoy a foam roller, massage stick, and/or massage balls to release the muscles after intense dance sessions.
10. Add your dance decor.
Last, but not least, you can decorate your studio with inspirational dance posters or your own gorgeous dance photos. You can proudly display your trophies and hang your old pointe shoes or ghillies. (What else are you going to do with old, worn out dance shoes?) You won’t want to overcrowd your special dance space, but it’s nice to add a few personal touches. For a bit of flash, you can even add some fun disco dance lighting.
Where are you going to place your dance studio? And what are you most excited to add to your dance studio at home? We look forward to hearing about your home dance project in the comments below!