One of the grooviest recreational activities of the 20th century is making a comeback in Greater Victoria, partially thanks to the work of a new organization putting locals on wheels.
Roller Skate Victoria launched in 2018 with a goal to get more people in the region moving and grooving. And so far, there’s been no shortage of interest.
“We teach people how to roller skate from the very beginning, we also teach people how to roller dance … and we throw events so that families and other people can get together on eight wheels and have a great time, listening to awesome retro songs,” said co-founder Vicky Z-Dance. “We’re just trying to spread the love of roller skating as far and wide as we can.”
Z-Dance, whose roller skating name is ‘Vicky Rage,’ along with co-founders Martin Newman (Mart-man) and Andrea Boyes (Skater Boyes) run programs year-round at different locations in Victoria, Esquimalt and Saanich.
In the summer they host drop-in nights like Roller Sweat on Wednesdays, Friday Night Skates and Sunday Sunset Skates, along with a series of weekend workshops, disco nights and two youth summer camps. The group has hosted everything from hula hoop roller skating workshops to a Roller Disco Puppy Party.
|Vicky Rage Z-Dance says rollerskating is therapeutic and provides her with “pure happiness and joy.” (Nina Grossman/News Staff)|
Skates and safety equipment are always available for an additional fee. The programs continue into the fall when their roller skate academy kicks up, offering classes for all skill-levels and ages.
In fact, roller skating is one of the most inclusive activities there is – the group’s summer camps are open to kids as young as five-years-old.
“You don’t have to know how to roller skate, we’ll teach you from the ground up,” Z-Dance said, adding that since they’ve launched, the programs and drop-in nights have grown in popularity. Friday Night Skates have drawn up to 200 people.
“I think in general people are more cognizant of their health and being active. And roller skating is something you can do where you just put them on and you’re instantly active,” she said. “You have to use all of your stabilization muscles and it’s a really good workout.
“You can dance on your skates, you can do tricks on your skates. You can be up in the air, you can be on the ground, break dancing … there’s all sorts of stuff you can do.”
|Mike Beinder and daughters Lexi and Abby come to skate nights regularly for family time. On Sunday evening the trio tore up the lacrosse box at Lambrick Park during the Sunset Skate. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)|
Victoria’s Eves of Destruction are a well-known roller derby team, consistently bringing a fierce, unmatched energy to rinks around B.C. But Roller Skate Victoria offers a creative, recreational outlet for those who don’t want to get competitive.
For Z-Dance, who spent 10 years in the roller derby world, skating isn’t just good for her body – it’s good for her mind.
“It’s just pure joy and happiness. The flow [I] get when I’m skating around to the music and just matching the beat with each stroke, it’s just very therapeutic. I have anxiety and depression and this helps me so much. Just to be able to function in my day-to-day life, I have this to look forward to every single day.
“Trends are cyclical and this generation has finally gotten it together that roller skating is awesome and it’s just taking over the world!”
Roller Skate Victoria summer camps run next week (July 22-26) and also Aug. 26-30. For more information about all of their programs, visit the group’s Facebook page @rollerskatevictoria.
|(From left to right) Andrea Boyes (Skater Boyes), Vicky Rage Z-Dance and Martin Newman (Mart-man) started Roller Skate Victoria to get more people in the region on wheels. The trio enjoyed some skate time during the weekly Sunset Skate on Sunday. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)|