As another birthday rolls around, it’s time to learn something new and #embracethesuck. What will I be terrible at today?
Two weeks ago, I was biking around Golden Gate Park with my friend Jess when we passed by the “Skatin’ Place” circle near 17th street and Fulton. We were watching the skaters spin, slide, and do fancy steps, just like the dancers I had watched years ago in Central Park when I live in NYC. It’s always so mesmerizing and inspiring.
I remembered how I had started taking skating lessons with the legendary skate dancer Lesley of the purple skates back 12-15 years ago. Somehow I just didn’t stick with it after that first class, despite having a fantastic time. Part of me always regretted not continuing.
Watching those skate dancers, it hit me like a lightning bolt: this was going to be my next thing that I had to learn.
So that night, I went home, did a bunch of research, and then bought a pair of quad skates.
It’s day 4 of my roller skating adventure and I couldn’t be happier.
Roller dancing brings together so many things I love: disco, old skool hip-hop and R&B, funky outfits, flow. I feel like I have a lot of the foundations already to become a roller dancer, from my many years of roller-blading, solo jazz, house dancing, b-boying, and waacking. Those are all things I can use in my roller dancing.
Of course right now I’m mostly concentrated on just getting comfortable moving on skates. In the past four days, I’ve done a lot of falling and failing. But each time I go out, I am learning so many new things. It’s so awesome being a beginner again. Everything is golden and new and full of potential.
Who knows how long this will last. Right now, in this time of a global pandemic, it’s awesome having something that is physical, outdoors, dance-related, and social to do.
Also, roller dancing is a deep part of Black American culture, which I am just finding out more about. This documentary “United Skate” on HBO really moved and inspired me. There’s something so incredible about how Black people can take something so simple and basic and find endless variation and ways of expressing themselves. Doesn’t matter if it’s beating a drum, tapping your feet, jumping rope, or going around a circle with wheels on your feet.
I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this excited about learning something new.