Tap Dance Spark Floor

Pioneer Winter

New Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2016
Location
Miami, FL, USA
I saw it in a dance competition a few years ago - it wasn't anything crazy looking - two 2'x2' surfaces that two little girls tapped on and they could produce sparks with the taps on their shoes.

I know that's not much to go on, but I've been experimenting a bit with trying to create my own version of that. The ONLY information I've been given is this sort of vague e-mail from a local tech director, who doesn't have much more info on it beyond what he sent me:

Almost any metal will spark, the deck is the key.

I did this effect for Tommy Tune, a portion of the deck had a thin layer of concrete.
With his regular tap shoes he was able to make sparks at will.

Fail: These are some of the things I've tried and I just have not been able to produce sparks:

Fail: Sheet of steel from Home Depot and applied quick-dry cement. The cement didn't hold to the steel and it just chipped off with the force of the tap shoes.

Fail: Tapping directly on a grinder wheel that is laying flat on the floor.

Fail: Cutting steel sheet and attaching it to bottoms of tap shoes. Tried this both on the grinder wheel as well as asphalt outside the theater.

Fail: I wiped lighter fluid (odorless charcoal lighter fluid) on the grinder wheel and still nothing.

Any suggestions? Anyone done this before? Am I forgetting something?
 

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
A: DO NOT USE ACCELLERANTS OF ANY KIND IN AN ATTEMPT TO CREATE THIS EFFECT! If you have any questions about that statement watch the video DVS Dave posted.
As a matter of fact make sure you've swept and Mopped the hell outta the stage. Dust bunnies are highly flammable! and it only takes a spark.

Unless the taps are made of Aluminum, I agree with the statement that "Any kind of steel" should set off a spark. When you got the Steel from Home Depot did you buy a thin piece? I wouldn't use "Sheet metal" as most of it is galvanized, even if it doesn't look like a regular galvanizing it most likely is. Buy a piece of 1/8" or 1/16th Cold-Rolled plate. If it's not heavy enough to hold itself down then use some thin double stick around the perimeter. Don't use any kind of cement that might leave lumps.
Hope that helps.
 
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Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
Could have been striker flints in the taps of the shoes. Also available at Home Depot.
Take it from someone with years of working with dancers; do NOT F*$& with their shoes!

Seriously don't need to add anything, as long as their taps are steel. if they are cheap zinc models then there is nothing you can do to make them spark, except replacing the taps.