Here is another take on what to do when the floor is less than ideal….this from our Swing/Salsa friends. I share this only to show that some folks think that the dancers need to make adjustments, too….I don’t have the expertise to endorse any of the recommendations. But it does make for interesting reading!

On Jul 20, 2015, at 4:21 PM, Bill Olson via Callers <> wrote:

Whew, If I had to cancel all the gigs I had that had sticky, or otherwise less than optimum dance floors, I'd lose half my work! Outdoor gigs on the grass (often sloping or uneven or with holes) or on weddings on rented "dance floors", indoor school (or other) gigs on super sticky polyurethane gym floors sometimes wood on cement, church hall or other "local venue" dances on linoleum/concrete floors, or indoor-outdoor carpet, etc etc etc.. In these cases, (and I do so many of them I don't even think about it much any more,) I just have to adjust the dancing to the venue. true, these dances are mostly family/community type affairs, so they don't last that long, run at a slower pace and the choreography isn't that difficult!
I agree that it's best not to "mess with someone's floor" certainly not without permission!! They are often very proprietorial about their floors, especially schools! The sad thing is a lot of venues think a "shiny floor" is the best floor.. the finish the heck out of them with shiny stuff (polyurethane normally) and this is almost always sticky when it's humid. It also comes off when danced on and covers everything with white power (nice having it stuck in your nose too!).. But unless we OWN the venues, and that is happening in some places, (Guiding Star Grange, Capitol City Grange for two) all we can do is try to educate the venue owners. This is a long process for sure..
Blah blah, what am I saying here?? I guess I am saying, "it ain't that easy" and there isn't one solution that fits all the possible situations. My way of dealing as a dancer is to "take it easy" (less twirls and flourishes maybe) or in extreme cases (and this is bad for sure) to stay away.. and as a programmer, more forgiving choreography..
Finally, there has been a lot written about finish on dance floors, I'm sure someone will point us all to the correct archive again. Stan Fowler did a lot of work on this for Glen Echo and it's written down somewhere.. Others have done work at the above mentioned venues. BUT this doesn't help us at a one night stand or at a venue where everything else might be just fine (acoustics, stage, parking, rent) but where the owners have their own idea about the floor.. I will be interested to see what more people have to say about this!

Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2015 15:28:49 -0400
Subject: Re: [Callers] sticky floors

I don't think you should *ever* “put up with” a super-sticky floor.  It damages dancers' knees and ankles.  If the floor is too sticky to dance on, and the venue isn't allowing any options for fixing it, cancel the dance.

On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 3:21 PM, Lindsey Dono via Callers <> wrote:
Thoughts from the organizational perspective:

Be very, very careful about adding anything to any floor you don't own! A number of dances have lost their venues over issues such as this. Question: is this floor chronically sticky, or newly so? My generic plan of action would go something along these lines:

1. Put up with the sticky floor for the one evening (question for all: What are good dances for a slow floor? I'm assuming heys and whole-set promenades would work better than Petronella/Rory O'More figures). If you're at the hall early enough, you can try mopping particularly awful spots with JUST water. Unless you own the hall or have checked in with the owners in advance, probably best to avoid adding anything to the floor.

2. Immediately contact the owner/rental coordinator for your hall, and let them know about the sticky floor. Try to find out why the floor is not danceable (spills, new finish, humidity...) and find a short-term solution (mopping, adding a tiny bit of dance floor powdered wax, etc). One time, our hall was used the night prior for a party, and sugary drinks had been spilled everywhere! This wasn't the norm and the owners were apologetic. They put a lot of effort into cleaning up, and there haven't been issues since.

3. Make long-term plans for a danceable floor. A local grange coordinated with the contra community on the best way to refinish the floor. We faced a rather pungent month of dancing, but afterwards, the floor was excellent.

4. If the hall is unable or unwilling to work with you regarding the sticky floor, probably best to start looking for a new venue. This certainly isn't a pretty scenario, but the lousy floor will drive down attendance, and adding anything to the floor without permission will certainly put you in trouble with the owners.


From: Perry Shafran via Callers <>
To: Jack Mitchell <>; Mary Collins <>; "" <> 
Sent: Monday, July 20, 2015 11:55 AM
Subject: Re: [Callers] sticky floors

I was trying to figure out which was the right one - one is good to make it less sticky and the other makes it more gummy and a lot worse.  Could have sworn it was cornmeal.  I'm not the one who usually does it but I think that the people who run our dance use the right thing.  


From: Jack Mitchell <>
To: Perry Shafran <>; Mary Collins <>; 
Sent: Monday, July 20, 2015 2:52 PM
Subject: Re: [Callers] sticky floors

Not cornmeal - corn starch.  Cornmeal would likely scratch the floor!

Sent from Outlook

On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 11:43 AM -0700, "Perry Shafran via Callers" <> wrote:

Generally cornmeal is used to make the floor less sticky.  But be forewarned - don't use too much of it or else you'll have a new problem of the floor being too slippery.  Also try to distribute it evenly so you don't have any sticky spots remaining.  


From: Mary Collins via Callers <>
Sent: Monday, July 20, 2015 2:36 PM
Subject: [Callers] sticky floors

Has anyone experienced issues with their wooden dance floors becoming sticky during humid weather?  If so, what if anything has been done to alleviate the problem?

Mary C. - Buffalo

“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass ... it's about learning to dance in the rain!” ~ Unknown

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