Tango Argentino > Help - sticky floors!

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Consuela, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. Consuela

    Consuela Member

    I feel kinda stupid having danced several years now, to still find this a problem. Where I live, tango dancers often have to dance in places usually given over to drinking, and some of the floors are shockers - filthy, and sticky with spilled drinks. I have arthritis in both knees, but on a clean smooth floor I can pivot with no problem. It's when my feet stick to the floor that my knees get wrenched, leading to alot of damage and time off tango. I used to get the permission of the organiser and then sprinkle a little talc in a corner so I could dust my soles and that would generally solve the problem. Fellow tangueros/as always seemed so appreciative of my little talcum powder patch and would use it too.

    However, I was taken aside at the last milonga I attended and told that I wasn't allowed to do this, as it ruins the floor. I was obliged to dance on the very sticky floor and, even though I told my partner that the floor was very sticky and to please go easy on the pivoting to save my poor knees, within the first dance I was injured and had to stop.

    My questions are: does talc really ruin dance floors? And can anyone suggest other ways of coping with really sticky yucky floors? As a follower I find it well nigh impossible to control the amount of pivoting I do. I am just gutted at the prospect of turning up to milongas only to turn around and go home again because the floor is too sticky for me to safely dance on.
  2. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    The talc people say:

    The five main characteristics of talc that make it a unique material for industrial and domestic applications are:

    * Lamellarity (made of platelets that easily slide on each other)
    * Softness (unctuous and not abrasive)
    * Chemical inertness
    * Affinity for organic chemicals
    * Whiteness

    The main technical functions talc is used for are anti-sticking, anti-caking, lubricant, carrier, thickener, strengthening filler, smooth filler, and absorbent.

    Not sure how that would ruin hardwood or a hardwood finish, however Grainger sells a "talc abrasive".
  3. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    pretty sure the spilled beer is far worse on the floors
  4. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    I doubt the talc ruins the floor. But mixed with the spilled drinks, it might make a paste that would require them to actually clean the floor. Can't have that!
  5. Ampster

    Ampster Active Member

    No, talc doesn't ruin floors. The exception being is when it gets wet, then, it become a semi-dry paste that cakes up. In Seattle, it's always raining, so sometimes the floors get sticky from the humidity. We don't use talc. Rather, we use corn starch. It's also easier to clean up as it vacuums up very easily.

    If you are going to dance in places like this, please make sure that you are wearing tango shoes with hard leather sole shoes. The slipperiness of it helps offset the stickiness of the floor.
  6. Consuela

    Consuela Member

    The floor has well and truly dried up before the dancers get on it, it's just a sticky gritty surface. When dancers go by you can hear the 'ssscchlepp ssscchlepp' sound each time they pick their feet up... :eyebrow:
  7. ant

    ant Member

    As talc makes it easier to slide on the floor, it therefore makes it more dangerous, making the organisers more liable when there is a fall. Many organisers in the UK now expressly forbid the use of talc for this reason.

    In addition many venue managers don't like talc on the floor, if it is a multi use venue, as the floor will need to be swept immediately, in order to get rid of the talc.
  8. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Oh well, at least you don't have to contend with floors coated in paraffin wax. With smooth soled shoes, they're just plain dangerous. Worse still, if you do wear suede soled shoes on them, and get them covered in the stuff, and then go to a normal polished floor, you've taken your own skating rink with you to ruin another dance.
  9. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    stick package tape under the soles of your shoes, and you can pivot for a while.
  10. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    wear a cut-off sock over the toe of your shoe; but check for material; some will bind others slide.
  11. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Firstly, you're absolutely not stupid to find it a problem - I'm very particular about floor surfaces myself.

    That is, of course, rubbish. Presumably what he/she meant was either:

    • "We don't want to clean up afterwards"
    • "We're worried about liability from people falling over"
    I would respond by saying that:

    • You were injured last time because of the floor quality
    • You'd like your money back
    • If the floor quality fails to improve, you'll take your custom elsewhere
    • You'll also tell other dancers that the floor is dangerous and may cause injuries
    • If you suffer medical problems through the organiser not providing a safe environment for dancing, you'll consider legal action (health and safety)
    That should give them something to consider... :D

    Yes. Don't dance on them. Seriously.

