The styles of roller dance and rhythm skating have long and complex histories with deep roots within Black North American culture where styles are so diverse, even between states and rinks. As roller dance has grown and spread throughout the world different places have developed their own expressions of what roller dance is to them. This blog isn’t about the history of roller dance because we think that we could all do with a bit of learning from origin communities. We recommend following Black skaters on socials and starting your learning journey with the documentaries United Skates and Roller Dreams, which you can now stream on Binge. Instead, we’re letting you in on a little bit of RollerFit history and finding out how roller dance has become a big part of our program. Here at RollerFit, we love a bit of roller dance and rhythm skating. There’s something about the blend of technicality and flow that makes our brains, hearts and souls light up.
The RollerFit and roller dance love story all began with Stacey, our Founder, and a random roller dance video on Facebook in 2014. Coming back from surgery on her knee, Stacey knew artistic skating at her previous level was not going to work, she needed a new way to express herself on skates. Turns out she wasn’t the only person on the RollerFit team who was intrigued by roller dance and rhythm skating. Danger and Baby Cakes kicked the learning journey off, heading to the USA in July 2014, giving Stacey that extra bit of inspiration. Then the stars aligned (or the algorithm did its thing) and Stacey saw a post from Michelle, the owner of Skate Love Barcelona, promoting a meet up for the iconic festival. Stacey was in! She got a ticket, booked flights and was off. As it turns out, it was a kind of fate, not only finding a new skate passion but also meeting friends Michelle Steilen (aka Estrojen) and Tony Limtiaco (aka T-Roll).
When Stacey arrived back in the land of Oz, she got straight to teaching this newfound love to the RollerFit team and in 2015 the whole team jetted off to Barcelona to keep that learning process going. Roller dance and rhythm skating has been a part of the RollerFit program for over 6 years now. We are super stoked that dance classes have been made available to skaters in 5 states and territories and that we’ve had the opportunity to spread that dance love further with our events like Skate Fest and the RollerFit Retreat. Since those Barcelona days, the RollerFit team have not stopped practising and our coaches have continued their roller dance education, learning from skilled skaters from across the world.
We’ve even been super lucky to bring out to Australia our dear friend and mentor, Tony, who Stacey met in a sandwich shop in Barcelona on that fateful trip. For those who haven’t heard of Tony or had the opportunity to witness his smooth moves and brilliant wit, let us be the first to tell you that you are missing out. Tony is a massive part of RollerFit and our roller dance repertoire, so we want to take this opportunity to thank him for his generous spirit and wild skills. If you ever find yourself in Long Beach, California, make sure to pay him a visit at his Rhythm and Rolling Dance School.
If you like the sound of giving roller dancing a try, we have venues around Australia that can help you get started. Head to our locations page and check out what’s available near you. In the meantime, to help get you in the mood, Tony has shared some of his fave dance tunes with us and you! Check out our T-Roll Jams playlist on Spotify to find your new groove. Enjoy and we can’t wait to dance with you soon 💖