Here's a rambling draft. Constructive comments and additions welcomed.
Skating in general is a positive socially-redeeming activity. It is at once an individual and a group activity. It is good clean fun and an escape from our daily labors. It is also relatively cheap. Quad dance skating falls into this group.
Skating improves muscle, balance and rhythm. FYI - because of the quad skate action, the muscle groups used to keep balance and to stride are somewhat different (amount of effort required and placement of resisting forces) than with other types of skates.
Quad Roller Skating has a long history. It is recorded that Joseph Merlin made the first roller skate circa 1740. In the 1800's, it was the fad for the upper crust, and indeed royalty, to roller skate in great stately halls. By the early 20th. century, over 14 million North Americans were roller skating regularly. Skating rinks became community centers. People belonged to skating clubs, took lessons and became life-long skaters.
Quad Freestyle Rhythm Skating is a relatively new manifestation of roller skating – a child of the Disco Boogie era of the '70's and '80's (much to my chagrin). It has unique qualities that make it a valid distinct subset of Roller Skating – worthy of being nurtured and known. However, unlike other types of skating like figure, speed, Jump-Up or trick, which are primarily competitive and/or athletically-oriented, rhythm skating's primary aim is to synchronize to the beat of the music being played – not like solders but with freedom and finesse – and with as little effort as possible. The saved energy is used to freestyle. This distinguishes quad freestyle rhythm skating.
Working with the skater, the Law's of Physics, biomechanics and machines come together. The kind of dance moves made possible can't be duplicated with any other type of skate – though it may be controversial to say so. One can calculate the mass and polar moments of inertia and kinetic energy of the wheels independently and as a group. They show with numbers what the skater feels - gyroscopic forces tugging and pulling the skates as they take on a life of their own. These forces (I call it the Kick) are made by the skater in motion but they are shaped and focused by the geometry of the skates and wheels.
Narrow in-line skate wheels, as a group, form a straight horizontal line, front to back and cannot pivot independently. Wide quad wheels, as a group, form a horizontal plane and the front and back wheels can pivot independently. This makes a real difference to how a skater can move their feet and legs as they roll across the floor. Quads allow a more natural movement. From my experience quads are the only way to get this unique quality of Kick.
I don't know how better to describe it. I feel like trying to describe making love to someone who never has - words can only take you so far. Neither does watching from the side lines convey the experience. The Kick is invisible to all but the skater and exists only as long as they are in motion. The wind cannot exist without movement. In turn, the will to motion is inspired by sweet skateable funky* tunes, played in good order and right tempos (a whole other topic).
Note:*Many people seem to have a different definition, in a musical sense, of what “funk” and “funky” is. In order to be able to constructively discuss what constitutes good quad dance skating music, we would have to flesh out the meaning of these words. They would require careful disambiguation.
Tano 01:30, 16 October 2008 (UTC)