Some American skateboarders are creating new moves by combining longboarding and dance.
This version of the activity is already popular in southern California. It has also become popular in cities like Paris, France and Seoul, South Korea.
Reporters from The Associated Press recently spoke with some skaters about the unusual activity. The AP described it as bringing together skating and dance -- with a little danger as well.
Hannah Dooling told the AP she often joins friends in Santa Monica, near Los Angeles, where they enjoy longboard dancing and doing tricks.
Longboards started out as a way for surfers to keep in shape when they were not in the water. They are longer than traditional skateboards. The added length can be more difficult to move with, but many skaters say they can be more graceful on a longboard.
Today, skaters use longboards to make sidewalk turns and bomb hills. They also use them for longboard dancing.
Dooling, who is 30 years old, showed off some of her moves during a recent night in an empty parking lot in Santa Monica. She was joined by her 33-year-old friend Yun Huang and Jane Kang and Christie Goodman. Kang and Goodman are both 29.
Everyone in the group wore wide-leg pants and flat-bottomed shoes for riding. The friends get together most Saturday and Sunday afternoons if the weather is nice.
The meetups are supported by the Dancing Foundation. The non-profit group started with assistance from American technology company Google. The organization was started by Achille Brighton, a 39-year-old software engineer.
Longboard dance is still quite young. But Brighton told the AP it has already spread worldwide – from southern California to Paris to Seoul. He said those places have public squares and a lot of open spaces where people can watch the skaters.
“You don’t need skate parks. You just need roads," Brighton said. "And because you do it in public, you’re out there, people see it. And they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s kind of cool.’”
Dooling was one of the first to try longboard dancing. She learned to skate in the northwestern city of Seattle, Washington. Now, she works remotely for the technology company Amazon in Los Angeles. Dooling said she did not know anybody when she first moved to the area with her partner in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through skating, she said, she found a community.
Huang, a native of Melbourne, Australia, started skating during the pandemic. Some days, her board and her dog were the only things that would get her outdoors and moving.
“We were all kind of depressed from COVID," she told the AP. "I tried meditation before. That didn’t work for me, but I felt like I could really be in the zone with this.”
Brighton said he thinks one thing that ties together longboarding and longboard dancing is danger. You might miss a step; you might fall; you might get hurt, he said.
“And that’s the exciting bit.”
I’m Bryan Lynn.
The Associated Press reported this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
graceful – adj. moving in a smooth, relaxed and attractive way
parking lot – n. a place where vehicles can be parked
remote – n. far away
depressed – adj. very unhappy
meditation – n. an activity where people try to calm thoughts for a long period in order to relax
in the zone – idiom. to be happy or excited because you are doing something very skillfully and easily
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