Roller skating has regained its popularity
PHILADELPHIA – The night started wavering.
But after a few laps, I was sliding around the rink lost to the tunes of Luther Vandross’ “Never Too Much” and The Fat Back Band classic, “I Found Lov’n”.
I waited for the first chords of New Edition’s “Candy Girl” but no luck.
No, I wasn’t dreaming about 1985.
I was currently living at the Wells Fargo Center. The Spectacor Events & Entertainment group, a division of Comcast Spectacor, has partnered with the local skating team, Great on Skates, to deliver the Roller Skating at the Wells Fargo experience. The floor under the Philadelphia Flyers rink was transformed into an ice rink because, in the end, roller skating came back into our consciousness. It’s fun. It is compatible with TikTok. And thanks to the supergroup Silk Sonic of Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak, roller skating had its own theme song, aptly named “Skate”.
But the bottom line is that roller skating is nostalgic: It reminds us of a simpler time when strobe lights were on the party and it only took one pair skate to fall in love.
“We just found out that the popularity has skyrocketed,” said Emily Dunham, senior vice president of Spectacor Events & Entertainment at Wells Fargo, of the one-day event which drew nearly 1 000 guests every seven consecutive hours. skating sessions. “We wanted to find new events, safe events that could bring the community together and given the popularity of skating we knew it would be a winner. “
The Roller Skating experience at Wells Fargo Center was a once in a lifetime affair, but, and “although they are not 100% sure”, it looks like there are plans to do it again. The South Philly location isn’t the only place event planners have chosen to make their flooring suitable for skateboarding. Dilworth Plaza at City Hall and Blue Cross RiverRink along the Delaware River waterfront are emerging from successful and filled seasons of skateboarding. There has been a 20% increase in attendance at the RiverRink this year from pre-pandemic numbers, said Jackie Lai, director of parks and attractions for the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation which operates the rink.
The real winners, however, are the year-round ice rinks. A popular hangout for tweens and teens in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, roller skating rinks had become one of the childhood pasts whose popularity was replaced by home video games. Many ice rinks closed as inline skating became popular and businesses moved from the city to the suburbs.
However, this summer, according to Tracy Medley, Managing Partner of Camden’s Millennium Skate World, the sessions filled up before they started. “The resurgence is bringing back older, mature skaters who made roller skating popular back then,” said Medley.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when quads – the classic four-wheelers – emerged from our basement storage bins in Nordstrom and on Amazon’s waiting lists. (Much like bikes, there appears to be a shortage of roller skates.) But India Bernardino, founder and co-owner of Great on Skates, said her resurgence had a lot to do with the pandemic and everything to do with social media. .
“People couldn’t get together, but they could go out and skate,” Bernardino said. Skaters who mastered their dance techniques – as well as yogis who did perfect handstand – shared videos of them skating fast, skating backwards and turning between fast backward skating and skating. fast back. “People were posting new skating videos every day and before they knew it they were until day 65 in a 365 day skating race.”
This is where Bernadino comes in. The kids – and let’s admit the adults too – wanted to show off their skills, but they were rusty. They wanted to skate like Instagram and TikToker street skateboarders like Kamille Boyd-Gillmore from Atlanta and Ana Coto from Los Angeles. Bernardino looked up and realized that the weekly beginner and intermediate skating lessons she teaches with her Great On Skates business partner, Shemar Cunningham, were sold out.
“It’s about tricks and dancing now, the rawness of skating culture. It’s all about the art, ”said Bernadino, who teaches students to dance, skate backwards and even do push-pulls.
South Philadelphia roller skater Clyde “Ice” McCoy (center) skates with Dominique Dunlap (right) as roller skating instructor Cameron King walks past them at the ice rink at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.