Okay kids, ready for some questions and a couple of fun places to visit during the autumn holiday? Well here we go!
Do you see a long boring walk to school or an urban play space bursting with potential? Do you sit on a step in a concrete jungle waiting for someone to play with you or do you start exploring – up, down and sideways – sharing handholds and balancing tips with other kids who are bound to join in?
Okay, now Mum and Dad: do you wish you lived nearer a playground with padded matting or a forest with nice soft grass? Would you rather wrap your kids in cotton wool or train their muscles to move and their minds to calculate risks and say no when appropriate?
And finally, when you see the word ‘parkour’ do you think of guys of about 20 bouncing off rooftops? Well I’ve been to a class and we can all think again!
Bouncing with health
At Street Movement (Enghavevej 82D, Cph V), you’ll find kids aged six and up, boys and girls, learning how to handle themselves, jumping, balancing, landing with precision and having fun together.
Yes, if you Google ‘parkour’ online, you’ll see video footage that boggles the mind. And I’ve chosen photos for their action appeal.
But you won’t see the years of training, pull-ups, tummy exercises and landing on a dot that goes on behind the scenes (well, you can over the next month if you check out our blog at helendyrbye.blogspot.com).
After watching a class in action, rather than an ‘extreme sport’, it seemed to me to be an extremely healthy sport, with friendly coaches like Martin Kallesøe, the head of Street Movement, encouraging children to drink water not fizzy drinks to protect their teeth. And ice packs were at hand just in case.
What got us interested? We had heard that from October 10-18, Experimentarium City on Papirøen is inviting visitors to join its drop-in parkour workshop every day between 11:00 and 16:30.
Parkour instructors from Street Movement will demonstrate how to leap and move gracefully from one complicated challenge to another with playful ease and will teach participants to do the same.
The ten-minute sessions are intended to keep the flow going and help prevent queues.
Before recommending it, I wanted to see more. And it wasn’t hard to find the large, state-funded building called GAME, which houses not only parkour but all kinds of street sports, including basketball, street dance, street soccer and an urban music school.
I got there just in time to see a special Street Movement project called ‘Støtte på asfalten’. This class had been organised specially for a group of children living with ADHD, Asperger’s and other challenges.
The parkour sessions are ideal for teaching the youngsters to think consciously about movement, sharing space, thinking ahead, setting goals and knowing their limits without the distraction of competitions and a competitive atmosphere.
Keeping it real
The youngsters in the open class I joined were kind enough to let me take photos – lots of them. The instructor helped find a faster shutter speed setting on my camera, and from the beginning, it was clear that the energy was focused.
They were learning to assess risks by gradually stretching their limits under the calm supervision of trained instructors who clearly demonstrated specific moves before encouraging the kids to have a go.
One young guy kept coming back to the instructor during the free play time saying: “Okay I can do that now, give me another challenge!” and off the instructor would go, upside down or tightpipe walking.
There weren’t any ropes, though. Nor any mats for that matter, as the idea is for children to learn to move and land softly on hard surfaces, keeping it real from start to finish.
So where can you find the autumn holiday parkour workshop? It’s part of Experimentarium City’s exhibition called PULS – everyday life on its head.
You can warm up in the balance kitchen, practise high jumps with the jumping fence, try to avoid the ropes in the obstacle course and get your pulse racing in the energy drum. See more at experimentarium.dk.
If you get hooked, what do the weekly and open Street Movement classes cost? Apparently not a lot. But the good news is that the entire website is in English so you can explore all the details for yourself at streetmovement.dk.
If you prefer Renaissance splendour to stripped-back asphalt, Kronborg Castle is holding a Renaissance Festival from October 11-17. Tickets cost 125kr for over-5s, and family tickets are available for 450kr (up to five). There will be bow shooting, dressing up, the king’s musketeers, a witch, and a renaissance market. See more at kronborg.dk.
We happened to visit the castle when they were taking photos for promotional purposes, so we’ll post pictures at helendyrbye.blogspot.com before the holiday arrives.