Dancers at Marlborough don’t ask for much. We don’t build crazy sets to extend our tiny stage. We don’t ask for fancy software to make music, and we don’t fill Caswell Hall with props that make it hard for students to find seats in All-School Meetings. We are a pretty non-demanding group as a whole. Some of us find it a little absurd, though, that the School will pay money to polish our dance floors, making them harder, more slippery and difficult to dance on.
Twice, in the middle of the first semester, as well as on the first day of the second, we walked into Lower Dance only to find a freshly polished floor, as hard and smooth as rock. Sure, the polished floor looks pretty, but it hurts, and it is extremely slippery.
A floor that is too hard or doesn’t have enough spring isn’t good for your ankles or knees, and dancers already have a high rate of injury. If a floor is as hard as cement, it hurts when you hit the ground in a fall or a roll. Almost every piece in the upcoming Evening of Dance involves a backward roll of some kind. When doing these rolls, our shoulders make contact with the ground, and, if the floor is too hard, they bruise. Because of the two polishings the Lower Dance studio received first semester, most members of Dance Dimensions have far more bruises on their shoulders, knees and spine than they would have otherwise.
A slick floor is just as difficult to dance on. Turns and leaps require a dancer to control herself, and control how she interacts with the floor. A slick floor is hard to gain control over and requires a much more generous use of rosin, a sticky powder rubbed onto the bottom of shoes to combat slipperiness.
Whenever we students have suggested a new floor or asked why we can’t have a floor made of marley (a taped-down soft floor used for its lack of slipperiness), the administration’s primary concern has been price. But the School has already shown it is willing to pay money to make the dance floors look better. We would be happy to accept a compromise if the School can find a way to make the floors look shinier without affecting the quality.
We don’t demand they put in a new floor, but couldn’t the School redirect the money spent on polishing the floor towards investing in marley? Marley is already used on the stage for performances. We understand that Marlborough wants the School to look good, but when it is at the expense of our physical well-being, we dancers must draw the line.