Anyone who follows me on Instagram or has had a conversation with me in the last 5 months knows: I have a new life and it is roller skating. 🛼 I’m still pretty bad at it, but I’ve come a long way from the first few weeks, in which every attempt ended with me on the ground with a new bruise. (I still fall a lot, but my falls have gotten a lot more controlled. :P) Lately I’ve been practicing front-to-back transitions, crossovers, and heel toe manuals.
Up until recently, my inspiration has come in the form of internet strangers, mostly rhythm skaters and park skaters who post short form videos on Instagram and Reddit. But now, thanks to some magical combination of search terms on YouTube, I’ve entered a dangerous rabbit hole of choreographed skate routines performed by some of my favorite actors from the 1930s and 1950s.
Behold, vintage skate inspo.
Fred and Ginger in Shall We Dance:
Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times:
Charlie also has a really good skating scene in The Rink from 1916, maybe one of the first ever appearances of roller skates on film??
Donald O’Connor in I Love Melvin (the STAIRS 😱!):
…and my personal favorite routine, Gene Kelly in It’s Always Fair Weather (it’s like skate park ballet!):
I think the title of that ^ song, though corny, is a fairly accurate representation of what skating has done for my self-esteem. I was definitely going through some kind of low-key identity crisis before trying roller skating. And even though I still have trouble with confidence most of the time, I like who I am on skates, so I try to be that person as often as possible!