Pura and Manolo, 40 years of love and disco skating | Madrid

The most important rule of any slide is to move counter-clockwise. This is the way to avoid accidents. No one can miss this condition unless the emcee announces a change of address over the loudspeaker, usually to liven up the atmosphere. In one of those unexpected plot twists, the skates of Purificación Gutiérrez, 65, and Manuel Díaz, 69, crossed for the first time at the old Rolling Dance in Madrid. It was January 1982. “History has its crumb,” explains Manolo.

Roberto, one of the nightclub workers, was celebrating his birthday and planned a party in style. Pura and Manolo were invited, but he initially declined the offer as he had a wedding the night before. Two words were enough to change his mind: “there will be girls.”

“We were young and liked to go out. First we skated at Rolling until dawn and then straight to Azca, the Tobogán nightclub,” Manolo recalls. “He came in a mess. He had partied so much. He was half dead, and on top of that he was bald! I liked it with everything and that,” says Pura, who is attending the birthday party tonight with a group of friends.

Pura and Manolo skating during one of their youth trips.

From Carabanchel and Salamanca district respectively, Pura and Manolo strengthened their relationship on wheels based on tours and dances. “The first night there was flirting, but we didn’t even shake hands. Now everything is faster, young people kiss at the first opportunity. We met skating, it took us a while to become boyfriends,” she recalls.

They went through the altar and had several children. A responsibility that kept them off the tracks for thirty years, until on March 19, 2015 – Father’s Day – their youngest daughter decided to imitate the DJ and cause another unexpected plot twist. Blindfolded, he led them to the door of Rolling Dance & Burger Madrid, which had just reopened after many years of closure. “From that moment we took the skates and the party started again,” Pura explains.

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Manolo prepares to put on his skates before entering the rink.
Manolo prepares to put on his skates before entering the rink.

faithful to his appointment

From that day forward, they never missed their appointment on a single Saturday. Punctually, at nine o’clock in the evening they take out their ticket and greet all the workers. Pura decided to retire from skating after a bad fall during the Philomena snowfall, which caused her to break her wrist. “I’m also hard of hearing. That’s the balance, so I’d rather not take any chances,” he says. Upon entering the complex, their paths diverge. She heads to the bar and he heads to the lockers.

“Clean, simple, isn’t it?”

A piece of coffee with vanilla ice cream on top to start the night. Today, they also give him cherries, his favorite dessert.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the room, Manolo is sitting in front of box 33, “the one they saved for me,” tying his jockey boots with several double knots at the front and back. A group of teenage girls who come to celebrate a birthday make noise around him, while some hiss when they see an elderly man about to enter the club.

Manolo moves with the elegance of a classical dancer. White Ibizan shirt and clean Chinese trousers. An unconscious smile crosses his face as he finishes his job with the ties. The time has come. He enters the track decisively and joins the flow. First he warms up for a few laps, tests his joints and when he feels confident, starts the freestyle. First a few turns left and right, then on his back, crossing steps, and if he is in full swing, he even balances on one leg. Puerto Rican Don Omar’s “Tell her I met her dancing…” blares from the speakers. Manolo frowned.

-How to dance reggaeton?

– This is fucking music! Not good for skating. Maybe go fast yes. Although not even that, with Elvis it’s when you pick up the most speed. You put your hand behind your back and run. He is the king.

Manolo, skating at the disco.
Manolo, skating at the disco.

Pura watches the show from her table between sudoku and sudoku while watching the football matches that are shown on TV. “I’m very Madridista, my father was an assistant at the Bernabeu. Here, as soon as they see me, they tune in for Madrid if they play,” he explains. From time to time she goes out on the dance floor to keep an eye on her husband, but above all she keeps a close eye on the young girls. “I’ve never skated in shorts. They are much freer in everything they do. We didn’t know that,” she reflects. It’s eleven o’clock and Ivan – the DJ -, in a clear nod to the couple, plays classics from the eighties and nineties this time, forcing Manolo to throw the rest away. “This is for you, Pura,” he tells her. “It’s raining men!” he replies, referring to The Weather Girls’ song It’s raining men. Excited, she gets up from her seat, shaking her shoulders and looks around for her husband. They both enjoy themselves like they did in 82, but when the high wears off, Pura reminds him:

“We have to have dinner, boy.”

Manolo obeys, goes to the bar and wipes the sweat from his forehead with a napkin. There, leaning against the catalog of hamburgers and hot dogs, the man is honest in a low voice: “Every time I come, I think how long I can stay. I am aware that a bad fall at my age is dangerous. In the last two I had, I opened my head and ended up in the hospital in La Paz. But I can’t help it, passion is stronger than fear.” Clean gestures from his table.

“What do you want, Purichi?”

“Lots of pickles and lots of bacon!”

Manolo, at the nightclub food stand for dinner with his wife.
Manolo, at the nightclub food stand for dinner with his wife.

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