Too Cold to Dance?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by UKDancer, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    The editorial of my teaching society's bi-monthly magazine was concerned, recently, with Health & Safety on the dance floor, and among the issues mentioned were that the floor should not be slippery and that the area should be sufficiently warm.

    I was teaching in a studio at the weekend, it's an old building with an inadequate heating system, and it had been a cold night (early Winter here in UK). It was 0c outside, but only 11c inside. That was too cold for comfort. What do others think is the minimum temperature that is acceptable?

    Another recent discussion mentioned wax on the dancefloor, and I also wonder what others think about it's use. Parafin wax can easily sit on the surface of a wooden floor, and while a flat foot will find the floor has lovely feel, and is very stable, the edge of a heel can create a pressure point where the foot can all too easily shoot out from under the dancer, resulting in a nasty fall, or strain. When that happens, it is usually attributable to poor placement of the foot in relation the body's weight, but inexperienced dancers do not have enough control or understanding of the dynamics of the body in motion to place their feet perfectly every time. Does the hazard outweigh the benefit? And if the instructor recognises that is is a hazard, does he have a duty of care to change the floor preparation regime, or, if that is not under his control, to change studio?

    The issue of temperature is directly related, because at higher ambient temperatures, wax softens and soaks into a wooden floor differently from the way it behaves on a cold one.
  2. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I think the danger of muscle injury are increased at low temperatures, and if the type of dance isnt high energy; getting warm enough isn't going to happen. I have experienced one workshop where my body was trying to keep warm and I couldnt get my muscles to work in a way that was conducive to dancing. I've also experienced heating failures at a couple of halls where I teach, and it makes for a pretty miserable environment.

    The AJ Metric handbook has recommended temperatures for different building types and activities; Gymnasia: 16 deg C; Classrooms and studios: 18 deg C. Factories; Light work 16,sedentary work 19, heavy work 13. (as a control temp Offices are 20 deg)
  3. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Agreed. And as you say, it's miserable too. My own threshold of comfort is about 15c, but I wouldn't argue with 16c. When your students don't want to take off their coats (or just stop coming) you know it isn't right! The practical problem with this particular studio is that the only heating is electrical storage heaters, which have been giving up their heat all day, and by the evening, are no longer producing enough heat, and as students come and go, most of the warm(ish) air goes out of the door as they arrive and depart.
  4. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Just put on a sweater and hup to... :)

    Was quite chilly where i went dancing last week and i kept a long sweater coat on all evening, worked like a charm. And certainly after half an hour of exertion one becomes comfortably warm...
  5. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    My concern is the risk of injury during that 30 minutes (and of everyone's general comfort). My sessions in this studio can be anything up to 6 hours long, and that is a long time to try and keep warm. Being stoical, while practial, doesn't necessarily represent best practise...
  6. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    I understand. Still, a 60F degree ambient temperature doesn't strike me as dangerous or cause for concern or injury. Not in the least...
  7. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    60F is OK, but the 11C I mentioned is >52F - that's not warm.
  8. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Frequently at ballroom competitions the ballroom feels thusly refrigerated...and people go running outdoors in below freezing temps without injury. I think the greater discomfort and danger with an 11C dance hall is with those who are *not* moving about...hardly comfortable for them!

    I should think the ideal temp to be in the low 60s, to keep everyone moving. Though I know halls are kept a good deal warmer, alas.
  9. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    ....I figure-skate. I would start with a warmup jacket, but usually after 15 minutes or so it would be off and on the boards because it was too warm. (Usually I'd have a dance dress and tights or a leotard and running pants.) Now, that IS more intense aerobic exercise than dancing, and I probably never spent more than three hours at a time on the ice. But still, the air temp was a lot colder than the average studio.