    I'd rather dance on concrete than on a sticky floor. And yes, it's far worse for followers.
  12. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

    I resorted to this once when I'd forgotten my dance shoes. It kind-of worked as an emergency measure.
    I'm assuming Consuela is a follower - the sock look might not complement CiFs to best effect?
  13. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

    Phew, fighting talk, Mr Bailey. It would be an idea to work out who best to complain to. In the first instance, this might be the organisers of the dance event. However, they are probably bound by the rules of the venue administrators - but if the dance organisers have enough clout this is a battle they could win. It would need lots of punters to complain, not just one, though.

    "Please Sir, can I have my money back?" Ho, ho, I can just picture it now.......

    A bad floor effectively ruins any pleasure I might get out of dancing that evening so I guess it is a battle worth fighting.
  14. bastet

    bastet Active Member

    I think people have given you some interesting options to try out.

    I don't think talc ruins the floor, but if the floor is of porous material (used to dance weekly on a floor like that) then the talc (or starch) gets in it (and of course, means they have to clean).

    Instead of packing tape, try duct tape. It'll last longer. Just don't expect the bottom of that pair of shoes to be very nice once you take it off, so use it on crappy shoes.

    Some brands have better wearing leather than others. Darcos uses a tougher leather than brands like CiF and Greta Flora seem to. It takes a lot for me to scuff up a pair of Darcos with junk, and also Jorge Nel (Forever Tango shoes) have tough leather. That still doesn't help your knees much, IMO though.

    One thing my partner and I do when on really crappy floors (because the excessive pivoting wrecks my knees too) is drop the parts of his dance repertoire that use lots of pivot and I choose my other partners for the evening with great care. Then my knees don't end up with a problem. However, this assumes you have a partner with enough knowledge to make adjustments to his leading based on floor quality or density of occupation. WHat we dance in this case is what tends to be called "Old Fart Tango" by some. We give up complicated movement (like, say, single axis turns) in favor of small, rhythmic interpretations and keep the vocabulary at simple half giros left or right that stay "square" to each other rather than pivoting, cute walk arounds, in place movements and nix pivots in ochos to make them straight line or do lots of little back volcadas.

    You could also try just putting the powder directly on your hands and rubbing it on your shoes discretely, so they can't say you sprinkled it on their floor. And I heartily agree with informing the organizers that their floor is injuring you. I was once injured for several weeks after dancing on a truly filthy wood floor. Never went back there again.

    Good luck!
  15. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I would choose not to have a knee injury that worry about what someone thought of me wearing socks over my CiFs.. just say its the latest trend from Practica X and its ultra-cool*

    Mr Bailey is right; complain; to the organiser first; his/her sympathy and preparedness to do something, with support from fellow dancers is more important.

    Too slippy or too sticky are equally bad, but its easier to make a remedial measure to a sticky floor than a slippery one.

    and another threat is say you will make it clear in a public arena that this is a venue to be avoided....

    *The test of the Monks of Cool is to be shown a room full of clothes and decide what is cool for them to wear; the answer is whatever I choose because I am cool..
  16. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member


    Yes. They have a duty to provide a safe environment - and that includes a safe floor, not one which causes injuries (either by being too sticky or too slippery).

    I'm fairly sure most venues won't have a "we must have a sticky yucky floor" clause. So if the floor is bad through lack of cleaning, one obvious answer is to clean it.

    I know it sounds like overkill, but at least one local Modern Jive organisation does precisely this - literally spending hours on occasion to clean the floor and get it to a dance-able state.

    Which is why there's no point in simply "not coming back" - you need to tell the organisers why.

    Why not?

    I know several people who've asked for this, and received it.
  17. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Neither will a knee brace and crutches.
  18. Madahlia

    Madahlia Member

    Yes, yes, point taken, all very sensible, but ladies don't get all done up for a night's dancing in order to coat it all with a woolly layer so it's a temporary solution at best.
  19. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    OK, that made me laugh (and I needed it). Good one.

  20. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I am siding with the venues on this - i helped clean up a venue where people used powder, and it is basically impossible to get out of close by carpets and even though beer might be worse for the floor it is not as blatantly visible, and as impossible to get out of the tiniest gaps.

    To be honest i sometimes like dancing on concrete and other sticky floors - but then i dance mostly "coffee shop" tango, and prefer turns and ochos to be crossed and not pivoted. A leader should have an idea what kind of vocabulary and technique works on different floors - though in general i think that leaders might be better at adjusting to slippery floors (maybe this is because off axis moves have much more spectacular failure modes on slippery floors than pivots have on sticky floor)


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