For dancers, a floor can make or break a performance – or a leg.
Some dancers who have practiced at the Power Center are reporting spiral fractures in their legs. Many have attributed this to the masonite, a type of hardboard wood, which covers the stage.
To correct the problem, the School of Music, Theatre and Dance has agreed to install a portable floor with extra cushioning before its annual performance in February. Administrators say the floor, taken from the Duderstadt Center’s video studio, will serve as a temporary solution until a safer floor can be built.
The portable floor is sprung, meaning that it provides resilience and absorbs shock to performers.
Abby Zeitvogel, a sophomore in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, said students will be pleased with the short-term solution.
“It’s going to cause a lot more relaxation during (rehearsal) because we won’t be as afraid to get injured,” she said.
The current floor, installed in 1971, is basically “cardboard on top of concrete,” said Roche Janken, a senior in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance.
“At the time it was top of the line, but now we know more about floors,” Dance senior.
University Productions Director Jeffrey Kuras said that although the floor’s foundation is cement, it has several layers of other materials and is topped with masonite.
Dancers’ previous injuries range in severity from aches and pains to permanent back problems.
“I started feeling pain in my ankles and pain in my knees,” Zietvogel said. “It started going into my back and my back started spasming.”
Zietvogel said that her sister had to schedule an emergency chiropractor appointment after she also developed back spasms from dancing on the floor.
Administrators said they are working on a long-term solution, but that it will take time.
“Because it’s a multi-use space, we have to really think about the various alternatives,” Kuras said. “Our biggest challenge is finding an appropriate solution in accommodating everyone.”
Christopher Kendall, dean of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, said he has not heard of a company refusing to perform because of the stage’s condition during his year and a half as dean.
But Zeitvogel said a new floor will make the center more attractive to professional dance companies.
“They won’t have to bring their own stage,” Zeitvogel said.