The Harlequin Difference: 6 University Dance Programs Share What Makes Their Studios Special

Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
August 1, 2022

For dancers, the college experience isn’t about sitting in crowded lecture halls for hours on end. Instead, they spend their days in studios that become a second home and serve as a space in which to hone their technique, explore new ways of moving, and develop their artistry. 

We asked students and faculty to share what their studios mean to them—and how Harlequin Floors have become a hallmark of helping them dance their best.

Southern Methodist University

The installation process of new Harlequin Floors at Southern Methodist University. Photo by Christopher Dolder, courtesy Southern Methodist University.

“Harlequin Floor systems are essential to the pre-professional development process. SMU has a triple-track program of ballet, modern, and jazz. The floors need to provide the appropriate spring, traction, and durability to support proper training in these diverse movement modalities. When students are working on a well-sprung floor, their joints are allowed the necessary buffer to support lengthy rehearsals without wearing down the muscles that support the key weight-bearing joints of the hips, knees, and ankles.” —Christopher Dolder, Chair and Associate Professor, Division of Dance, Meadows School of the Arts

DeSales University

Photo by Kristin Laudenslager/Tim Cox, courtesy DeSales University.

“The purchase and installation of our Harlequin Floors was a valuable investment in our program and the well-being of our dancers. The quality of service we received was excellent.” —Julia Mayo, Chair of Dance

“The new Harlequin floor in our studio has helped me jump higher and dance fuller, knowing that my body will be safe dancing on this floor.” —Elena Andriopoulos, BA in Dance, ’23

“The floor allows for ease of moving in socks, ballet shoes, tap shoes, and bare feet. It is ideal for floorwork, allowing flowing movement with enough grip to stay grounded.” —Lauren Linder, BA in Dance, ’23

George Mason University

Photo by Tim Coburn, courtesy George Mason University.

“We proudly offers our diverse student body an exceptional dance experience that broadens their physical and creative practice, scholarly research, and service to our field. The bright and spacious studios we call home are paramount to accomplishing this endeavor. From our Harlequin Floors, that provide a safe and supportive foundation, to our state-of-the-art video and sound systems, our studios enable us to educate and inspire tomorrow’s leading dance artists.” —Shaun Boyle D’Arcy, Assistant Professor of Dance

“The studios’ expansive layouts and beautifully sprung floors make George Mason’s facility one of the most inviting environments I have experienced throughout my training. The spaces themselves and their amenities invite all dancers to take the space with such confidence and fervor, and I think that this shows in our dancing as a school!” —Morgan Olschewske, BFA in Dance, ’24

Kennesaw State University

Student dancer Julia Blair. Photo courtesy Kennesaw State University.

“Our Harlequin Liberty LatchLoc sprung flooring with Harlequin Cascade protects students from injury while providing the requisite setting to train, learn, create, rehearse, and grow. Students who enter this space immediately admire and cherish the studio and recognize its outstanding state-of-the-art characteristics. The KSU dance studios serve as my sanctuary.” —Marsha Barsky, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Dance

Montclair State University

Montclair State University MFA dance majors. Photo by Mike Peters, courtesy Montclair State University.

“MSU offers spaces that invite the imagination to run free. There is a sense of vast space with silky sprung floors that encourage low floor flight and high-impact, velocity-based phrasing and partnering.” —Stefanie Batten Bland, Assistant Professor

“The studios offer my peers and me a massive space where we can dance together while still having ample room to individually explore. The safety and security of sprung floors decrease the risk of injuries and modifications needed. Especially after trying to take classes virtually from the dorms’ cement and tile-covered floors, I am immensely grateful that our campus has multiple studios, all of which have marley with sprung floors.” —Nicole Arakaki, BA in Dance, ’23

“The studio is where I find community and where I get to honestly express myself. It feels like a safe space to explore my passion, and because of this, I often discover new elements of myself and my movement on the dance floor!” —Isa Segall, BFA in Dance, ’23

Slippery Rock University

Photo by Michael Schnelle, courtesy Slippery Rock University.

“Our dance studios are environments for learning, artistic exploration, and building community. Having a variety of spaces that are equipped with excellent flooring provides greater access and flexibility for our students and faculty to work independently and collectively on achieving artistic, educational, and professional goals.” —Ursula Payne, Professor of Dance

“Recently, we received beautiful renovated dance spaces that make me feel valued and cared for. I can focus on the process of creation, trial and error, composition, and performance quality to allow me to reach my maximum potential.” —Auriana Carrington, BFA in Dance with a Concentration in Studio Ownership and Entrepreneurship, ’23

“Having both Harlequin hardwood and Harlequin vinyl floors gives me maximum flexibility for scheduling classes. The hardwood floor is a dream for allowing the body to slide on the floor for contemporary floorwork or contact improvisation, but it’s not too slippery to also hold ballet classes.” —Jennifer Keller, Chairperson, Department of Dance