Flat Track Roller Derby: ‘It’s Like Ballet On Skates’

Twenty years ago, the sport was reborn in Austin. It’s now played around the world, by all kinds of women.

By Leah ScarpelliDecember 7, 2017 7:56 am,

Sports come in all shapes and sizes, and so do the athletes who play them. In what she calls an “eleven year labor of love”, Felicia Graham hopes to publish the thousands of images she has taken through the years as she followed the women of the Texas Rollergirls League around the nation and abroad. She says she wants to spotlight a sport most people don’t know much about.

Roller derby was revived almost 20 years ago with just one league in Austin. But there are now more than 2000 leagues worldwide. With her new book of photographs, “Texas Rollergirls Flat Track Derby,” Graham hopes to bring the sport to the world, and to show that there is no typical type of rollergirl.

“It’s like ballet on skates,” she says. “They’re banging each other and they’re dancing around each other and it’s pretty fun to watch.”

Graham says when she started taking pictures of flat track roller derby contests, she thought that documenting the game would be a one-time event, but as she says it quickly became an addiction.

“I found out of all the women, all different types of women, they all got the same thing out of roller derby. And that was strength and camaraderie,” Graham says.

Learn more about Felicia Graham’s new book in the player above.


Written by Nahila Bonfiglio.