Inside the splendor of snowboarding in New York

For some people, a rink is just a place to go around in a circle, not even very quickly, and not go anywhere. But for her fans and for the creators disc oasisA new skateboarding experience in Central Park, it’s a transformative and spiritual journey – time travel on four wheels.

On Saturday night, more than a thousand skaters thronged the Wollman Rink, formed their quads and took off in sparkling nostalgia. Floodlights illuminated the surrounding trees, as a party-level light show bathed the space in cyan, fuchsia, and gold. The Good Times, that 1970s staple kick off DJ Funkmaster Flex booth, crowds — some wobbly, some more experienced — parted ways for the pros: one dancer in flared jeans fell into a split, another flipped off Its wheels, uncoils to stand on the head. For 10 minutes it was all panties and acrobatics, and then ordinary New Yorkers—many not too far in style—slithered in again.

Stylish bassist, disco funk guitarist, and life skater, Neil Rodgers hovered over opening night like a decorated demigod. He curated the music for Disc Oasis, and with the introductions, introduced its cultural streak from the 1970s and 1980s in New York, when he used to frequent the now-closed city circuits, which were once legendary with Diana Ross and Cher. Kevin Bacon and Robert Downey Jr., too. (The ’80s were wild.) With some skill on wheels, Rodgers said in a recent video interview, “You feel like you have your own special manpower.” “You feel like you can fly.”

Ice skating is there else flash From popularityBut Disk Oasis distinguishes itself from Madinah Oasis other arenas and pop-up events (Rockefeller Center is Temporarily hosting Wheelers too) by its productive value, theatricality, and pedigree. There are thriving disco balls up to eight feet in diameter, and a multi-level stage, created by nominated set designer Tony David Korens, who did just that. Hamilton and Lady Gaga performances. The 13-person cast includes legends of New York’s roller disco, such as the long-tailed skater known as Koto, a staple of City parks for more than four decadeshis signature leg swirls And hubs affected dozens of skaters.

“We call it ice skating,” he said. DiscOasis convinced him to retire—both hips had been replaced—for designer shows, five nights a week.

Energy is ecstatic and contagious. “Being on wheels is heaven for me,” said Robin Myers Anselm, 59, who grew up in Empire Way, Brooklyn storied store. “I feel more connected to myself and my soul when I skate.”

This is true even for beginners, like Robin L. She said, “I put on a really nice costume, so I look good going down.”

Described as an “immersive musical and theatrical experience,” Oasis of Disc started last year outside of Los Angeles, and is the epidemiological brainchild of the CAA agent-led events company. But its founding headquarters has always been New York, and it will be open daily through October.

said Thao Nguyen, executive producer and CEO of Constellation Immersive, the parent company, which has partnered with Live Nation and the Los Angeles Media Fund to showcase the series.

For the New York ski community, it’s first and foremost a good ground. “You know, we’re not fans of the illusion illusion,” said Ton Raab Fleming, a New York native and snowboarder for 50 years, who came for a preview Thursday. That’s mostly because skaters ride or die like him and his girlfriend Lena Davis, Vice President Central Park Dance Skaters Association‘She will skate in the trash,’ she said. But they praised the track’s new sliding surface, painted in primary shades of blue, yellow and red.

The creators of DiscOasis knew that if they won an old school skate crew, the world would follow; Davis, an ageless wonder in rainbow-dotted braids and jewel-encrusted, fringed wheels, helped with the casting. “Work it out, kids!” She encouraged younger dancers, as they cycled through their routines, to a soundtrack that spins from Queen to “Rapper’s Joy.”

Rodgers has created playlists for shows, which happen all night, interspersed with live DJs (daytime is the most relaxing ski). Rodgers, a longtime New Yorker, fashioned his style of skateboarding when he was 12 or 13 on a short stint in Los Angeles, when he tore through town with other kids, running some chores. “I had this wobbly way of skating,” he said. He still does, “Even though I’m going to be 70. And it looks cool.”

His crew excelled even then: “We used to skate to jazz,” he said, recalling their grooves for Wes Montgomery’s 1965 classic guitar. “Bumpin’ on Sunset.”

Fast forward 30 years, and Rodgers had pretty much gotten stuck in skates. But he is deeply energized by his association with DiscOasis, who approaches him for a Los Angeles event, reigniting his fidelity. Now on tour in Europe, he would conjure up small parties wherever he went, one hotel ballroom at a time.

“They raise the rugs for me and create a big dance floor,” he said. “I can skate in a little square. There is no one there, because I skate at such strange hours – 4 or 5 am.” (He doesn’t sleep much. As befits a fashion legend of the disco era, he also has character skates – orange, green, and iris – which They are stuck at customs on their way to Europe. His favorite is a classic pair of black Riedells).

Even for someone well versed in skate culture, the Los Angeles version of DiscOasis offered some lessons. Rodgers said most skaters stick to the rink for only 45 minutes. The space around Wollman contains an offbeat dance floor and some Instagram-ready installations inspired by his music. For example, a giant half-disco ball stuffed with oversized wedding bouquets, pearls and skewed mannequin legs is supposed to symbolize Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” movie he produced.

For Korens, the production designer, the space is Studio 54, but it’s fresher. “We tend to like this idea of ​​an oasis — if you think about the reflective balls and the foliage that come together to make a baby, that’s what we make,” he said. (Think of palm trees and cacti.) And the location of Central Park, with the Manhattan skyline high above, brings its own charm. “It takes the best things about skateboarding and disco, and it literally tears the roof off,” he said.

Like other frequent skateboarders, Korenz has a theory about why addiction persists. He said, “It’s really hard to find an experience in life that is both kinetic and dynamic” — you can showcase your own individual style and also have the company of “a living being that moves together.”

Chernita AndersonThe choreographer saw this as practical. For solos, the cast was all on their own. We were like, ‘Go ahead, live your best life,’ she said. “And that’s what they did. “

He was kicking and kicking high his way through the act Keegan James RubatailThe 20-year-old is a trained musical theater dancer, who started skating just two years ago as a pandemic enforcer. Swing in the company, this is my first contracted professional work. grew up near Ice rink in Amsterdam, New York “I remember going there all middle school and saying, ‘Wow, I wish I could ski backwards and do these cool tricks,’” he said. “And here I am playing in New York City, doing what I dreamed of doing.”

A closing number came—set to “Last Dance” by Donna Summer, of course—and sailed away in search of his seriousness. She had sliders in heads dotted with LEDs, like glowing butterflies.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in New York,” said Samantha O’Grady, a 24-year-old native. She said the skating rinks she ever learned about were closed “by the time I was a teenager,” but the retro vibe of Disc Oasis gave her a flash of how the scene looked ahead of her time. I sent a picture to my mother; She was very jealous. “

First-time visitors were already planning to become regulars, like Robin Ziering, whose wedding was on wheels. “We love to work, we love to dance, we love music – but we live to skate,” she said. “And that’s all there is to it.”

Kalia Richardson contributed reporting.