Updated: Feb 23
by Mel Blackwood @roller_girl_gang
Hiya! It’s Mel from Roller Girl Gang here. Roller Girl Gang is based in Leeds, UK. We have a pro shop, offering a carefully curated choice of roller skates and accessories, (including tricky-to-get products this side of the Atlantic) as well as run events and classes.
I’m also the Skate Love team member who has been liaising with the amazing masterclass and workshop teachers all heading to Skate Love BCN.
Ahead of the festival, I’ve been able to catch up with some of them.
Here is Morgan Weske, founder of Dance.Skate. Morgan is a keen dancer and has used her expertise to create roller dance choreography to support and inspire skaters at all levels.
Morgan is always on the go, moving from one project to another and one skate party to another. Thankfully she managed to find a few minutes between jobs to catch up with me.
Enjoy Morgan's story!
Part of Morgan's masterclass will involve a Q&A so bring your questions if you are booked on!
"I get asked all the time, how do I travel, how do I teach, how do I start teaching and all that. I'm excited to share. I want to give back where I can."
Our Skate Love chat happened over Zoom, so I apologise for any inconsistency in sound or video quality. Everyone is busy in the run up to the festival, and I'm glad we were able to co-ordinate time zones!
Mel: Hi Morgan, I'm so glad you're here!
Morgan: Hi Mel, thank you for having me. I'm in an Uber in Chicago right now.
Always on the go!
Amazing, so we are just over a month out from Skate Love BCN, everyone is getting really excited and I thought I would catch up with the teachers, see how it's going and see if there are any gems you can pass on this year.
I would be interested in knowing how long have you been roller skating for and what made you start?
Thank you for asking. I have been skating since I was a kid. My home rink opened in 1997, Chatanooga, TN, and I started going there religiously. I think becuase I had a single parent, so she would just drop me off, like daycare. I would go 3-4 times a week, there wasn't much of a skate scene though, especially for adults. In smaller towns they associate roller skating as just for children only. Then, when I moved to Los Angeles, to pursue my dance career, I came across the Venice Beach skaters in 2015, I started taking it more seriously and actually became obsessed with it.
Wow what an amazing journey!
Do you have much experience of really big skate events, or skate parties as I think they are called in the US?
Yes, we call them skate parties or skate jams; a lot of the big cities have their own party. Some have more than one like Atlanta. Other than yours, (I came to Skate Love last year for the first time, and was able to teach), I recently hosted (with my brand, Dance Skate) a jam called Heartbreak, with Smitty. That was my first jam skate competition. And I got to host it and be one of the judges. Other than that I go to skate parties all the time here in the states. Not always teaching, not always hosting, but just participating because I love skating. I have a lot of experience.
That's cool, I need to go next year.
Yes, let me know! Go to Skategroups.com Its a list of all the parties in every city, throughout the year, from January to December.
A gem right there! Thank you Morgan.
So, what will you be teaching this year at Skate Love?
I am going to teach Dance.Skate masterclass. Back in 2018, I had a lot of girls in Venice Beach asking me to teach. But, I didn't feel ready to teach roller skating, as there were a lot of amazing, great roller skate teachers around. And I was learning from them myself. But I had already been a dance teacher (on feet) for 15 years and a dance choreographer. I decided to teach choreography. So I started choreography workshops.
Fast forward to 2019, I create Dance.Skate, actually because I dance and I skate. So it's a dance and skate page. Put it together and it's dancing on skates. That's what a lot of us do. Specifically for my class this year, it's going to be very dance heavy, you're going to understand musicality, including the full count and half count. The double time, all that. Putting the different vocabularies and textures on the movements. How you move with the body. I say that your body is the boombox. You want the movement to be the sound that comes out.
We are going to start with the grooves follow-on, lead into the skills section which will support the choreography. And then I'm going to do a Q & A. I get asked all the time, how do I travel, how do I teach, how do I start teaching and all that. I'm excited to share. I want to give back where I can.
I think you give so much already.
Well it's not enough, I want to keep giving!
I'm excited for your masterclass this year!
It's great that you have loads of experience of big skate parties, as I'm aware that for a lot of people coming this year, it could be their first skate party. Particularly in Europe, there were a lot of people who were going to travel (to Skate Love BCN) last year, and they decided not to postpone due to the Covid situation. This year, it may be their first skate party. Do you have any tips for first timers?
First timers... ahhhhhh. First of all, if you haven't booked your Air BnB or hotel, book as close as possible to the location. Maybe bring two pairs of wheels, you're never sure about the terrain or surface you will be on, especially if you want to do street skating. Bring your favourite softer wheels and then your preferred rink or harder wheels.
Bring a change of clothes. For me personally, I sweat a lot. At the skate parties I go to, sometimes I will change clothes up to 4 times. I did that at Skate-a-Thon in Atlanta. You never know when it's going to sweat, or rain (like it did last year). Bring clothes with you, to the party, right there in your backpack. You may want to change your socks, shirt or shorts. Bring a towel, bring deodorant! You may think you will only skate a couple of hours and it ends up being 12 hours.
Bring cash, some of the smaller vendors only take cash.
Lots of water
Bring a portable battery - I have 3, because I am always travelling. Make sure they are charged. Other than that...
Have a couple of apps on your phone - like a transit app with the metro info and a currency app.
That's the gist of it.
Those are excellent tips from a seasoned traveller.
Thank you so much Morgan, amazing. Thanks for giving up your time and joining me.
Take care and I will see you soon!
Thanks Mel, see you soon!
Join me for more Skate Love chat as I catch up with some of the other teachers before the festival. #excited!