Calypso Tumblers at Venice Beach

This past Saturday, while walking along the promenade of Venice Beach in California, I stopped at a crowd gathered around a street performance. As I craned my neck at the outer circle, unable to see, I wondered if the attraction was the man juggling chainsaws like the last time I was at Venice Beach, although, I didn’t hear any chainsaws. I elbowed my way towards the front of the crowd, politely of course, but I wanted to see. I had to see. How could I write about it, if I didn’t see? I’m glad I was pushy. What a treat. This photo by Malingering posted on Flickr is just a glimpse. Check out the others.)

The Calypso Tumblers were in the middle of their act. Think break dancing but turned up several notches. The group members show off their mettle by spinning on their heads, striking poses while balanced on their hands, and leaping through the air in various twists and turns that causes their muscles to ripple and the crowd to gasp with thoughts like, “If I tried that, I’d break my neck for sure.” The crowning glory of the act was when people were called from the audience to create a line of 10 people. There was a great deal of build up to this act with joke telling, ribbing of the crowd and money collecting.

Finally, once all ten people stood shoulder to shoulder, bent over at the waist with their backs forming a fairly straight surface, the head guy took a running leap and flipped over them. Pretty incredible. Here’s a YouTube video posted by Utopian Flower to show you what I’m talking about. This one, though, was taken in New Orleans. Be patient when the camera seems to be turned away from the action. You’ll see the flip.

Also here’s link to another video posted by silverandblack68 that shows their act on America’s Got Talent.

After the performance I talked with one of the guys who told me about these YouTube links. In my searching I came across a video of a Venice Beach meeting. Some residents weren’t too happy with the Calypso Tumblers. From what I can tell, the complaint is that they take up more than their fair share of the promenade and disrupt the business of the surrounding vendors. I can see their point, but the group is terrific and how wonderful any person who happens to be walking by can see them. Here’s the complaint video.