Dance lessons and performances may happen in a variety of locations, both inside and out, and there are many Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) requirements that need to be fulfilled, both for the sake of personal safety and for insurance purposes.
Studios should be bright and well-lit by both natural and artificial light. Recommended temperatures should be maintained at approximately 21°C with a minimum of 20°C and maximum 36°C. Between six to ten changes of air per hour are needed when spaces are used intensively.
The recommended a minimum space of 6 square metres per student with an ideal of 9 square metres 1 . This will vary depending on the type of dance. For example, about 4 square metres would be adequate for salsa. The space should be free from clutter, power cords etc., have sufficient height clearance from overhead fans or beams and be big enough to allow for free and safe movement.
Mirrors should be safety-backed and raised 15 cm from the floor—if they are mounted on walls, they should be installed flush with the walls (portable mirrors should be about 180 cm x 240 cm, and on castors); corner mirrors let you analyse movement from two directions.
Free standing barres should be firmly secured and barres mounted on walls should be between 15 cm – 20 cm out from the wall. Recommended thickness is about 4–5 cm—it should feel comfortable to hold. Generally, ready made barres will range from a height of between 82 cm and 110 cm 2 .
The common requirements for all dance styles are
- The stage area must be large enough for the type of movement and the number of performers.
- The stage should be flat and even with a resilient (at least) or sprung (preferable) floor covered with a good quality dance vinyl (Tarkett).
- There should be wing space on both sides, running the full depth of the stage, for entrances and exits performed at speed.
- The stage and back stage areas should be a comfortable temperature and without draughts.
- Electrical equipment including mixers, dimmers, amplifiers etc., must have current electrical test certification and be operated by trained technicians.
Wings and spaces around the performing area
Wing spaces need to be large enough for high-speed entrances and exits. The space should be large enough for the performance—will dancers be moving at high speed or on another dancer’s shoulders? How many dancers will be waiting to enter at one time? Is there enough space for props, scenery and side lighting? Is space needed for a costume change? or a crossover behind the backcloth or for backlighting the cyclorama.