If any of you are fans of the Apprentice series then you’ll be aware that in this year’s installment one of the final candidates had a business plan that more than tempted Lord Sugar. That business plan was presented by dancer Francesca MacDuff-Varley and in essence, the vision was to scale up dance and fitness classes and offer the sessions on a national scale.

Although Francesca was subject to the famous ‘finger stab’ of ‘you’re fired’, the prospect was one Sir Alan gave due consideration. And why? Because dance and fitness classes have undeniably taken ‘keep fit’ to a whole new level in recent years.

It’s big business and from gleaming gyms to school and college installations, any fitness venue worth its salt is tapping into this lucrative market and installing a dance studio. We understand it can seem like quite an intimidating task however, so we’re bringing you the first installment in a two part guide on dance studio requirements and general points to consider.

Of course if there’s anything we haven’t covered or you would like us to include anything in the second guide, then please get in touch via the comments, Facebook or Twitter.


You may remember taking dance classes at school or attending a very popular class and being packed in like sardines! Obviously this isn’t ideal and if you have students with upcoming exams this can be incredibly frustrating; equally, a vast echoing space can lack that intimate student-instructor connection vital for a dance space.

If you are installing a dance studio in an existing building then you probably have an idea of the space you’ll be converting, but if you’re installing in a new-build or you have flexibility with your existing space, then there are some simple rules-of-thumb that you can determine with little more than a tape measure.

The National Dance Teachers Association (NDTA) states the following guidelines in terms of floor space per number of students and for specific needs:

  • A Level Dance exams require a 10m x 10m space with enough room (2.5m) for an examiner to watch.
  • As a guide provide 3 square metres for each primary school child and;
  • 5 square metres for each secondary or tertiary school child
  • For secondary schools with classes over 30 then a space of 150 square metres is required.
  • For small classes (around 18) a minimum space guide is 10m x 9m

Obviously you can use your discretion to an extent too, different dance styles and ages can impact on the amount of space you need; so consult a qualified dance teacher if you’re planning on slightly deviating from the recommendations.

Floor Design

Floor design is an incredibly important aspect of dance studio installation as an unmodified hard concrete floor could cause serious injuries and long term complaints for dancers using the space. A sprung floor system is the best choice by far and cheaper alternative such as a semi-sprung floor or even worse, various styles of matting, simply don’t offer dancers the support they need. Vinyl floors can be used too and although they can be used alone, they offer optimum safety and comfort for dancers when combined with a sprung floor.


Obviously the height of your studio depends on your requirements; if you will solely be teaching zumba or salsa for example then height isn’t necessarily important, but if possible it’s always wise not to restrict your space in case you would like to rent it to other dance schools. The NDTA recommend a ceiling height of 3.5 metres for allowing acrobatics or sports such as cheerleading which may require dancers to stand on each other’s shoulders.

We hope that has given you some initial food for thought regarding the space you have to work with and any structural modifications that may be required. In part 2 we’ll go on to discuss perfecting your studio with ventilation, sound, lighting and the overall design of your space. In the meantime if you would like to discuss your dance studio ideas with our helpful team, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the stage and studio installation specialists at PG Stage.

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