You're in for a fair bit of experimentation.
You might do better than you imagine with acoustic-only dances,
depending on the size and noise of your dance population. That's all
they had in 1880. (Most of what could be done then was have a bigger
band for a bigger sound, or bring in the brass and woodwinds--you can
see why Classical orchestras are large, and why military bands have
brass and reeds.)
On the amplification end of things,
If you are able to have a number of speakers, each rather
significantly less loud than having only one set at the top of the
hall, you may be able to have people hear more of the sound directly
with less "bounce" and reverberation. With only one loud set of
speakers at the top of the hall, lots of the amplified sound will
bounce around the hall, and it's hard to hear clearly at the bottom of
the hall. You'll want to consult with an experienced sound person
about delaying the sound appropriately for the speakers farther away
from the stage.
Tipping the speakers down about 10 or so degrees will also put more
sound into the dancer's ears, and less onto the walls and ceilings of
Basic idea: many speakers, each at (much) lower volume, aimed toward
the floor, rather than the walls. Minimum amplification necessary
would be the guiding principle as well.
There is made acoustic curtain, a heavy textile to absorb sound. It
may be rather expensive to buy, but you can rent it and try it out,
and see if it is worth the substantial cost. Stage and sound
production companies in your area may know who has this. You'll find
that quilts and blankets don't absorb as much of the sound as you
would like, but they're somewhat better than nothing. Don't forget
to hang sound-absorbent materials behind the stage too, especially if
you give the musicians monitors to hear themselves with. Ordinary
stage curtains also may be useful. Not cheap. Also requiring
treatment for flamability.
You might find that you want to raise money for sound treatments, in
addition to the floors. Don't neglect the possibility of building one
or more new wall surfaces to absorb sound.
Do involve the Fire Department, and the Building Department of your
county or municipality, who will care about flammable hanging objects
in public halls, and are capable of shutting down your operations. And
check on any other venue, entertainment or zoning/licensing issues
before you put money into the hall.
On 7/23/07, Gretchen Caldwell <gretchendance(a)yahoo.com> wrote:
Sorry, I sent this post to the callers list and it
should have gone to the organizers list. Thanks for your help!
Our dance group in Charlotte NC is considering a long-term lease on an unused gym. Terms
are great, we have a strong lead on a temporary portable floor while we raise money for a
better floor. Acoustics, however, are horrendous. It's a big concrete box. What are
some relatively quick and cheap ways we can get the acoustics to an OK level while we do
the fundraising to do the job right? We need to move in fast as we presently have no
better alternatives for our weekly dance. We're thinking about hanging quilts and
heavy curtains from ropes along the walls and maybe up in the high ceiling.
Any ideas? Suggestions?
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