The crowd sought relief from the unusually warm October sun in the one shady spot of the parade ground of the old Richmond Academy building – the east side of the back wall.
Cameron Richardson, 17, and Dan Kisser, 18, watched from their perch atop the wall, where they had planned to perform their version of the free-running sport parkour. The two are members of the Atlanta-based group De Trace, which Kisser formed two years ago.
As they were introduced, they leaped from their perches, ran across the yard and, performing moves they call vaulting and rolling, darted across the yard scaling walls, flipping midair and jumping sideways over whatever might be in their way.
That is the point of the sport, after all – to quickly get from one place to the next by overcoming obstacles.
“You can’t change the obstacle itself. You have to adapt to it,” Kisser explained to the crowd.
Later, he described the sport as “a search for perfection in movement.”
After a 20-minute demonstration and question-and-answer session, Richardson and Kisser invited the crowd to join them at Springfield Village Park, where they taught a few simple moves.
“We watch it on YouTube and my youngest is very – he has no fear,” Jessica Weinstein said of her 6-year old son, Sam. “I thought it would be fun for him to see it in real life.”
While waiting for instructions, Sam – a gymnastics student and one of about 12 children who participated Saturday – performed cartwheels, flips and the techniques he’d just learned.
Sam declared the event “really good.”
Richardson and Kisser showed the children how to quickly climb the low end of a stone wall then showed them how to apply the technique to climb the high end of the wall, which was at least double the men’s heights.
“I’m going to climb the low blocks so I can get to the high blocks,” said Hayes Ellis, 6.
Kisser said he was always active as a child, and in eighth grade he started running on walls. A friend told him about parkour.
Two years ago, he started teaching Richardson and others, and since then De Trace has grown to about 30 members.