    And as samina points out, competitions often keep the ballroom really cold. It does NOT feel that cold when you're on the floor.
    samina likes this.
  10. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    ... and what's your idea of 'really cold' or an ideal temperature? I'm happy with c15C or c60F, but in the Summer I probably wouldn't bother to run cooling equipment unless the temp was over c20C or c68F. Of course, the context is a studio, not a social dance or a competition, where different considerations apply.
  11. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I don't know what the temperature is, but given how I was shivering at Manhattan when I was NOT dancing, probably high 50s/low 60s. But for people dancing, it was fine. For skating, where I'm spending more hours than I would in a dance studio, more like 40s air temp. *Provided I am warmed up*, it isn't a problem. If you're moving and pay proper attention to warming up and cooling down, I would find it easier to have a room too warm to exercise in than too cold. Movement will warm me up. Movement in heat will, unless handled carefully, just make me sick.
    samina likes this.
  12. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    That may count for privates. When dancing socially (crowded venues) the air moisture always is crucial for the properties of a wooden floor.
  13. raindance

    raindance Active Member

    I think it depends on the crowd and what people are doing, too. At 50-55F it may very well be hard for a social dancer (I'm picturing group classes, with a range of ages of adult age dancers) to even really get warmed up by the end of their class. And in groups (and even private lessons) the participants don't always get to decide how hard to dance or how much time they spend listening to instruction vs moving. (So the ones that get chilled more easily can't just decide to work harder to warm themselves up.) In the 60+F range I think it is much easier for a dancer to get warmed up, and stay warmed up if they have a chance to dance enough to do so. A fit dancer that has a body that warms up easily, and wants to push rounds, or maybe work on jive or quickstep is more equivalent to danceroinice's figure skating example (working more intensely), and they could probably handle lower temps more easily.

    Personally I prefer a warmer room (65-75?) where the room temperature makes it easy to get and stay warmed up. The muscles seem to work better that way, as opposed to a lower temp room where you need to work at warming up enough to move comfortably, and you start to cool down immediately if you need to take a break, or stop to talk through new choreography (or chat in a social dance situation). But I can make do in a cooler room if needed, to a point.
  14. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    Can't say I've ever experience being "too cold to dance". If I'm appropriately dressed and my hands are cold, my nose is running and I can't stop shivering, I'd say that's "tool cold". I guess it would happen in the middle of winter if no one turned the heat on...but seriously, those ballrooms can be FREEZING. And DoI makes a good point about ice rinks.

    Is this really an issue in the UK? Sounds like dancers there may need to wear scarves, hand-warmers and a sweater to dance. Even so, I can't see it being an impediment...unless it's so cold nose hairs start to freeze together. That would definitely be too cold for me... :)
    danceronice likes this.
  15. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Heh. I'm pretty much always cold...I usually get partners remarking on how cold my hands are, and I've had leaders comment (some to complain, some who liked it) on my cold nose touching their face in close embrace. Sorry, dude...not much I can do about my nose.

    ETA: I also tend to heat up very quickly--except for hands, feet, and nose--so I can go from cold, to comfortable, then hot, and then back to freezing if I sit out a dance or two. Most annoying. And, yes, I also find it difficult to move the way i want to when i'm cold.
  16. DrDoug

    DrDoug Active Member

    I bet one of the many DFers whose talents with a needle surpass mine would be happy to knit you a pair of mittens and matching nose warmer in exchange for some home-made canned something.
  17. juwest333

    juwest333 Active Member

    Our dance venue has no heating or a/c in the ballroom. But the social dances normally have 100+ people in attendance and it's a lot of fast-paced swing dancing so all that body heat makes keeps the place warm. It is great during the winter, but absolute HELL during the summer! (like trying to dance in a sauna). Temperatures nowadays are around 4-5C (39-40F) and everyone seems to get along just fine.

    On the other hand, I wouldn't recommend those tempatures for slow dances. Went to a social blues dance one night during this past fall which was held outside under a pavilion. While dancing with my partner, I thought she was having fun when she started doing the shimmy, so I copied her and did the same thing...until I realized she was actually shivering. I felt horrible...
  18. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I hope this doesn't sound bad but sometimes the weather can be too awesome to dance too. :) You want to go outside and be in the sunlight.
  19. frotes

    frotes Member

    I am the same (minus the nose.. maybe.. honestly I never tested that). It seems like my hands/feet are always 1-2 degrees of separation from the rest of my body (so like normal and hands/feet freezing, or sweating and hands warm).

    But I also heat up really fast and can go from dry to sweating on my lower back in a matter of like 30 seconds. I found what works for me is to try and get my blood running and to do that, I by going full out doing certain drills/stretches for a short period of time. (after doing warmups/stretches)
  20. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Whilst we not be the Oymyakon of Europe, it can be cold enough to be hazardous not to say unpleasant dancing feeling cold in the UK..;)

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