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Roller Dance for All

Updated: Mar 22

by Mel @troubleon8wheels

I've spoken to a lot of people about their roller skating goals and many of them are interested in roller dance.

"It looks like so much fun." "It's so cool!"
"I love it when people are dancing together in the middle." "I wish I could do that and join in."

You know you can... Roller dance is dancing - on roller skates. It is a form of self expression, there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to do this - you are just moving in a way that feels good for you. I know you also feel inhibited to join in, because I've been there too, standing at the sidelines and looking in. What I've learned is that getting started and doing it wrong is better than never getting started, because you'll eventually learn to do it right.

Your body cannot learn by watching, it needs to develop the muscle memory of doing.

I had this epiphany moment at some point during the pandemic, having mentally beaten myself up for a number of years, because my attempts at spinning or the downtown or other moves, didn't look like another creator. That's okay, because I'm not them!

We each have a unique set of circumstances that make the way we show up totally different to anyone else.

Mine include:

  • I'm over 40 and while I'm active, I know my limits. I like to challenge these, but gradually.

  • I'm okay with learning things slowly and thoroughly. It can take me a couple of weeks or months after dance class to really feel embedded with choreography if it is challenging. Line dances are easier to remember, because you are repeating the same movements.

  • I'm not a trained dancer (I know you're surprised) but I love movement. I like being goofy when I move.

  • Moving my body helps me feel good about myself. I increasingly care less about how I look when I move.

  • My way of moving is unique to me.

How to get started with roller dance

When you are faced with all the possibilities, it can be overwhelming. Remember at school when you were given a piece of paper and told to write a story. Erm. Too many possibilities, so you end up writing nothing, or something similar to the last time you wrote a story.

Same with dance. If you are not a trained dancer, then having a few moves should help you to feel more confident.

I am a big advocate of moving your whole body. We think that roller dance is all in the legs, but actually you need your upper body to assist with the balance and also help you give more energy to the movements. How you move your shoulders, arms and fingers can change the mood from soulful and relaxed to upbeat and vibrant. In time, you'll also learn to use your head and face as well as torso (I'm 4 years in to working on chest isolations and they almost look like isolations now haha).

Start with something like the Cupid Shuffle. This song actually tells you what to do! As long as you can count to 4, you will learn to feel the beat of the music, and you can start to explore different ways of moving within the parameters of moving left, right, on the spot or turning.

And if you forget what you're doing, or miss a beat, just pick it up again when you can.

In the video tutorial when I did the dance-along section, I felt it was important to leave in the part where I rushed the Downtown and it went a bit wrong, because it doesn't actually matter. I quickly figured out that I was trying to quadruple the number of steps, rather than just doubling them. (Cupid Shuffle - 4 side steps. Downtown is an 8 count, so is twice as fast, not 4 times as fast.)

I hope this helps you to view your journey in roller dance differently, or inspires you to get started! If it did, think about coming along to the next Higher Skate of Mind workshop later this month on Zoom, where we will explore those stories that we believe are absolute truths. These stories are holding us back from reaching our full potential - we just need to realise they are there so we can break through them.

I've added the Cupid Shuffle Full Walkthrough Video to the members-area of the website, so you can go dance along - in fact you don't even need your skates on to start with!

If you don't have a membership to our website, you won't be able to access the video! We offer memberships at various levels, just head to our Join the Gang page to pick the right one for you.


A bit about me:

  • I am a qualified primary teacher with 20 years experience.

  • A qualified roller skate coach.

  • A qualified life coach.

  • I have lived experience of trauma - everybody has trauma.

  • I am healing myself through roller skating.

  • I'm the mum of a grown-up son.

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