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Harlequin Floors and One Dance UK – the story so far

UK – Harlequin Floors, has become Principal Sponsor of ‘One Dance UK’, the recently launched industry body for the dance sector offering a 'one stop shop' for support services for the dance sector.

The organisation has been created to provide a single more powerful voice for dance, a central knowledge hub, professional development opportunities and performance platforms to nurture talent, and strategic initiatives that will benefit the entire dance sector.

Harlequin has a long history of involvement with the dance community and many of the various dance organisations, including Dance UK, National Dance Teachers Association and Youth Dance England, that along with ADAD are now joined as One Dance UK.

If there was an occasion when the relationship between Dance UK and Harlequin Floors was really cemented, then late 2010 when Harlequin Floors made an important donation to the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science was a defining moment. That additional funding helped a particularly cherished vision of Dance UK for providing all dancers access to high quality, comprehensive, dance specific healthcare and dance science support services, to finally get started. Of course the circumstances that led to that moment don’t just happen, unless a lot of effort to create a mutually beneficial relationship between Dance UK and Harlequin Floors had not already laid the groundwork. An important factor in the success of this relationship is a shared interest in providing the best circumstances in which dancers can develop their artistic and technical skills and do so safely. And should injuries occur, as is inevitable in any form of physical activity, to have the skills of specialist practitioners in dance medicine and facilities readily available to help a successful recovery.

Harlequin Floors also enjoys a close relationship with the National Dance Teachers Association and were sole sponsors of the last NDTA Conference which took place at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance recently. Links with Youth Dance England reach back some years including provision of Harlequin Tempo dance floor that transformed three hard floor studios for workshops at the National Youth Dance Festival in 2007.

Harlequin had set out the importance of a good quality dance floor in evidence submitted to the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee in 2004, which was subsequently published in a report – ‘Arts Development: Dance’. Harlequin likewise supported the ‘Dance Manifesto’ launched in 2006.

It is frequently noted that dancers themselves rarely comment about the characteristics of a good floor, but soon notice and complain when expected to dance on a poor floor. Understanding how to engineer dance floors that allow dancers to fully express their talent and at the same time minimise the risk of injury has long been a focus of Harlequin’s development team. This has brought Harlequin very close to the dance community in general, including the dancers themselves and experts researching correlation between floor quality and dance related injury. Harlequin Floors has been equally supportive of encouraging emerging talent through scholarship schemes and sponsorship of major events. While much of these activities and conferences have brought Harlequin Floors and Dance UK closer together, it is also the practical staging of events where Harlequin has supplied sprung dance floors for the benefit of the dancers that has helped forge a special relationship.

Commenting on how the future might evolve with Dance UK having a bigger voice, Caroline Miller said: “As we go forward as One Dance UK, we will continue to value the relationship that has been developed with Harlequin Floors and the funding support that has helped us achieve some important goals.”

16th December 2015

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