Disco ain't dead. Neither is roller skating. And it just so happens that they go together like pastel colors and leisure suits.
Grand Central co-owner Rico Lespagnon remembers the old days, and he's been bringing back the fun, funky, music-centric vibe of the 1970s with his monthly Roller Disco getdown.
Don't know much about partying on skates? No worries, babe. Just keep cool. Practice your figure eights. And check out Rico's five-part guide.
"We try to bring the old DJs that knew this era," Lespagnon says. "I ask them to play vinyl only, because I think that matches with this era. The sound is different, the attitude of the DJ is different, the selection, the way they mix and change the disc is very different. Today, most DJs change the track every 40 or 50 seconds, but we used to play the track from beginning to end. You used to celebrate the artist who made the record. He made the record with an intro, a middle, a break, and an end."
"Uptempo disco at 120 to 130 BPM, I think it's too much for roller skates," Rico explains. "We try to use cool disco, more R&B and more funky. There is a difference between the disco that everybody is used to hearing, like Gloria Gaynor and the Bee Gees, and roller disco. DJ Danny Krivit taught me that Roller Disco is a genre. It's disco, but something cool, easy, smooth. There is also a dance space in the middle of Grand Central, people without skates, and we have to make everybody dance. So we play every kind of music."
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"It's really cool to skate with music in your ear. It's very easy, and it's very cool to dance with roller skates. The movement is smooth. You can roll, you can turn, you can go backward. When you have people doing skate tricks on the ramp, it's rough, it's aggressive, it's tough. But when you're listening to disco, it's cool and you just want to roll."
Just Be You
"Disco is an attitude," Rico insists. "You don't have to be dressed to go to the masquerade party. You don't have to wear big thick hair. It's not a costume party. It's more just to have a disco touch to your clothes, something impressive, something cool. I really want people dressed to impress. You go out tonight, so you take care of you. I don't want flip-flops, no dirty t-shirts or anything like that. I want people to take care of what they're going to wear tonight. I love extravaganza. We have the host Juleisy y Karla. How cool they are, extravagant. That's part of the show too. I love this."
Disco for Disco's Sake
"People go to lose themselves in this party. I really want a different party, like we used to have when it was just about the music and not your iPhone, your text, your selfie," Lespagnon says, recalling the original days of disco. "The whole nightclub industry has changed. And it's not just the people inside. The club owners, like me, just try to buy out the best DJ to sell more bottles. It's not the good thing. It's not right. I really try for this party to be something different, the way we used to enjoy the night. It's a different energy. It's not just about the DJ. It's about the music. It's about the people you're going to meet inside, how they are going to dance, how they are going to dress, how they are going to enjoy the party. It's not about who is going to have the most expensive table and the most bottles. It's not that."
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Roller Disco. With DJ Victor Rosado. Friday, February 6. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The party starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $10 plus fees via grandcentralmiami.com. Age 18 and up. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.
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