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You can ROLLERDANCE with Dance Skate Club in Portland

++ Get out (but, like, not too far). We all love and appreciate the positive effects of the Maine outdoors. Hopefully we’ll be back to all kinds of adventuring soon. But for now, press pause. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry has some great advice: stay close to home, steer clear of busy locations, keep your distance (and stick to walking/hiking with folks from your household). ++

You can ROLLERDANCE with Dance Skate Club in Portland

It’s rollerdance. In Portland! Hot damn!

If your mind immediately flashed back to Skate Nights circa 1987 and smooth skate dancers strutting it up at center rink – then yes, that’s exactly what we’re talking about.

Dance Skate Club just launched in January. And it’s clear I’m not the only person who heard about it and thought ARE YOU KIDDING HOLY SKATES YES HECK YES! The next session of beginner and intermediate classes has already sold out.

But don’t get down if you didn’t get in this time around. There are future sessions to look forward to (follow the Facebook page for updates). So ready your skates (or acquire some skates if you don’t own any) and maybe pick out a rad pair of pants that you can boogie in.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve been on skates and you’d like to shake off the dust, look out for future Safety Dance Clinics, two-hour clinics where you’ll practice standing, rolling, stopping, and stepping on skates, and you’ll learn how to fall safely, too.

Skates on, it’s time to dance. Shannon Bryan photo

Dance Skate Club officially launched in January and is brought to you by the same super cool skaters behind Derby Skate Club. Lisa “Olive Spankins” Bassett, who co-founded Derby Skate Club in 2012, and Alyssa ‘Spry Icicle’ Bergeron, a Derby Skate Club instructor, teamed up to instruct beginner and intermediate classes. Both Lisa and Alyssa are former Maine Roller Derby skaters familiar with the competitive side of skating. But Dance Skate Club and Derby Skate Club are all about the on-skate fitness – no contact, no competition. This is 100 percent fun.

Truth is, the idea for Dance Skate Club was rolling around in Lisa’s mind for a few years. But being busy with Derby Skate Club – and knowing how much planning and learning would need to go into launching a rollerdance class – the idea kept getting pushed to “some day.

Off-skates warm-up at the start of an intermediate Dance Skate Class. Shannon Bryan photo

But as skater’s fate would have it, the rollerdance idea was expedited by the unfortunate and unexpected closing of Happy Wheels Skate Center in Portland this past December.

Derby Skate Club classes were held there (the rink was also home to Maine Roller Derby and Studio Fit Zumba classes), and skaters were left scrambling for a new space.

The hunt for space continues (so if you know anyone with 5,000 square feet of unobstructed space with a skataeble floor, definitely get in touch), but that unexpected closing opened the door for Dance Skate Club.

Learning new steps during a Dance Skate Club class at Riverton Elementary School in Portland. Shannon Bryan photo

Dancing on skates requires a lot less space than full-on skating does, which meant there were more possible options for venues. Turns out, Lisa already had a great relationship with the people at Riverton Elementary School, where she’d hosted off-skates workouts before. So she reached out, tested her skates on the floor of the cafeteria, and booked out the first six-week session.

You can guess at what’s happened in the couple of months since then: Dance Skate Club is a hit. No surprise!

Dance Skate Club instructor Alyssa Bergeron leads the class through some choreography. Shannon Bryan photo

At its core, Dance Skate Club is about moving your body. It just so happens that you’ll do it in a really unique and fun way. To join the beginner class, you do need to know how to skate and you do need to own your own skates. You don’t need to be a good dancer. It’s not about nailing each move or being the slickest skater the world has ever seen. As Lisa often says, “If you’re moving, you’re perfect.”

Experimenting with balance and gliding. Shannon Bryan photo

That said, it’s possible you will be an amazing rollerdancer. You’ll definitely have an excellent time.

All Dance Skate Club classes are women-center of and open to cis and trans women, trans men, genderqueer, non binary folks age 18 and older.

There’s great energy in this space, too – classes are welcoming and upbeat and, in addition to learning new choreography, you’ll have some time to experiment with new skills like balancing on one skate and gliding across the floor.

Lisa “Olive Spankins” Bassett demonstrates new moves during an intermediate Dance Skate Club class. Shannon Bryan photo

There’s no telling where your rollerdance skills might take you. Maybe you’ll be the star at some rink of the future, mesmerizing the masses with your dance skate prowess. Or maybe you’ll keep it low-key, occasionally busting a move mid-skate, impressing your friends and those lucky enough to witness it.

Whatever path you choose, it starts with signing up. But like later, when there’s a new session that has space because the one coming up is full. I mentioned that it’s full, right?

Dance Skate Club

Beginner and intermediate classes held at Riverton Elementary School, 1600 Forest Ave, Portland.
Next session is FULL. So sad!
Check out dskateclub.com and www.facebook.com/DerbySkateClub to stay apprised of upcoming classes.

Shannon Bryan

Shannon Bryan

I don't like "exercise" any more than you do. But you know what I do like? Paddleboarding with a friend all afternoon (and then sitting in the grass to drink chardonnay). Bike rides and nachos, hikes, yoga classes held in breweries, group paddles to Fort Gorges, you get the idea. Because Maine is my gym.