My Personal Narrative: Skating And Skate City

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Growing up, from when I was a toddler all the way through 8th or 9th grade, skating and Skate City was a major destination in my life. When I was 6 years old living in Germany, one of my favorite family outings was going to the skating rink. I remember going for my brothers’ birthday parties or going with our church family. It was always a big group affair. When I moved to Aurora, CO in 2006—about 4th or 5th grade—my dad and I started going on “Daddy-daughter dates” to Skate City, just the two of us. It became a way that we bonded, and some of my most wonderful memories of skating come from being with him. As I got older and into middle school Skate City transitioned from being a place where I hung out with my family, to a place where I hung …show more content…
There was always a push to see who could do the latest and coolest dance moves, so we would “Pop, Lock, and Drop It”, “1, 2, step”, “Dougie”, and “Jerk”, all with the added element of roller skating. I was never that great at skating, but being in the rink and stumbling, trying to dance always made me feel connected to my friends, my family, and my personal history. Beyoncé has this quote where she says “If you don’t take the time to analyze your life, you’ll never realize all of the dots that are connected” (Anon 2013) and analyzing Skate City Academy and my own experience with Skate City, has revealed a lot of connected dots. I found out recently, after concluding my research that when we lived in Colorado Springs—while I was still being lugged around in an infant carrier—my parents used to take us to this very Skate City. I know that this is why I felt drawn to pick this location for my ethnography. The connection I felt to the rink prior to even arriving, was a bodily memory that I had carried and nourished all of my …show more content…
Kirin Narayan (1993) discusses how studying a community or place that you are familiar with can have a profound effect on how you perceive it. It opens your eyes to viewing your own experiences in a new way. As Narayan “[reflects] on India with the vocabulary of a social analyst…new light is shed on many of the experiences that have shaped [her] into the person... [she is] today” (1993: 678). Examining Skate City with the vocabulary of a dance ethnographer, has definitely shed light on the experiences that I had as a child that have molded me into who am now. However, I would say that having grown up in the environment and yet still being completely foreign to it also presented its own challenges. Narayan addresses this saying that “given the diversity within cultural domains and across groups, even the most experienced of ‘native’ anthropologists cannot know everything about his or her own society” (1993: 678). I experienced this in the context of Skate City Academy, as I felt a lot of self-induced pressure to feel natural in the surroundings. I am a black woman and growing up, my siblings and I used to love watching films like ATL (Anon 2006) or Roll Bounce (Anon 2005), where roller skating was presented as a significant part in the history of African-American culture. This tie between historical roots and the majority black population of Skate City Academy manifested as an expectation for me to skate well. Entering a

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