Detroit’s First Black Female-Owned Figure Skating Club Hopes to Provide Affordable and Accessible Lessons to Low-Income Youths

Dream Detroit Skating Academy coaches and co-founders help students with form while demonstrating the team ice skating at the Jack Adams Memorial Arena in Detroit on Jan. 27, 2022, in advance of the grand opening of the first female Black-owned figure skating club in the state of Michigan and the only figure skating club in the city of Detroit. (Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press)

Angela Blocker-Loyd began figure skating at 9 years old. She was one of the youngest skaters at the Berkley Ice Arena and Recreation Center at the time, so another young skater decided to take her under their wing.

“Angie was the little skater and I was the big skater,” said Candice Tamakloe, who was 14 at the time. “We were also only two of a few African American skaters at Berkley, and I had been skating there for a few years, so I took her on as a little sister.”

Now, Blocker-Loyd and Tamakloe have decided to take on all the young, aspiring figure skaters as their little brothers or sisters.

On Saturday, Dream Detroit Skating Academy (DDSA) launches the city’s first female-owned figure skating academy. Currently, DDSA is the only Black-owned figure skating club in the state of Michigan, Blocker-Loyd said. The academy will be run by Blocker-Loyd, Tamakloe and Crystal Stewart. It will provide classes for skaters with no experience all the way up to advanced skater. Things will kick off from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Adams Butzel Recreation Center-Jack Adams Memorial Ice Arena, 10500 Lyndon St., on the city’s west side near the Littlefield neighborhood.

“There has never been a skater at the national or international level to come out of the city of Detroit,” Tamakloe said. “We want to bring that quality back into the city.”

That mission is stated clearly on the groups website, “Exposure facilitates many of our youth’s interests. Interests are the seeds that inspire dreams, and dreams fuel our drive for success. Unfortunately, figure skating is an opportunity to which few Detroit youth are exposed, but Dream Detroit is working to change that.”

Launched to provide affordable and accessible lessons to low-income youths in Detroit, the academy offers offers both group and private figure skating lessons to those ages 4 and up, with skill-building opportunities starting from “Learn to Skate” classes to competitive and ice show performances. Two classes will be held on Fridays and two classes on Saturdays. More information and demonstrations will be available at the soft opening Saturday.

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SOURCE: Detroit Free Press, Jasmin Barmore