So you’ve decided you want to be a roller dancer. But you’re not sure whether you can use your inline skates for artistic skating. Can you dance with inline skates, really? Can you jam skate or moonwalk or spin or do everything else roller disco dancers do in rinks?
Related: Best Roller Skates for Dancing
In this post, I combine my ideas and those of people I’ve skated with to answer your question. Here, you’ll learn ways and tricks of modifying your boots so that they become useful for roller dancing.
Roller Skates or Inline Skates for Roller Dancing?
Many roller disco dancers out there seem to favor roller skates over inline skates. And this roller skate over rollerblade preference seems to have been happening since forever.
It’s like lots of skaters believe quad skates were designed for this very purpose — roller dancing. In fact, many people think it’s harder to dance on inline skates than on roller skates.
But is that claim true? Is it harder to roller dance on inline skates than on quads?
A girl I skate sidewalks with and a colleague at work tell me they find it harder to dance on inlines. “But what exactly do you find more difficult, Liz?”I asked. Liz replied that “Break dancing when I’m jam skating is pretty easy on inline skates.
“Heck, breakdancing is actually easier on inline skates. But when it comes to the skating part of the play, I find that I gotta try harder while on rollerblades.”
Also Read: Easy Ways to Carry Your Inline Skates
Many Inline Skaters on the Roller Dancing Scene These Days
If you have been to roller rinks recently, you’ve noticed that some roller dancers actually use inlines skates And it doesn’t seem to me like those folks are struggling at all. Both good inline dancers and good rollerskate dancers put up pretty decent shows.
You can dance or jam-skate in pretty much any kind of boot as long as you’re having fun. What makes the biggest difference isn’t the equipment you’re using. What makes the biggest difference is your roller dancing skill and technique.
Switching from quads to inlines and vice versa will feel different. But you certainly can waltz at rinks and parks using either boot type.
You can moonwalk on inline skates (have you ever watched MJ moonwalking?). You can also do spins, side turns, barrel rolls, and everything in between. Related Post: How to Spin on Inline Skates
Can You Use Inline Hockey Skates for Roller Dancing?
Yes, you can use inline hockey skates for roller dancing. Good dancers can use pretty much any boot, including aggressive skates, freestyle skates, urban skates, speed skates, hockey skates, and indoor inline skates. In the final analysis, it’s down to personal preference rather than one boot type being superior to the other in some way.
A girl in my neighborhood roller dances on hockey skates. And she does it quite well. Actually, she only roller dances on rollerblades. She says she enjoys her pastime more when doing it on rollerblades than on quads.
But she did have to replace her frame with a shorter one to boost maneuverability and agility. If you’ve ever watched Slalom inline skaters do their thing, you probably noticed that the frames weren’t super long. That’s the kind of frame you need for inline dance.
Ann isn’t the only one that dances with inline skates. I’ve seen other skaters use hockey skates for roller dancing, too. Go to Golden Gate Park in California, and you’ll see it for yourself.
Best Dance Rollerblades: Smaller Wheels, Shorter Frame, and Rockering Rollerblades
According to the majority of the inline skaters I’ve talked to, seen at parks and rinks, or interacted with online, rollerblades are great for dancing. But you want to make a few changes to your boot to customize it for roller dancing. Here are some of the adjustments that will help turn your rollerblades into competent roller dancing gear.
Switch to Smaller Wheels
Since roller dancing is done mostly on smooth, hard surfaces, swap out your existing larger softer wheels for smaller harder ones. Smaller, harder wheels are great because they accelerate super fast and are easier to maneuver. The downside is that you’ll need to replace them more often because they wear somewhat faster.
Another idea: buy new rollerblade wheels and put them in the middle of the frame. As for the existing worn wheels, put them at the ends of the frame.
The result is a rollerblade with only the middle wheels touching the dance floor while the rest of the wheels stay up. I’ve not tried this, but Ann tells me nothing works better for rink or park dancing than rollerblades with this kind of wheel configuration.
Shorten the Frames to Increase Agility
Skates with shorter frames work best when it comes to roller dancing. Another skater I know (let’s call her Carol) roller dances on Rollerblade Twisters.
Her Twisters came with stock 250mm frames. And she just had to take them off for shorter ones. So, she ponied up for 231mm Seba frames and put them on her rollerblades. And it was a day-and-night difference afterward.
Shorter frames make it easier to maneuver and turn on rollerblades. And that’s what dance is all about.
Try Rockering Your Rollerblades
One way to convert your rollerblades into better roller dance boots is to rocker them. Dancing on rockered rollerblades does feel somewhat easier and better.
Ann uses a banana rocker setup on her rollerblades. Each skate in her setup features four wheels. She allows about 4mm between the outer two wheels and the two wheels in the middle of the frame.
And what does she get from this rocker setup? Maneuverability and agility, the ability to turn on a dime and spin to her heart’s content.
Did you recently buy a new set of wheels? Put two of them in the middle of the frame and two worn ones at the ends. Doing this helps rocker the skates and supercharges agility.
Go for Light, Flexible Boots
While you can jam skate in pretty much any rollerblades, lighter, more flexible boots work best. A guy who used to skate outdoors with my husband started roller dancing in his Salmon inline skates, but they proved to be a little too heavy.
So, he ordered a lighter skate, and he was waltzing on those carbon boots like a dream. Well, the lightest boots also happen to be the priciest for the most part. But no one’s saying that you have to invest in the most expensive full-carbon skate.
My husband roller dances in Rollerblade Metroblades, but he had to swap out the wheels for smaller ones. Some Adapt Rollerblades are also pretty light and can be used for normal rolling around as well as mesmerizing crowds at parks and rinks.
But inline skates aren’t super flexible. So…
Loosen Them Up a Bit
Most inline skates restrict movement around the ankles. And since roller dancing entails performing all sorts of ankle-aided movements and maneuvers, you’ll want to loosen your skates up a tad.
Also, keep the top of your rollerblades loose enough. But doesn’t the same apply to artistic roller skates and dance quads? So, flexibility is key when it comes to dancing on inline skates.
Dancing With Rollerblades: Conclusion
Most people think that roller dance works best when done with roller skates rather than with rollerblades. They feel that it’s harder to perform certain intricate moves in inlines. However, you can dance in any boot type you like if you’re willing to learn and make the necessary skate adjustments.
Rockering your rollerblades, installing shorter frames, and swapping out larger wheels for smaller ones helps immensely. One way to rocker the skates is to have new wheels in the center of the boot and worn-down wheels at both ends of the frames.
Happy roller dancing!