By Karen @Dallas_pops
If you have taken the plunge and purchased a main pass ticket, you will now be on the countdown for SkateLove BCN 2022 Festival.
One thing skaters will still need to consider though is whether or not you now want to participate in (and purchase) additional workshop tickets.
A question I am hearing from other skaters at this point is; What are the workshops actually like?
At this point I should add a quick disclaimer. For the 2022 Festival, the program of workshops as of the date of this blog is currently not confirmed. It is likely to be different from 2021, 2019 and the year before and therefore the point of this blog is just to provide my view on what it's like to experience a workshop in case you're interested in these when the official schedule is released.
Workshops (in my experience from attending two festivals) are an exciting element of the festival. They usually run within a carefully scheduled calendar over Thursday and Friday (again this may change) in a large location. The idea of the workshops is to participate in a class run by great skate teachers from all over the world who want to share their different styles and skills.
The best way I can think to tell you about what a workshop is like is is to describe some of the workshops I have been fortunate enough to attend:
2019 Florian and Najete (Couples skate) @najetekada @florian_talaria
Going into the 2019 festival I had no idea what this style of skating was. In the spirit of trying new things I signed up to the class with a small group of friends. On arrival in Spain, bad planning meant we had not realised there was an odd number of us booked on; however we decided that we could just take it in turns in class to dance with each other and it will all be fine. On arrival we soon learnt that it didn't matter that we had not booked on with a pre-agreed partner as by the end of the session, Florian and Najete had everyone paired up with multiple partners in the class and dancing together in their style. The session was well broken down into fundamental how to step patterns on the spot and then they put everything together rolling with various partners to different music beats. Whilst I don't remember all the steps, it's something I still like to practice and would like to carry on trying.
2019 Beto Lopez (The Art of Freestyle) @Mooncricketfilms
Mooncrickets skate/jam style is captivating. He dances to the beat and when he dances, every part of his body is connected. The workshop was something I was interested in learning (as a self-titled 'dance robot') and add some much needed movement to my body. Initially we were guided through various musics and encouraged to listen to the beat and move. Then we were bought in a horseshoe shape and told the real task... 1-2-1 freestyle in front of the whole class with Mooncricket where he would jam with you (ground...swallow me up now please!). In the moment it's really hard when you panic and feel out of your comfort zone. When it came to my turn I definitely thought "Why am I here... I'm not good enough compared to others here," but by the end of my slot, with the class clapping and cheering, I actually enjoyed it. I tried to focus on the moment with Mooncricket that was unique to just me and my dance moves and it was something I will never forget (as both a happy and heart stopping moment).
2021 Skatefantacee (Rhythm Rink Style)
Taking a class with someone you idolise is another feeling altogether. It doesn't feel quite real when you see and teach their well known styles and moves and even more surreal when you get to do it alongside them. Rink style and CeCe's moveMEANTS was the main focus of this class and of course, there had to be slow walk.
One thing I remember from this class was how humble and thankful Skatefantacee was to appear as a coach at the festival, something that was special to see. She took the time to genuinely connect with each person attending and I'm certain that everyone in that room felt part of her skate community in that session.
2021 Dee Upshaw assisted by Kells (Dancing with the Stars)
Getting not one but two amazing skaters from Venice Beach in one class sounds like a dream but this was all real. Dee and Kells did not mess around and true to their style they launched into teaching the group a medley of Venice Beach favourite steps and routines.
Whilst the moves were broken down, the pace of this class was fast. I would also say that some of the skills were above what I could comfortably do (full speed Military turns anyone?!) However, this class highlights what I love about workshops - it pushes you out of your comfort zone to learn and try something new.
While the coaches do their best to outline the skill level required, they can't produce sessions that fit every skill level. It's up to you as the participant to come with a 'let's give it a go' attitude and give it your all.
My favourite move from this class was learning the 'Michael Walk' , something I had fun sharing with my friends and going on to do this everywhere (even the supermarket) during the rest of the festival.
To finish up, I would like to add that the above is just a small selection of class styles the festival has previously offered. There are amazing coaches teaching skatepark skills, acrobatic skills, artistic skating skills and many more.
It is likely that at the festival, you will see the skaters who are coaching also dancing and leading groups at the Festival which many people join in with; however it's worth remembering that these aren't coached sessions and therefore the moves won't be broken down in the same detail as a workshop offers.
Thank you for taking the time to read, I hope you found it useful.
Who would be your dream teachers be? Leave a comment below.