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What is Jam Skating? Learning a New, Fun Dance Style on Roller Skates

If you’re looking to get your groove on, then check out the cool trend of jam skating! But what is it and how do you get started?

There are different types of this particular style of roller skating, but one thing’s for sure; it’s super fun and a great form of exercise! In fact, it’s so much fun you won’t even realize you’re actually exercising, but rest assured you are receiving all of the many great health benefits of roller skating while you jam out!

Want to know more? Keep reading to find out about this fun skating style and how to do it!

Jam Skating Explained

So what is jam skating? It’s a mix of different dance styles, all done on roller skates! It also involves elements of break dancing, modern dance, artistic roller skating and even gymnastics all performed to catchy tunes, usually hip hop.

Jam skating is also a sport with competitions that are held regularly. Skaters can present their own routines either in groups or as solo performers.

In jam skating competitions, there aren’t many rules or judging criteria which gives everyone much more skating creativity. Jam skaters are judged on their tricks and all-around performance.

Do you need jam roller skates?

In jam skating, you need a different type of roller skate boot. Usually, jam skates are cut lower at the ankle to provide better flexibility. They also have wider jam skate wheels that will resemble quad speed skate and roller derby wheels.

They’re also made from lighter materials to allow skaters to perform stunts and roller skating tricks easily and smoothly. However, years ago roller disco skaters would don high-cut boots with a toe stop.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that people started wearing speed skate boots that were cut lower. They also had jam plugs instead of toe stops.

What are the origins of jam skating?

In the overall history of roller skating, the origins of the jam skate sport are a little unclear but it’s widely believed to have been started in the Great Lakes and Florida region.

Jam skating got its style from traditional disco 70s roller skating, but it’s also been influenced by breakdancing, ice skating, and gymnastics.

In its early days, jam skating was almost an underground movement led by teenagers and young adults. Each skater would “battle” against others with dance routines, in the same way that breakdancers do.

You can even see some styles of rhythm and jam skating in several roller skating movies including Roll Bounce and the newer United Skates documentary.

What are the different styles of jam skating?


Power moves involve full-body rotations and spins that make it look as though the skater is defying gravity! Power moves include:

  • Back spins
  • Halos
  • Windmills
  • Head spins
  • Air flares, and many more

These power moves are a display of agility, speed, strength, and control and are incredibly fun to watch!

The performers also need a lot of upper body strength to support them while their bodies create circular moves and momentum.

Some power moves are also inspired by martial arts and breakdancing.


As the name suggests, this skate style focuses on the feet. The performer will demonstrate foot tricks, moving along the floor smoothly and effortlessly.

Foot tricks include 2-step, crazy legs, and the grapevine.


Shuffle skating or rexing is when the skater moves with all 8 wheels on the floor, forward or backward in time to the beat of the music. You’ll usually see skaters going in a counter-clockwise motion. And all of this is done to some of the best roller skating songs around. It’s a lot of fun.

Is jam skating difficult?

Because jam skating is more complicated than regular roller skating, it’s important to understand the basics. There are certain skates you need to wear and different techniques and styles you’ll get to learn.

Unfortunately, jam skating isn’t easy. The advanced skaters make it look easy but you’ll find out pretty soon that it takes years of practice to become that good. You’ll probably start with wobbly legs and the shakes that will inevitably result in many falls.

But the important thing is to not give up and keep practicing. The movements of jam skating will feel really weird at first and it takes time and consistency to develop balance and muscle memory. A few good tips to start you off include:

  • First, find your favorite places to practice roller skating.
  • Start skating on a carpeted surface, that way you can stop easily in poses to get a feel for them.
  • Go to your local skating rink and practice falling safely. Remember to always wear knee and elbow pads, scraped knees and elbows are not fun!
  • Practice your falls by dragging a foot behind you to stop. As you start to slow down, bend one knee and put your arms out in front of you. Your hands and knees should make contact at roughly the same time.

How do you jam skate?

Before you start skating, make sure you’ve got the proper skates so you can execute moves easily and find your rhythm. The skate boot you choose should be well-fitting and comfortable.

Also, be sure to warm up before each session! Especially the lower body as it will prevent pulled muscles. There are tons of Youtube tutorial videos where you can get more info and learn fun, easy tricks to get you started!

Interested in Learning More about Jam Skating?

If you are interested in learning more about this awesome form of skating, check out these 2 YouTube channels. Both skaters are really good and have a lot of excellent step-by-step videos:

There is also a Udemy course on Jam Skating for under $30. It’s called Roller Skating Magic. 🙂

Want to Learn Even More About Skating?

Want more reviews on roller skates? Check out my Best Roller Skates page for a list of all of the quads I recommend. I also have pages for roller skates for menroller skates for women and roller skates for kids where I recommend the best skates on the market today for each group. Or, check out my roller skates for beginners if you are completely new to roller skating.

Or, if rollerblades or inline skates are more your style, then check out my rollerblades for menrollerblades for women or rollerblades for kids pages. Or, if you are completely new, check out my rollerblades for beginners page.

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Jeff Stone

Jeff Stone started the website RollerSkateDad.com back in 2015. The site specializes in roller skate reviews and advice about skates and all things roller skating. When Jeff isn't skating with his two daughters Lily and Violet, he enjoys writing code, cooking, watching movies and hanging out with his wife Claire and their german shepherd, Electra.

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