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Outdoor ballet classes on Harlequin Liberty HD and Harlequin Duo

24 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.

Harlequin Liberty HD sprung floor panels ready for outdoor installation

© Thomas Sieber

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.

The marquee with the finished Harlequin dance floor and ballet barres

© Franziska Rengger

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 Duo 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.

Franziska Rengger and Mikhail Kaniskin installing the Harlequin sprung floor panels

© Thomas Sieber

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?

Franziska Rengger dancing on her new outdoor dance floor from Harlequin

© Franziska Rengger

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.

Ballerinas taking a dance class on Harlequin outdoor floor

© Franziska Rengger

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.”

Franziska Rengger performing a jump on her Harlequin floor

© Franziska Rengger