Creating a Dance Studio Apartment

Posted June 14th, 2010 by layla

What if I could have my own dance studio apartment? I’ve had this idea before – but last night I had a very vivid dream that kick-started my imagination again. :D

I started by doing google searches for apartments with sprung floors, with very little luck – the only one I found was an expensive hotel in Prauge!

Next, I started searching for portable sprung floors – like the kinds that they assemble in hotels for week-long dance competitions. After a few false starts, I stumbled upon the O’Mara Sprung Floors website. They sell portable sprung floors in many different configurations, from individual practice floors to entire studio floors, for many different dance styles. They even offer a kit to allow you to build your own sprung floor of any size!

My dream of a portable sprung floor which can be installed atop a concrete floor in a loft apartment is feasible after-all!

Upon realizing that the dream of a portable sprung floor which could be laid down in a loft apartment isn’t really at all out of reach, I decided to begin searching for ballet barres and mirrors – two essential pieces of my ideal home dance studio.

This website sells fixed and adjustable wall mounted barres, up-to 16′ in length! They also sell free-standing barres. I would definitely prefer an adjustable wall-mounted barre – the idea of being able to tailor the height of the barre to my current flexibility seems fantastic!

I’m split on the idea of a double barre… on the one hand, it allows for two heights without adjusting the barre; but, on the other hand, I wonder if the top barre might get in the way during certain stretches on the bottom barre? I’ve only ever used single barres before.

The same website also sells portable glassless mirrors of many different shapes and sizes. The best news is that the mirrors can be stacked very compactly for storage and transportation, and their 4×6 mirror only weighs 12 pounds! That means that if I ever needed to disassemble and move my home studio, only the ballet barres would take significant effort to disassemble and pack, and everything should be durable, compact, and light enough to be easily transported anywhere I should decide to move!

An 8×5 vertical mirror is $609 – so it would cost roughly $3600 to line one wall of a 30′x30′ dance floor from floor to ceiling.

From what I’ve been reading, a 30′x30′ sprung dance floor (900 sqft.) would cost somewhere between $1000-$3000.

And a 16′ adjustable double wall-mounted barre is $369.

I would use my laptop for playing music – and while it would be nice to have some studio equipment to adjust tempo with, I’m sure that there already exists some freely available software which can adjust tempo just fine – and if there doesn’t, I suppose I could always write some! Update: I found some here and here. The second link, SoundStretch, doesn’t do it live, but it provides a library which I could use to quickly write my own live tempo adjustment software.

Other expenses which would perfect my home studio would be a decent stereo system, and a video camera (or two). It would be wonderful to set up the studio so that there would be a couple of angles of HD video which could capture most of the floor space, and would be directly linked to the computer for live recording and viewing purposes. This would allow me to capture and archive tons of video footage of my practice sessions and progress. I could then view the videos after practicing, compare practice sessions and watch my progress.

Austin, TX - Downtown Loft

A Sunny Downtown Loft in Austin, TX

A studio like this would be so ideal for teaching! I could teach private lessons and provide the unique service of offering multi-angle DVD video of all lessons to my students! I think that would be a great teaching tool, and a great way for students to reflect on their lessons and their progress to improve their solo practice!

I’m getting even more excited now!

A quick estimate looks like somewhere between $2500 to $7000 for the floor, mirrors and barres, depending upon how expensive the floor is, and how much mirror coverage I really need. Another one or two thousand seems reasonable for the stereo system and auto-focusing HD video cameras. Five thousand on the lower side, to ten thousand on the high end seems safe. It might sound like a lot of money to some people, but ten thousand dollars for my own personal dream studio, inside my own apartment, seems like a bargain to me!

The most tricky part, I think, would be finding a nice big loft, in a good area, with good natural sunlight, without astronomical rent!

Update: Great news for Boston artists looking for live/work studio/loft space! I just stumbled upon restricted artist-only loft housing in Boston through the Artist Space Initiative! Only BRA approved artists are eligible for these studio/loft spaces, which means that these BRA restricted spaces which would otherwise be completely out of a working artist’s price range can actually be within financial reach!

Another cool find: Artist Space Finder is a website dedicated to searching for artist work and or live/work spaces in Massachusetts!

5 Responses to “Creating a Dance Studio Apartment”

  1. layla

    This loft would be wonderful, if it didn’t have those pesky floor to ceiling support beams in the middle of the floor!!

  2. layla

    1400sqft in Chicago for $1200/mo!

  3. Eric Chadwick

    Hey Layla! Cool blog. Thinking of moving to Austin?? :)

    My 8 yr old daughter is in ballet “camp” this summer, went to watch her class, a pretty space in Concord that’s been a dance studio for 60 yrs. Fun to see her really enjoying dance.

  4. layla

    Hi Eric! Thanks, I’m glad you like it! :D

    I actually nearly moved to Austin instead of Boston back in 2008! At the moment, I’m not planning to move anywhere.. but I’m often pondering about different places and possibilities! :)

    I’m glad to hear about your daughter really enjoying dance, I think it’s beautiful to watch someone who is really feeling it dance!!

    How long has she been dancing? Maybe she’ll be a ballerina in the Boston Ballet one day? :)

  5. Life of a Dancing Engineer − Secrets of a Successful Studio

    [...] posted some ideas and research not too long ago about how to create a┬áDance Studio Apartment. I’ve recently been doing a lot more reading and research on that subject (including [...]

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