Practicing on Slick Floors: Good or Bad?

I've practiced on a few floors more slippery than I'd have liked them, and every time I'm told, "You should be able to do the same thing on slippery floors - what if the floor at the competition is this slippery?"

I think I agree with that, and if I'm on a slippery floor, I can definitely tell when I step properly in Cha cha for example and get all the way over my foot, because I don't slip. But can anyone think of a drawback of practicing on a slippery floor? I mean, if it's all positives, I'll go practice on ice.


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Ok, I don't compete, but I personally believe that extra-slippery floors can make one more prone to knee injuries from a lateral slip. I defer to the superior knowledge of the group however.


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I actually prefer slick floors to sticky precisely because a foot sticking on a turn destroyed my knee when I was fourteen (it was theatrical dance, not ballroom, but the knee dislocating was the important part.) Body/upper leg turned, foot/lower leg didn't. 'Nuff said.
I think it behooves ANY competitor to dance on both sticky and slick floors, and to adapt to them. If you've only danced on one floor type, you will be all out of sorts on the other extreme.

That doesn't mean you won't have your preference, and floors you do better on, but blaming the floor is generally bad form.


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I have never found a floor that I thought was too slippery, for any style....not sure what that says about my dancing...I have found that frequently, at humid locations, a comp floor may be too sticky for me, particularly for standard and which case, I put a small bit of baby powder on my shoes, solely for the purpose of saving my knees from a tear


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One of the floors I practice latin on is quite slick, and I actually like it that way. I practice on a number of floors, and the others are somewhat nicely in the middle of slick and sticky, so I get good practice on adjusting to floors on the fly.

But if I did not practice on such a slick floor, I'm sure I would notice it when I dance on one at a comp. But as it is now, the floor never bothers me (unless it's really, really sticky or has large gaps in it!).


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I can adjust pretty well to any floor, but the worst is when a floor isn't uniform. So fast in most places but with random sticky spots... that is just awful.


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I think it's easier to practice on a fast floor, and then adapt to a slower one, than the other way around. If you have any balance issues, dancing on a fast floor will sure point them up. :eek: And anyway, dancing on a slow floor just isn't as much fun!

Some years ago, we went to a comp where the venue had, bless their little institutional heart, tried to "help" by applying gobs of floor wax to the floor the night before the comp began. The first day of the comp was like dancing in mud. After every heat, you had to take a credit card and scrape the stuff off of your soles.


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I can adjust pretty well to any floor, but the worst is when a floor isn't uniform. So fast in most places but with random sticky spots... that is just awful.
That or a floor with panels not properly secured. Very dangerous in both cases.

Much better to have a slick floor than a sticky floor, IMHO. At least on the former you learn to regulate your core and weight transfer that much more carefully so as not to slip. On the latter, you can't even move.


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The whole reason for the fuzz on the bottom of dance shoes is to slow you down on slick floors, as compared to leather soles, as people used to wear. Unfortunately, I'm lazy about brushing my shoes. :-(

I find it depends on the dance for me. I like the floor a bit slower for latin and tango. It just feels all wrong if my foot slides in tango. I have been told that one can adapt to the speed of the floor through how much surface area of your foot is on the floor when it's moving. Slick floor, have more of the foot touching the floor, sticky floor, use the edges of the feet.


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Well, my mom was watching me for the last time on the floor about two decades ago, on the last competition ... However, having in mind light-speed movements of today's latin competitors (WDSF at least), I'm not surprised that they have problems with grip of their shoes. Well, I don't need that, I'm perfectly fine with ordinary dance shoes on the normal floor, but there are two places in my town where floor is slippery (one for ballroom, other for salsa), so I finally asked the guy where I bought the last pair of dancing shoes to put the rubber on the soles. It's not very sticky type of rubber like on ordinary shoes, and is just ok for those floors

Larinda McRaven

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There is an important saying...

"two is one. one is none."

I learned to show up at competitions with multiple shoes. That way if the floor is ridiculously fast I can change into the shoes that I know provide the most grip, newer with a cleaner nap. If the floor is ridiculously fast I have a pair of shoes for that, older with less nap, and probably flat and shiny on the bottom like good old leather.

For teaching I always have a bag of shoes to dig though to find the ones that feel right for the day.
What do you guys think about the stuff that you sprinkle on your shoes to change the grippiness if the floor at a competition is too slick or sticky? Are they damaging to the shoes? If not, they seem like the perfect solution.

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