How to install marley in your home dance studio

In previous posts, we have learned how to set up your very own home dance studio start to finish. From finding mirrors to mounting them on the walls, and even alternatives to traditional mirrors, you already know how to build a studio. But, what's left is the flooring. Dancing on carpet is a quick way to tear holes through socks and end up with carpet burns. In this post, I'll show you how to quickly and easily install marley on the floor in your home dance studio.

The floors of many dance studios are covered in a thin rubber / vinyl sheet called "marley." The purpose of this flooring is to provide some texture to the floor, and to give you the dancer a little bit more grip to prevent it the floor from becoming too slippery. It is also used to protect the wooden floors underneath from damage. Marley that is well taken care of can withstand hundreds of hours of dance time!

In the following three easy steps, you can install a marley floor in your own home dance studio.

Step 1: Measure your space.

Most often, rolls of marley are between 5 and 6 feet across. The length is usually custom ordered. Measure the space you plan to use from corner to corner. You should plan your space so that the depth of the studio is equal to a multiple of the width of the marley sheeting you intend to buy. This way, you won't need to cut any marley in half lengthwise.  

Step 2: Clean the floor.

wood floor marley dance studio

Any imperfections in the floor will decrease the life of the marley you put down on top, especially after heavy use. Thus, you will need to ensure that you are working with a smooth and level floor. This entails pulling up whatever carpet may be in the current space. You should remove any staples in the floor, and completely flatten and screws or nails that might be sticking up from the surface. 

When the hardware construction work is done, make sure the floor is now cleaned with a broom and a wet mop to remove all debris that may still be on the surface. Dust and oil will prevent the adhesive from keeping the marley secured on the floor, which could lead to a floor that slides around.

Step 3: Place the marley.

Roll the marley lengthwise across the studio, parallel to the mirrors. When you get to the end of the space you want covered, draw a line and cut cleanly using a utility knife. Move to the next row down, and continue doing this until the entire space is covered. Do not tape these pieces down yet: You will want to let these pieces of marley remain here overnight to allow any wrinkles to relax, giving you the smoothest floor possible.

Leave about an 1/8 inch gap in between each parallel piece of marley. From here, once the strips are in place, use some tape to hold down each piece. Pull the tape as tightly as possible, but avoid wrinkling the marley itself. You'll also want to flatten the tape tightly against the floor. One really good method to do this is to use the roll that the vinyl came in. It'll be a hard cardboard or plastic, and a few rolls with pressure back and forth across the seams will keep the marley secure when people are dancing on it.

And that should be it! As with any other surface, it will get dirty over time. Sweep with a broom to get the majority of the dirt off the surface, then use a water-based cleaner. DO NOT USE AMMONIA! This stuff is too abrasive, and will damage your surface.

Enjoy your new dance studio floor!

Got any good pictures or great tips that helped you put your dance studio floor together? Share them in the comments below.

Nike LunarGlide 8 review - A test in endurance, written by a dancer-turned runner

Dancers can benefit from adding a little bit of light jogging into their training regime. In addition to boosting cardiac output, running helps to strengthen the stabilizing muscles of the legs and ankles. But to get into the hobby of running safely, you'll need to spend a little bit of cash. But putting that money into a Nike Lunar Glide 8 will last you a good number of years. (No, Nike doesn't pay me to say this.)

At the time I'm writing this product review, my running shoes are about 2 years old with about 400 miles on them. They've been through puddles, smothered by volcanic ash, up the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia, and through redwood forests in the Pacific Northwest. They've been crammed into tiny travel backpacks, crushed underneath piles of junk, and covered in glitter (long story.) They've experienced just about everything an outdoor athletic shoe is supposed to, and a bunch more stuff that they're not supposed to. And I still wear them.

I've only been caught out in a summer storm twice. Each time, the soles of the shoes were soaked thoroughly until disgusting squish sounds accompanied every step. The insole comes out easily for quick drying, and the material retains it's soft, spongy, shock absorbing qualities after drying. Additionally, the shoe maintains it's shape. Shoes with leather or any kind of canvas material will absolutely deform in the rain.

I don't wear them in the dance studio. The shoes are designed to withstand very specific pressures that your foot experiences when you run - but NOT necessarily the pressures when you dance. Running shoes don't hold up too well with quick lateral movements, which you will find in many urban dance styles. Putting these kinds of pressure on the shoes may cause the stitching to come loose.

