• Three stuntmen living in SA are in high demand in the advertising industry. 
  • Germany, and the rest of the world, are using their unique skills to help their adverts spring to life.
  • They are experts in "tricking" - a high-energy combination of flips, twists and kicks.  

From beer commercials to red carpets, a new trend in advertising has meant three German friends living in South Africa have seen a sharp rise in demand for their unique talents.

What they do is called "tricking" - an amalgamation of wushu, capoeira, break-dancing, gymnastics, tumbling and acrobatic yoga. It is a high-energy combination of flips, twists and kicks that appear to break the laws of physics.  

Not to be confused with parkour, "tricking" has been around since the 1990s when a group of American aimed to evolve martial arts.  

The end result is a spectacular display of physical skill, which has now also been discovered by the marketers who use tricking to let their adverts spring to life. 

Tricking workshop. Photo: Levitation Arts

Ahmad Frenzel, a two-time German tricking champion and European championship winner; Andre Urban, a physical education teacher; and Slobo Panovic, an international stuntman, moved to Cape Town two months ago to start their own business, Levitation Arts. 

 “We came to South Africa because of the possibilities that we saw in the movie industry. Especially during peak season, there are many international commercials and movies being produced in the city, which is the reason we moved here,” said Frentzel.

They say Cape Town is ideal for film productions because of its visual variety, including sprawling streets and picturesque beaches.

“I feel Cape Town was this sleeping giant,” said Panovic. 

Tricking workshop. Photo: Levitation Arts

“We realised that we can create something unique. That's why we came to Cape Town, because it's a good starting point to bring tricking into the market,” said Panovic. It helped that there are fewer than 10 active South African trickers in the market.

“In Germany it was difficult for us, we were looking for opportunities in a busy market, we came to Cape Town and the market was open,” said Frenzel.

Forget Addis, Fitbit and Nike commercials. It’s the businesses that you would least expect that are driving demand for their physical performances: Lucky Star, as well as German beer, clothing and car companies have all made use of tricking talents. The crew have also worked as fashion models on runways; they featured in a forthcoming travel video of Cape Town and taught stuntmen to jump in movies. 
Even SA brand Lucky Star is tricking. Photo: Lucky Star/ YouTube

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