Things Around Town

"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.

#davidbowie #rollerskating #moonlight

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