Things Around Town

February 23, 2016

 

 

 "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 

everybody.

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