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Video: San Diego Derby Dolls

Women’s Roller Derby Team Inspires A Play

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando profiles the San Diego Derby Dolls who are the inspiration for Circle Circle dot dot's new play "Derbywise."

The San Diego Derby Dolls provide the inspiration for the new play "Derbywise" (running through April 27 at the 10th Avenue Theater) from Circle Circle dot dot. Take us a visit to the Dollhouse to get to know the real players before checking out the play.

If Raquel Welch duking it out with rival skaters in "Kansas City Bomber" (MGM, 1972) is what you think women’s roller derby is, think again.

"People seem to think it’s like WWF or wrestling like it’s all fake," says Tough Soles, captain of San Diego's Wildfires roller derby team, "It's a conversation starter at Target, everyone’s like, you play roller derby? Like you beat each other up? No we don’t beat each other up, there is a game behind it, there are strategies behind it, there’s a lot of exercise and work put into it so nothing is fake it’s all real."

Isabelle Ringer started playing roller derby in her twenties, now she’s general manager of the San Diego Derby Dolls.

"We’re a roller derby organization. We’ve been around for about 8 years in San Diego. We play women’s bank track roller derby. We are very actively trying to make this sport a professional sport. There are tons of people who I think don’t perceive roller derby as a sport at this time, we’re always working on sort of breaking some of those stigmas and generalizations and kind of changing what that perception is of women who play roller derby."

Not only are they athletes but they’re also smart businesswomen who have a website, a YouTube Channel, and their own training and event venue.

"I’m Bonnie D. Stroir and welcome to the beautiful Dollhouse at an undisclosed location in downtown San Diego and we’re training for a game that we have coming up this weekend against a team from Arizona… The Dollhouse is our full featured training facility so we rent this place out ourselves and we hold fitness classes for the public, and then privately we have our own training sessions and we have scrimmages."

Bonnie D. Stroior started the Derby Dolls in 2005.

"Starting the league was an amazing experience, it’s by far the best decision I’ve ever made in my life…Before roller derby I always felt a little bit like an artist without an art, like I always felt like a creative person like I was willing to give myself to a cause but never really had one and roller derby gave me a sense of community and a healthy place, a healthy outlet for all of the aggression that I tend to have, you can’t tell now that’s cause I use it all up playing roller derby."

"I came in at 26 this kind of raw, this rough rock, and through friction and conflict and all this you get all polished up,.. I don’t think anyone joins roller derby because hey like I really want to improve myself. But that sort of becomes a by product of being a part of an organization like this where it’s owned by women and run by women and it’s a full contact sport, I mean there’s really nothing out there like what we are doing."

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Beth Accomando

The cast of Circle Circle dot dot's "Derbywise," which was inspired by the San Diego Derby Dolls.

Which is why Circle Circle dot dot decided to create a play inspired by the San Diego Derby Dolls and their unique entrepreneurial style. There will be a second video tomorrow night on Evening Edition going backstage at "Derbywise."

Here's a behind the scenes look at "Derbywise."

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando goes behind the scenes for Circle Circle dot dot's "DerbyWise."

Companion viewing: "Kansas City Bomber," "Whip It," "Skater 26," "Hell on Wheels," "Blood on the Flat Track"


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