Here’s another first for Brooklyn residents in Williamsburg, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, Greenpoint, Bed Stuy: Bklyn Beast, the city’s first and only training center for those urban acrobatics/sports of Parkour, Capoeira, and Breaking. Located on the borderlands of Bushwick and East Williamsburg (and close enough to the L train to make it an easy destination-gym), Bklyn Beast offers drop-in group classes in all three disciplines for kids, teens, and adults in a fully-loaded, spanking-new, 4,000-square foot facility.
Now, the idea of having parkour classes in the once-edgy Bushwick definitely provoked some sneers and snickers among online wags, but Bklyn Beast isn’t trying to be cool. The team of teachers and leaders here seem truly dedicated to their craft, and are looking to share their passion with like-minded individuals, as well as introduce a new generation to these distinct, creative, highly athletic practices.
Backing up a bit, parkour is an intense, acrobotic exercise based on military obstacle course training that sends its participants jumping off buildings, over walls, and basically use the cityscape as their apparatus. Though parkour has never really taken off here the way it did in Europe, where it boasts a devoted subculture, the discipline has made numerous appearances in popular culture, from the sublime (the opening of Casino Royale, Daniel Craig’s first go-round as James Bond) to the ridiculous (Michael, Dwight, and Andy’s ill-fated dabbling in The Office).
Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines quick and complex dance-ish moves (lots of elaborate leg sweeps) with music. Presumably you know break dancing, but perhaps tricking, which is also taught at Bklyn Beast, is a little more obscure. Think of it as a mixture of gymnastics, martial arts, and acrobatics, with the ultimate goal of creating an aesthetic blend of flips, kicks, and twists.
Anyway, the facilities here seem pretty impressive: an 800-square-foot pro dance floor; a 10′ x 14′ state-of-the-art trampoline, plus a tramp wall with entrances up to 14 feet high; a spring floor adjacent to the 11′ x 20′ (and 6 feet deep!) foam pit as well as a variety of platforms up to 10 feet high; lots of built in structures (up to 20 feet high) and a whole bar set up accessible via the spring floor, and from which you can launch yourself into the foam pit.
If any of the above is at all appealing to you, it seems well worth spending the $20 or less and schedule a drop-in class today. Bklyn Beast offers classes lasting an hour for kids and teenagers, 90 minutes for adults, and you either drop in and sample what they’re all about or get a money-saving 10-pack. The classes run throughout the day and into the night.
Bklyn Beast is located on Bogart Street between Meadow and Ten Eyck, just a couple of blocks from Grand Street station on the L. For lots more information and a full schedule of classes–parkour, capoeira, breaking, tricking, and more–see the Bklyn Beast website.