Dancers injured on floor surface at new recreation center

MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury selectboard has agreed to consider some new flooring for the multi-purpose room of the town’s new recreation facility, in light of news that the current surface has allegedly led to some injuries suffered by participants in the recreation department’s dance program.
Dance instructor Chris Giorgio literally limped to the front of the selectboard’s meeting room on March 24 to explain that she and six student dancers had hurt themselves during recent practices at the recreation facility. The reason: the multi-purpose room has no padding and a no-slip floor, which Giorgio explained is unforgiving for dance moves. She said she had recommended dance-appropriate flooring to those planning the recreation facility.
The multi-purpose room is also used periodically by local seniors, for meals and socializing.
Giorgio said she could not “in good conscience, continue to instruct on that floor.”
So she and other organizers have temporarily (through April) shifted the dance program to Middlebury Union High School.
“We’ve had to figure out a new schedule and a new space,” Giorgio said. “I don’t think (MUHS) could be a long-term space.”
She had been leading the classes at the town’s so-called “warming hut” near the Memorial Sports Center. The dance programs — which serve an estimated 160 people — shifted to the new recreation facility off Creek Road when it opened around a month ago.
The warming hut will now serve as the new Addison Central Teens Center.
Meanwhile, Giorgio urged town officials to equip the multi-purpose room with some padded, dance friendly flooring. She said there are appropriate dance floors that could be laid down and taken up following dance sessions.
Part of Giorgio’s role includes preparing student dancers for competitions. The recent spate of injuries and change in dance venues has complicated scheduling for the dance team’s competition schedule, she noted.
“Please think about putting new flooring in there, or change the location of the dance program,” Giorgio said.
The selectboard asked Giorgio to share her concerns and flooring options with the town’s Recreation Facilities Committee, which will in turn prepare a recommendation for a possible purchase. Officials will look within the recreation center’s contingency fund to try and find resources for the floor upgrade.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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