Employees, executives, and potential donors alike expect good, quality entertainment when they take time out of their personal lives to attend a business’s party or event. Interesting events keep your employees happy, your investors interested, and your business ahead of the rest.
When you plan an event, your main goal should be to avoid boredom at all costs. To make your event unforgettable, you must have good food, interesting topics of conversation, and, most importantly, fabulous entertainment.
Fortunately, you have all sorts of options available to you for fun, high-quality entertainment-so many options, in fact, that you might have a hard time narrowing them down. Below, we’ll tell you why you might want to consider parkour for your next event. This engaging sport has a fascinating history and is fun for anyone to watch, no matter how old or young they are.
How Did Parkour Start?
Many people think parkour is a recent invention. After all, the sport didn’t really become popular worldwide or turn into a household word until the invention of YouTube in 2005, a platform that made it easy for viewers across the world to watch videos of people running up walls and leaping over fences.
Thanks to YouTube and other media, there’s hardly anyone in the States who hasn’t seen a video of someone doing parkour-or who hasn’t tried to do parkour themselves. You can find references to parkour throughout today’s pop culture, from cold opens of the sitcom “The Office” to action sequences in the James Bond film “Casino Royale.”
However, parkour actually dates back to the early 1900s, and it stemmed from a much more serious event than you might think.
After World War I, a French lieutenant named George Hebert traveled throughout the Caribbean and Africa. During his stay on the island of Martinique, he lived through a volcanic explosion that destroyed an entire city and killed tens of thousands of people. He worked with the locals to evacuate survivors and found himself entranced by the way the locals moved fluidly over obstacles to quickly pull survivors from the rubble.
During the rest of his travels, Hebert paid particular attention to people’s movements, noting that many cultures walked more smoothly and with more agility than Europeans, whose movements he considered too stiff and formal.
When he returned to Europe, Hebert created an entire military training regimen that soldiers in France trained with for years afterwards. His method incorporates obstacles and requires trainees to swim, jump and climb to familiarize themselves with potential battlefield situations.
How Did Parkour Become a Popular Sport?
Since parkour stemmed from search-and-rescue operations and military training, it’s not surprising that it took until the 1980s for someone to transform it into the sport it is today. A French veteran named David Belle returned to his hometown after training and, with help from friends, transformed his military training into a sport so intricate and beautiful to watch that it basically constitutes an art form.
When Belle and one of his friends who helped him develop parkour, Sebastian Foucan, started to drift apart, Foucan moved to Great Britain and started to establish the sport there. Today, Belle’s version of the sport is one in which you move from object to object as efficiently as possible. Foucan’s version usually incorporates more flips and creativity, and he refers to it as “free running” rather than parkour.
Foucan appears in the opening scene of 2006’s “Casino Royale” to showcase the sport he helped create. Daniel Craig’s James Bond pursues Foucan’s character across rooftops in Madagascar and follows him as he leaps from the top of a crane onto building materials dangling from its hook. Foucan then scales the crane and weaves his way back to the ground.
In the film, Foucan performs all his free running stunts himself (Daniel Craig performed many of his character’s free running moves himself as well). If you’re interested in parkour, give the opening scene of the film a watch-you’d be hard-pressed to find a better representation of the sport.
How Does Parkour Work as Event Entertainment?
When you hire parkour performers or free runners for your event, you can expect to see an elite group of highly trained individuals perform gravity-defying actions. Depending on where you hold the event, they could scale freestanding pillars, leap over stairways and up walls, or do flips as they leap from one area to another.
Parkour is a great choice for a fundraising event or a publicity stunt-especially if the performers come to the event wearing an outfit that makes them blend in with the crowd, like a business suit. At a given moment, they’ll leap into character and start to perform wildly fascinating movements. Their energy is entrancing for anyone nearby and is sure to garner huge cheers.
If you do hire someone for parkour entertainment, you’ll likely want to be in a larger venue or an outdoor area where performers have enough space to move around and run quickly.
Interested in hiring someone to do parkour or free running at your next event? Get in touch with us to learn more about our performances and rates.