While I’ve been arduously working on Roller Derby Saved My Soul, there is one aspect of the production that has often eluded me: the roller skating. You’d think that with a show that involves roller skating this would be my first priority, but it is surprisingly harder than you think to find places to roller skate. Skating rinks seem to have gone the way of the newspaper (what?) with very few of them around and far between. Even Roller Derby teams seem to use de-iced hockey arena’s or warehouses.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a bad skater and I’ve picked up a lot on my own and from some training with various roller derby leagues. That said, for the show, I need to take it to another level. So after hearing about this place for months from the Toronto Roller Derby League, I finally packed up my skates, grabbed my Hamilton Fringe Stage Manager (hereby known as HFSM) and GO Trained it out to Mississauga where I found my personal paradise.
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Scooter’s Roller Palace!
Every Thursday night they have Adult Roller Skating Lessons for an hour, followed by Nostalgia Night. The lessons were taught by this older gentleman with a pony tail who really caters his lesson to each person’s individual level. My HFSM put on skates for the first time since she was a child and still had a lot of fun (not to mention gained a new appreciation for what I do up on stage). It was one helluva workout. I learned so much in just one lesson (let’s just say I can roll around on one foot now) and was given a lot of tips to work on at home without skates. These include ankle turns, getting ankle weights to walk around in so I get used to lifting my feet with added weight, walking backwards of a treadmill or just at home to get used to skating backwords, proper footwork for turns, ect… Plus, I was given the name of a skating teacher who might be able to give me private lessons for future Roller Derby Saved My Soul productions. I even met some current and future Hammer City Roller Girls, which was incredibly cool. Now that I know exactly where Scooter’s is, you can be sure I’ll be back!
Lesson over, we rolled over to the snack bar for slushies and chips and that’s when the magic began. The lights dimmed, the music started pumping through the speakers, and the whole place became an arrangement of blinking Christmas lights, neon and tiny disco balls. Some people even had little lights on their skates – which note to self – mention to future lighting designer…
We watched for a bit as singles and couples waltzed around. They were so good! And then we hit the floor ourselves.
I let my hair down hoping it flipped out in that Farrah Fawcett way it sometimes does while the speakers blared that “Heaven, must be missing an angel…”
Seriously. I cannot wait to go back. If you’re in Toronto or Hamilton and feel like attending the roller disco with me again, please let me know. I’d love the company. Until then, I encourage you to enjoy the disco in the privacy of your own home or office space.