"Skate Night for David Bowie"
“Put on your red shoes and dance the blues”
“To the song they're playing on the radio”
“While colour lights up your face”
“Sway through the crowd to an empty space”
Swaying is exactly what the crowd was doing the night Moonlight
Rollerway hosted a one-of-a-kind event, a tribute skate night for
David Bowie. Tickets sold out a week before the event, and a line
formed around the building hours before the doors opened. Fans
ranged from the diehard to the occasional radio listener, but many
were costumed with Bowie T’s, Ziggy Stardust face paint,
sequined pants, and wigs galore.
I am here because I have a long history with skating. I have been
skating since I was three years old, the daughter of Northridge
Skateland owner David Fleming and skating coach Nancy
Fleming. I competed in roller figure skating throughout my
childhood, and when I was eighteen I started competing with
Moonlight’s Team ‘Nsync’, a synchronized roller skating team.
We won Bronze at the 2002 World Championships in Wuppertal,
Germany in the “Show Group” category.
Currently I teach skating at both Los Angeles rinks, six days a
week, from beginner classes to choreographed routines. I eat,
sleep, and breathe skating and thus have little interest in being in
the rink any more than I already am. But this event is special to
me. This event brought so many people together to cherish the life
and music of an artist. I too have my hair crimped with my 1980’s
vintage crimper (yes, I still have it!) and my roller skate knee highs
on. I am ready to roll.
This tribute skate was Tavis Balkin’s idea, a musician and a DJ at
Moonlight. “His incredible wide-reaching influence, how he could
push the limits of pop music like no other modern day musician yet
still record albums that charted, and how there will never be
another one like him,” Tavis says. This rings true for many of us.
The doors open at 8pm, and the few that are able to lace up fast
enough have the floor to themselves to freely groove to songs like
“Modern Love” and “Sound and Vision.”
The floor is packed by 8:30, the energy of hundreds of people all
coming together to celebrate the life and music of an icon by
expressing themselves physically and through fluid movement,
swaying through the crowd. All walks of life are in attendance:
fathers and daughters, friends celebrating birthdays, couples, and
Moonlight regulars. All are here for different reasons, but everyone
is a part of something unique. I am cruising along the circular floor
with the rest of the crowd, some arms waving in the air along with
the music. Then I head to the center of the floor, where the more
advanced skaters are performing synchronized footwork together,
referred to as “jam skating.” Other skaters are coming in the
middle to show off some spins and dance moves of their own.
We jammed out to “Fame” and “Changes” and “Starman.” And
there’s nothing like rolling while you’re dancing, and if you can
learn some fancy footwork from one of the regulars in the center,
you might get hooked on this hobby for some, life for others. I
think Moonlight is on to something here. This may be the
beginning for tribute skate nights.
Moonlight has open skating sessions nightly, but if chameleon pop
music isn’t your thing, you can skate to rink owner Dominic
Cangelosi’s live organ music every Tuesday. There’s a night for