DJ Mike sets the stage as Andrea Boyes and Martin Newham begin their dancing session on four wheels.
“I want to spread the joy of skating all around the world,” said Boyes, co-owner of Roller Skate Victoria.
Boyes and Newham teach and rent out roller skates in the greater Victoria area. With COVID-19 forcing people around the world to adopt a more isolated lifestyle, roller skating has seen a global resurgence. According to Newham, finding skates to purchase in Victoria is near impossible at the moment as demand has steadily increased since March.
“People are looking for things to do. I mean their favorite places are shut down, you can’t congregate. We have a van full of rental skates that people have been contacting us and renting skates from the van for a week or a month if they want,” said Newham.
Boyes adds that the Covid-friendly activity is cost-effective and versatile.
“People are able to skate in their kitchens, their living rooms, their garages out on the streets…. And so the roller skating world has seen a huge increase in the amount of interest in people taking up roller skating again,” said Boyes.
With Roller Skate Victoria’s in-person training sessions and events put on hold since mid-March due to COVID-19 guidelines, the former figure skating duo started online roller dancing tutorials. So far, they’ve attracted over one hundred students from all across the globe.
“All over Canada, USA…We have students in the UK, Switzerland, Australia, it’s been really cool,” said Boyes.
The students range in age and skill level, with the youngest being five and oldest sixty five. Boyes and Newham are thrilled with the response and are happy to spread their passion for roller skating.
“When people learn something new and they can share it with us, they get an ‘ah ha!’ moment and we get a ‘woo hoo’ moment,” said Newham.
“To be able to share that with people all over the world has been very special for us and we’ve had students tell us it’s really bringing them a lot of light in their life during a tough time,” said Boyes.
Information on Roller Skate Victoria’s lessons can be found at www.rollerskatevictoria.com.