Jam Skating, What Now

Combining different dancing forms while on skates, jam skating gained popularity during the 90s and is now enjoying a big spurt in attention.

During the lockdown, an Instagram feed of one Oumi Janta moving her lithe body encased in a canary-yellow number, gyrating to an ambient-electro track, created quite a flutter. Her dancing skills withstanding, it was the feat of balancing herself on a pair of roller-blades while doing so, took the fancy of the netizens, making them woke to the discipline of jam skating.

Jam Skating What?

Combining different dancing forms while on skates, jam skating, incorporates stylistic influences from break-dancing, rhythm skating, ice-skating, gymnastics, and modern dance forms like hip-hop, krump, & jazz to any kind of music. Notably, jam skating skills actually takes into account the various kinds of skates. In general, the skates specifically used for these performance pieces are quads –which provide the flexibility with the solid wheel-base — for intricate footwork.

Typically, jam skaters prefer speed-styled ankle boots with a low cut which are made out of lighter materials to accord greater freedom of movement and ease of performing tricks. Dance toe plugs are usually replaced for jumping toe stops.

How Did It Start?

It gained popularity during the early 1990s, was still going decently strong and is now enjoying a big spurt in attention. Believed to have originated in the Great Lakes region, a bi-national Canadian–American region, and Florida, it traces its roots to the bell-bottom days of the traditional roller disco and disco balls, which was later scaled to the 21st-century sensibilities.

In 1997, Jamskate Association, based out of Orlando, Florida was formed to unite various roller skating clubs who shared a common style of skating. They settled on 'Jamskate', to describe this type of skating on quad rollers. From 2002, the World Skating Association (WSA) began to sanction jam skating related events — trade meets and performance 'battles', mostly in the USA and all around the world.

Jam Skating In Style

Over the years the free-flowing movements of jam skating based on the relevant styles have evolved some particular expressions of its own like the rexing, crazy legs, shuffle skating, toe jamming and freestyle rhythm skating and the likes. However, the most interesting thing to note is that this discipline is not bound by any prescribed moves. Since most of the jam skaters already have some kind of grounding in some dance form or the other, they adapt it to a pair of skates, and further interpretations make it an ultimate exciting and diverse display.

Healthy Dancing

Besides dancing, jam skating is also a great routine to improve one's body-balance, sprightliness, motility, coordination, and core. Many take it up as a workout routine.