Kick Out The (Skate) Jams

by Libby Zay


If watching Whip It! doesn’t make you want to lace up your skates, I honestly don’t know what will. By the time I left the theater this weekend I was smiling ear-to-ear and daydreaming about buying a new pair of wheels.

Is skating making a comeback? The last time I strapped some wheels on my feet, my friends and I were surprised by the number of people at the rink. Of course, even more startling was having to show ID and get patted down to enter the same building where we had elementary school birthday parties. Unbeknownst to us, we were entering expert hip-hop skating territory. Yes, b-girls and groove-shakers like skates, too!

We had somehow stumbled upon a ”skate jam” session, which is kind of like hip-hop’s cultural equivalent to the punk renaissance of roller derby. As old school R&B was DJed, a hundred-or-so skaters transformed a bland roller rink into a dance club on wheels. With each rotation came a new set of moves: sometimes roller skates became tap shoes and other times conga lines were formed. Grinding and break-dancing could be seen, too, but more often than not people locked arms, swayed their hips, and spun around in rhythm and groove.

It was spectacular. It was sexy. And, since I can’t dance and I can’t skate, I felt entirely out of my element. Of course, no one seemed to mind: they simply sped around me and past me, usually backwards (show-offs!). And all of this in the same arena where a dinosaur mascot wheeled around and did the chicken dance for my 5th grade birthday party! Who knew?

I tried to find a decent video of a similar event, and the one above is the best I could do. It’s old and grainy, but you get the idea.

Seriously though, you should go see Whip It!. If you think Alia Shakat’s sunfreckles look cute on the cover of BUST, you should get an eyeful of those beauties on the big screen!

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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