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Rosie Kay Dance Company soldier on to critical acclaim with Harlequin Allegro Dance Floor

The critically acclaimed 5 SOLDIERS toured with rolls of Harlequin Allegro to provide a suitable dance floor in venues as varied as drill halls to professional theatres.

It was a tough assignment, as Allegro is the thickest roll-up floor on the market and perfect for providing a cushioned floor when laid on to the hardest of surfaces. Mainly concrete as James Allenby, company producer for Rosie Kay Dance Company explained. “Touring with Harlequin Allegro was tiring! The only downside to all that cushioning is that the rolls of floor are heavy. This was particularly hard in London where our venue was up two flights of stairs without a lift. On the plus side, we looked ripped by the end of the tour!”

Created in 2010, 5 SOLDIERS is described as 'a timely, controversial, thought provoking and moving exploration of war in modern times. A dance theatre work with four male and one female dancers, it looks at how the human body is essential to, and used in, warfare.' 5 SOLDIERS explores the physical training that prepares you for war, as well as the possible effects on the body, and the injury caused by warfare. Featuring Kay's trademark intense physicality and athleticism, 5 SOLDIERS weaves a story of physical transformation, helping us understand how soldiers are made and how war affects them. James continued: “The show originally toured theatres in 2010 and then a successful site specific gig acted as the catalyst for this new tour around military camps, barracks and training facilities. As well as the show we also have a post-show discussion with a local military commander and an extensive community engagement programme with performers joining us on one of the shows. Each week on tour was completely different as we built the theatre and seating rake from scratch in each military location. The one constant was the reaction from the audiences that made the tour extremely special and the company feel appreciated.”

Harlequin Allegro was developed to protect against hard sub-floors as it can help to reduce performer fatigue and impact injuries. James went on to say why they chose Harlequin Allegro. “We needed something that would work on a tour to venues with varying states of floor and different materials. We created venues in sports halls, drill halls, social spaces, etc. Most of the spaces were some kind of concrete floor with varying materials on top. The show is incredibly physical with lots of floor work and so we needed to keep the dancers safe and their knees and ankles undamaged. The Harlequin Allegro gave us that extra level of cushioning without us needing to tour a full sprung floor. It also helped to make the theatre spaces we built look professional.”

Talking about his experience of dealing with Harlequin, James Allenby said: “Harlequin were really helpful and understanding at every stage from sending samples to pulling out all the stops during production week when an unplanned circumstance meant we needed to exchange a roll of floor at very short notice. We would definitely recommend Harlequin Floors to other dancers and those dance companies who are going on tour.

“Dancers will always let you know if there is something wrong with the working environment but not usually the other way around. The dancers didn't react to the floor at all, which, in my experience is a very good sign and means that all is well!” James explained when asked: “How can you tell whether a floor is good or bad for dance? It has to be a quality surface that gives the right amount of cushioning and resistance as well as looking good. We knew that because we were touring to unusual spaces we needed to have a floor that would bring consistency for the dancers so that they could perform at their best. The quality of the floor significantly affects the dancers health and performance. A poor quality floor can result in injury and a less than perfect performance.”

7th October 2015

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