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“Style Roller Skating” – wtf?

The African-American roller skating subculture is all about styles. 

Consequently this form of roller skating is often named “Style Roller Skating”. But: What is Style Roller Skating? A definition was presented by Tasha and Norbert Klusmann from the National African American Roller Skating Archives at the Sk8-a-Thon in Atlanta.

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An athletic art form comprised of numerous regional tempo based roller skating styles; a unique mixture of stride, stroke, footwork and movements to set tempos; it is the fusion of music culture and roller skating.
“Style’ roller skating developed in the African-American community when roller rinks began to use [vinyl] records at public roller skating sessions. During the late 1950’s roller skating rinks began to convert from playing organ music to playing popular records during public roller skating sessions. Skaters who hat [waltzed] to the sound of pipe organs began to roller skate to the same music they heard on the radio. Just as the music industry has had a profound impact on other areas of America’s artistic and social culture it impacted roller skating. The way skaters moved around the roller rink began to change, the entire body of skaters was transforming; skate innovators and daredevils who had always added their unique variations, stunts, and tricks, began to take things to a new level. Playing records meant an infusion of all types of music; no longer was the music mono, and there was a full range of instruments and beats to move to. As the country entered its musical revolution, black roller skaters began putting together the movements, strides, and steps that is “STYLE’ roller skating.

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The essence is the unique connection of music and skating. Regional music styles influence local skating styles, same as the DJs in the roller rinks have impact on music producers’ and artists’ creativity.

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