The J.B. Skate & Chicago's Roller Dance Scene

This past weekend, I was exposed to an amazing and original scene here in Chicago, the roller skating scene.  On a night out at a roller rink, I expected the usual plain roller activities that I experienced growing up in Wisconsin, couples skating and a game of limbo.  We knew going in to the night that the musical selection was going to be mostly hip-hop, but we did not expect to see such fancy footwork and dance routines, on skates nonetheless.  It was like a roller version of Soul Train.

After coming home and doing some research, it turns out that roller dancing is pretty significant on Chicago's south side.  In fact, Chicago's very own The Rink is known for developing the J.B. Skate, a roller dance move based on those of James Brown.  It's not surprising that this form of dance came from the same lineage as the legendary South Side swing step, especially when the couples are skating together.

What impressed me was that "old school" funk music was being remixed, but then set to a timeless dance.  No matter what era it is, gliding across the floor ALWAYS looks cool.  This scene immortalizes not only James Brown, but also the music of his band members, too, like Fred Wesley and Clyde Stubblefield.  As a trombonist, hearing a remix of Fred Wesley's playing always excites me.  And if this YouTube video doesn't excite you, check your pulse.

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