This unpaid advertisement is all to say that investing in a good pair of running shoes will serve you well in the long run. Every athletics store has a densely packed wall of running shoes, and I can't speak to the quality of 99% of them. But, I can say that my purchase in particular has been absolutely worth the value.

The Value of TV: A social event

We've all been to "Bingewatch Hotel," where you check in to an eight hour marathon of Stranger Things interrupted only by trips to the fridge or pee breaks. For the busy dancer / student / employee that we are every other day of the week, this relaxation makes for a highly desirable way to spend a lazy, gloomy Saturday weekend.

A small part of me cries out as I mentally run through my ever-lengthening to-do list. But my "let-no-minute-go-to-waste" mindset still manages to find a huge upside a binge session: social TV! This multitasking-time management approach to TV watching makes your time on the futon doubly effective. Check it out.

Times have changed from the person who didn't even own a TV in college to the me right now. The fact is, I do watch TV (shoutout to my dad, for buying me a flat screen TV so large that I had to move my couch to the back of the room just to be able to get the entirety of the screen in my range of vision). But my pattern of TV consumption today is radically different from that of the Nicktoons-addicted elementary school Austin, or the cable-deprived college Austin.

These days, I make time to get into a few shows. BUT I am extremely selective about the shows I keep up with. In my opinion, there isn't a single show on television that is worth anyone's undivided attention if it's not a shared experience that encourages worthwhile and meaningful conversations with others. For me, a TV show is only worth your time if the programming can serve as a jumping off point for some degree of human interaction. Shows with this kind of broad impact eventually become enduring cultural mainstays and relevant topics of discussion for years to come, much like any fine piece of visual art or literature. 

Think of it this way: If you hop on Facebook, and you accidentally learn about the thing that happens to that one guy in that one show - FROM 16 DIFFERENT PEOPLE - you might be in the midst of a TV cultural phenomenon that is worth your attention.


Take my biggest TV vice, Game of Thrones. I'm the first to admit that I have an obsession with HBO's adaptation of George R.R. Martin's series of testosterone-fueled, deeply political series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire. Each and every Sunday during GoT season, like a religious service for practicing Catholics, you can reliably count on me making my way to a friend's place to enjoy the bloodshed, political intrigue, and inevitable discussion that occurs after the show, as we don our tinfoil hats to hypothesize about wacky theories concerning the motivations of various characters.

In this case, GoT served it's purpose as a free social event (well, free for me, the moocher who doesn't pay for HBO) that brings people together for the express purpose of entertainment in the same way that a football game or bar outing may do so. A small fraction of the value of the show lies within the 50 minutes of TV time. The overwhelming value comes from the hour before, where we sit around drinking beers catching up on each other's lives as the previous week's episode serves as background noise; the hour after, when we rewatch the episode, while making jokes and talking through the onscreen action; and the intervening week before the next episode, when we interact with each other digitally with new theories that pop into our heads.

Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, How I Met Your Mother: All early- and mid-2010's examples of highly-acclaimed TV series' that will impact a generation of viewers. I believe that these are worthy of your attention just as much as any good piece of classic literature. Sure, you may not have seen M*A*S*H* or Cheers, but the groundbreaking nature of these TV phenomena will far outlive the production run of the series. 


(Unrelated note: My desire to always maximize utility has led me to develop a chronically recurring case of "Netflix Paralysis Syndrome." When faced with hundreds of options, a victim of Netflix Paralysis Syndrome will be overcome with indecision so powerful, that the user will compulsively walk up and down the digital aisles to the point of memorization. In the end, the multitude of choice will overwhelm the victim, since they would hate to waste their time on a less-than-perfect use of their evening. They inevitably default to watching something they have already seen, usually Arrested Development or Orange is the New Black - before promptly fall asleep during the opening credits.)

Overall, the idea is that the TV should be a tool that helps you maximize the hours in your day rather than stealing them. Enjoying TV with friends can act to effectively increase your daily use of social time, as whatever your program of choice can function doubly as both entertainment and social time.

Here's the first step: Whenever you get in a conversation with friends about the tenuous strength of your favorite character in Game of Thrones, propose watching the next episode together. Better yet, turn it into a viewing party, involve the interested people in your dance community. Build these connections!

And just like that, you've turned a time sink into a social opportunity, while still getting your hit of Mr. Robot.

Did you also find a way to break (mostly) free of the influence of the TV? Alternatively, do you think anything on TV right now has long lasting value that will be discussed by the next generation of hipsters? Comment at me, and I'll try and sneak in a little bit of that show into my schedule.