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Outdoor ballet classes on Harlequin Liberty HD and Harlequin Reversible
23 June 2020
As has been the case for many schools during the coronavirus lockdown, the Berlin based dance school Tanz- und Ballettstudio Zehlendorf was forced to move its classes online for several months this year.
Although the students continued to work hard, something was missing – the social element of dance classes. Many dancers find more motivation through socialising and it makes the activity more fun. This is why the school’s founder Franziska Rengger decided to do something unusal. She reinstated classes but took them outside.
While Germany has eased lockdown rules fairly early on, dance schools which have reopened are still subject to strict regulations and restrictions of class sizes. By moving the classes to a marquee in her school’s garden, Ms Rengger was able to keep course sizes the same and follow the usual timetable.
However, the ballet training could not continue on grass and a professional dance floor was needed to protect the students from injuries and enable them to move freely. Ms Rengger chose the robust Harlequin Liberty HD sprung floor which is suitable for outdoor use and covered it with the Harlequin Reversible performance vinyl. Mikhail Kaniskin, principal dancer at Staatsballett Berlin, and Thomas Sieber, Sales Manager at Harlequin Floors Germany, helped with the installation of the 60m² ballet floor.
The same combination of sprung and vinyl floor is permanently installed indoors at the Ballettstudio Zehlendorf. “For me there is only Harlequin Floors”, says Ms Rengger, a former dancer at the Birmingham Royal Ballet and Berlin Opera. She is equally impressed with her outdoor Harlequin floor. But what would the students make of their new ballet studio?
They did not take long to come around to the idea of dancing outside once they realised they would not have to sacrifice the right feel of the floor. Birdsong and butterflies even add a new, exciting dimension to their training.
Of course there are challenges for the outdoor ballet school too. The first half of June has been a very cold one in Berlin, making a particularly careful warm-up necessary for each class. Some students are also missing the studio mirrors but Ms Rengger has a solution for everything: “I am your mirror. Trust me, I’ll let you know when you do anything wrong.”