Sunday, October 11, 2015

Building a dance floor with recycled materials

Whoo Hooo!!!! Delirious is the first dance company to be in residence at Materials For The Arts!!!!!!

I'm a huge fan of MFTA as they help keep stuff out of landfills by accepting donations from companies, museums, stores and individuals, and then recycling the donations to non profit organizations, teachers and artists for creative projects. They also offer workshops and classes to help people see and experience creative reuse up close.

The MFTA artist studio is a room with a cement floor covered in carpet.


Cement floors are the worst thing if leaping, hoping, jumping, chugging or skipping, as a hard, un-resilient floor results in shin splints, tendonitis and arthritis. Carpet also sucks to dance on, as it can cause painful floor burns.  
So we built a dance floor.

Sarah Schetter (Technical Director/Carpenter) figured out how to creatively re-use shipping palettes and re-purposed wood to build a "sprung" dance floor.

Sarah Schetter designing the dance floor.

Selecting wood from the MFTA Warehouse



Framing out the floor


I initially wanted to layer strips of car tire over the palettes to give an extra cushion and spring, however was having difficulty getting tire rubber. MFTA had boxes upon boxes of rubber cellphone cases (for an obsolete cellphone size), that we considered using, however decided it was going to be too labor intensive to unwrap, and staple hundreds of cellphone cases to the palettes. Then Sarah had the brilliant suggestion to use carpet - MFTA had rolls upon rolls of plush commercial synthetic carpet that would give a needed 'spring'

I learned the hard way that if I plan on using a product in the MFTA Warehouse, claim it immediately. When the residency started there were several 4x8 sheets of 3/4 inch plywood in the warehouse, however when I was ready to use them for the dance floor, they were gone. As a result we purchased six sheets of plywood to surface the floor. 

The initial plan was to paint the floor white, however we lucked out as BRIC was getting rid of old grey marley that was used for the Celebrate Brooklyn Stage. The marley was marked up and moldy in areas (I didn't know that marley could get moldy), however after a lot of scrubbing and cleansing, it looked like new!

What excites me is realizing that a dance floor does not have to be an expensive endeavor and that it is possible to build an affordable dance floor anywhere!!!!

Entrance to the dance/artists studio

Many Thanks to Harriet Taub, Michael Kaiser, Omar Olivera, Kwame Belle, Nakeshia Betsill, Miguel Vasquez, and the entire staff and volunteers at MFTA who made the residency a wonderful, productive and supportive experience, as well as to Andrea Haenggi for the initial inspiration of using palettes to create a dance floor.

Resident T-Rex

1 comment:

Andrew Carter said...

Nice blog and the details about it really interesting.
I liked your blog.

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