This topic has 5 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 6 years, 4 months ago by KarenGlass.

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  • #14793
      • Experience: 20+ years
      • Scenic Status: Part Time Regular

      Twenty some years ago I painted a big tap dancing show and I had big problems. The paint chipped off down to the base paint and looked awful by the time we reached opening. I diagnosed the issue then, (not enough binder in the layers between base and sealing) but I wish to avoid a second round of problems.

      What tips do folks have for tap dancing shows?


      I can share what we did on biggest/most destructive tap show I ever painted, though admittedly I don’t know that it’s conventional or remotely the best option. It did WORK though. The tapping in this show wasn’t musical theatre tapping, it was more interpretive tapping, being done by one man wearing taps on work boots, and the other men in the cast mimicking him in regular heavy work boots.

      After doing the floor treatment as normal (base and paint layers), basically I just sealed the crap out of this floor. They had me use this gross wetlook sealer from a pour bottle (that theatre uses that sealer on everything, because it’s cheap and they like the wetlook?), which I used straight and uncut and used pads to apply to the floor. Before tech started the floor had 2-3 coats of straight sealer on it, and I had to seal it again at the end of every day during tech week. So, by opening there were at least 10 coats of sealer on this floor, and every week the show ran it would get touched up with more sealer twice a week (this theatre did 8 show runs of this show for 5 weeks).

      Putting that much sealer on was pretty much a pain, but it did do a pretty good job of protecting the paint from the really violent tapping that was going on. If you’re using better sealer it might get kind of pricey to do that though.

        • Experience: 20+ years
        • Scenic Status: Part Time Regular

        Thanks! Lots of sealer is in the plan. Maybe even more now.

          • Experience: 5-10 years
          • Scenic Status: Full Time Regular

          I’ve never done a floor for tap dancing. I have however, painted and touched up floors for shows with heavy machinery. Walking With Dinosaurs was one of them and the Dinos were controlled by people driving around inside HEAVY steel frames with huge dinosaurs on top. I used a Sherwin Williams painT line called DTM which has held up well over the years considering the abuse it was taking.

          Some industrial coatings can take much more of a beating than our readily available acrylic latexs.


          If you can afford it, 3-4 coats of street shoe with plenty of cure time.

            • Experience: 20+ years
            • Scenic Status: Part Time Regular

            Thanks everyone!

            I will check out these products. I’m sad that I can’t try street shoe, there is too much daily traffic to let it cure. I still want to get some to experiment with though.

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