The trailblazers of Venice Beach’s roller-dancing scene give an exhilarating glimpse into a stone-cold awesome moment in history, and the system attempting to crush it.
Dir Kate Hickey
Prod Cecilia Ritchie, Diana Ward
With James Lightning, Sara Messenger, Terrell Ferguson
Prod Co Aquarius Films
Beneath palm trees and dusty pink orange sunsets, the rock stars of 1980s Venice Beach spin, glide and break-dance to R&B, hip hop and disco. Welcome to ‘Disco Alley’, a dynamic subculture that transformed the identity of California’s ‘slum by the sea’ and fuelled skate movies such as Xanadu, Skatetown, U.S.A. and Roller Boogie. Kate Hickey’s documentary feature debut tells the exhilarating story of Venice Beach’s roller-dancing scene, from its roots to its boots. While racially motivated police violence, gang warfare and unrest blazed through inner-city Los Angeles, Venice Beach was a hub of trailblazing creativity and a haven for young African-Americans. Archive footage and interviews with roller dancers from the heart of the scene recall the vibrancy and freedom of those dancing days; the awesome choreography, the community and the dreams – before the iron fist of the LAPD bore down and gentrification whitewashed the beach.
On Friday 6 October we are hosting a Roller Dreams DJ Night inspired by the film, with The Prince Farah Show (Neil Prince & Farah DJ).