Founder and Group Chairman, Bob Dagger, reminisces about the early years and phenomenal growth of Harlequin Floors.
In the beginning
In the mid 1970’s, with a growing interest in dance, I discovered that a humble black vinyl commercial floor was becoming the preferred choice for stage and dance professionals. I realised there was an opportunity to develop a flooring product designed specifically for performance.
Backed by a small number of investors, I set up a company to produce quality, affordable dance floors using new materials that would reduce the risk of injury and help artists perform to the best of their abilities.
Lights, camera, action!
On day one of business, the phone rang. But our first customer wasn’t a dancer; Anglia TV in England needed a pedestrian crossing for a police series, but weren’t allowed to paint on the street. The answer? Black and white Harlequin Reversible!
In the beginning our product range was small, but business grew rapidly and soon the London Festival Ballet and the Royal Ballet joined our list of customers.
In the early 1980's Rudolf Nureyev, then Director at the Paris Opera Ballet, wanted a lightly padded floor. We came up with Harlequin Studio - which is still danced on today at the Palais Garnier, the Bastille Theatre and in dance companies worldwide.
The American Harlequin Corporation began in life California, then moved to Philadelphia. We developed Harlequin Cascade, our flagship vinyl performance floor, for American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet.
From there we continued to expand, opening new offices in Europe, the USA, Hong Kong and Australia and creating new floors like Harlequin Hi-Shine to serve our rapidly growing customer base in production, events, exhibitions and display.
I'm very proud of the fact that Harlequin has now truly become a global company, with offices in five continents and several manufacturing sites across Europe. It seems the world really does perform on Harlequin Floors.
The success of Harlequin is down to our people - passionate individuals who understand our customers, deliver unbeatable service, bring new ideas to the table, develop new products and drive Harlequin forward.
Group Financial Director
Group Marketing Director