Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

campus bloomington

‘The art of motion’: The story of Bloomington Parkour


When David Frew arrived in Bloomington as a student at Indiana University in 2013, he said he was out of shape and did not have a lot of friends. Now, over 10 years later, everything has changed. 

“I work out basically every single day, and I have a very large community of people who support each other, and I like showing up for,” he said. “It’s great.” 

Frew does not go to the gym, however. Instead, he practices a different form of exercise: parkour. 

“Parkour is sometimes called the ‘art of motion,’” Frew said. “That's really a good name for it. You are using your body to jump, climb, vault, land, roll or move through your environment quickly and in a way that's fun.” 

Frew said parkour increases physical and mental well-being in a different way than merely going to the gym. 

“When you're going to the gym, and you're doing repetitive exercises, it's sometimes kind of hard to put that link together in your head between what you're doing and any kind of payoff later on,” he said. 

Parkour, on the other hand, is measured in ability and tangible progress. 

“How high can you climb? How far can you jump? How tall is the thing can you jump over? Those are all real things you can actually take pride in being able to do,” Frew said. 

Frew joined the Parkour and Freerunning Club as an undergraduate student at IU and stayed involved with the club after he graduated in 2016. It dissolved two years later. 

“That fell apart in 2018 — a bunch of people graduated,” he said. 

The dissolvement left the parkour scene in Bloomington underdeveloped. It was not until 2020 that Frew returned to parkour by establishing Bloomington Parkour, an organization that meets on-campus and in Bloomington. 

“I had a lot of free time and so I figured, you know, I might as well go back to doing something that I really like and teaching other people just how fun parkour can really be,” he said. 

Bloomington Parkour has held at least one free weekly parkour class ever since, according to Frew. Practices start 3 p.m. each Saturday under the red clock on 275 N. Eagleson Ave. 

“We train at the first spot for about 30 minutes, just practicing basic jumps and getting our technique calibrated,” Frew said. “And then we'll come together and pick a new spot on-campus.” 

Frew said popular spots on-campus include outside Herman B Wells Library and Read Hall. The training is beginner-friendly and lasts for about two hours. 

Classes are also available for all ages. Classes for those under 12 years old are held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. each Tuesday, and classes for those 12 years old and older are held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. each Thursday. All classes are held at The Warehouse on 1525 S. Rogers St. 

“Our core group consists of about eight to 10 people usually, but for a workshop or just a regular class, there's a lot more,” Frew said. “There's a lot of people in town that are doing parkour.” 

Kayla Gunderloy, a member of Bloomington Parkour, was introduced to the organization by a flyer on-campus. 

“I remember it said, ‘parkour,’ and it said ‘free,’” she said. “I showed up on impulse and had my first class at The Warehouse.” 

Gunderloy said parkour has given her more confidence and trust in herself. She trains with Bloomington Parkour most Thursdays and Saturdays.

“The more you doubt yourself, the more likely you are — ironically — to mess up the jump,” she said. “You really have to know what you’re capable of, and also push yourself where you can.” 

Bloomington Parkour posted an Instagram Reel in November 2023 that has over 18.3 million views and 400,000 likes. Several others have over 100,000 views. Its Instagram account has over 8,500 followers. 

Carsten Stolz, a former IU student, created Bloomington Parkour’s Instagram account in 2020 after messaging Frew and going to the organization’s first meeting the same year. 

“I scoured the web for anyone who posted anything about doing parkour anywhere near here,” he said.  

Stolz has been involved with the group since its inception and said parkour is more fun with the community around him. 

“People to train with, people to learn from, people to teach, people to show off to,” he said. “Just seeing what can be accomplished by repeatedly showing up and sticking with it.” 

Stolz said parkour was important to him during the pandemic, because it provided an opportunity for him to have an outdoor, active and social hobby. 

“There were ebbs and flows, but the group and its reach and member base has grown in large part to David showing up and excited to teach people for free,” he said. 

The group has also been featured in the Ad Club on IU’s podcast, Ads on Air, and IUSTV

As for future events, Bloomington Parkour is hosting a Spring Jump-Off from 1-3 p.m, March 23 at Wells Library. 

“It's going to be a great first-time beginner’s workshop,” Frew said. “It's completely free to anyone who shows up. You will get a good foundation and movement.” 

Free water will be provided, and comfortable shoes and clothing are recommended. More information about the event can be found on Bloomington Parkour’s website.  

“It's a good way to spend an afternoon,” Frew said. “That's really the best thing I can say about it.” 

Get stories like this in your inbox