‘Rope Warrior’ wows with jumping theatricsJune 22, 2018
By KATHLEEN MESSMER
Herald News Intern
FERDINAND — The sky is the limit for the twisting, turning, sky-high-jumping David Fisher.
Dubbed the “Rope Warrior,” he has been wowing audiences all over the world for 30 years. Originally from the Chicago area, the 55-year-old now resides in Indianapolis.
Fisher performed for dozens of children and parents on Thursday afternoon at the Tri-County YMCA in Ferdinand. His performance history includes venues like “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “SportsCenter” and “America’s Got Talent.”
He holds the title of “World’s Greatest Rope Jumper” by Ripley’s Believe It or Not! as well as a Guinness World Record for his famous “rump jumps,” in which he jumps rope while seated on the ground. He claims it’s his easiest trick.
His athletic skills and agility also allowed him the opportunity to be a featured soloist at the opening ceremonies of the 1994 Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he performed for an audience of over 80,000 people.
Kristie Birchler, who is in charge of programming at the Ferdinand Branch Library, met Fisher while attending a children’s conference for librarians.
“I thought, ‘Oh, I’d like to see him. He is something different.’ I had never seen that before.” Birchler said. And so, she invited him to come show his skills to Dubois County.
Fisher began his show by telling the audience about himself and his background with jumping rope. He also talked about the safety behind the sport, as well as the different types of ropes he uses throughout his performances.
With the young audience eager to participate, Fisher brought up six volunteers to perform the “traveling rope” trick. The participants stood in a horizontal line facing the audience. On Fisher’s command of “jump,” the children sprang off the ground as he moved down the lines swinging the jump rope, allowing each kid to hop through the rope. To up the ante, he then paired the participants, allowing two to jump through the rope at the same time. He even grouped all six of the children, along with himself, and impressed the audience by all seven of them jumping through the rope at once.
Jacob Mickey, 10, of Dale loved the thrill of performing the trick with Fisher. “I think it’s cool we got to go up there,” Jacob said. “The ropes even didn’t hurt when they hit you.”
Fisher also got the kids up and moving with a round of double Dutch, with two children holding the two ropes on one end, and himself swinging the ropes on the other. Encouraging the participants to jump between the arching ropes. The kids displayed proud smiles and giggled throughout.
Carter Payne of Santa Claus and Donavin Hahus of Lamar, both 10, not only impressed themselves with their double-Dutch skills, but managed to toss a kickball to one another while jumping through the ropes. Four-year-old Calvin Ridao of Huntingburg was able to participate in double Dutch as he jumped with joy.
Fisher’s favorite part of his performance is when he asks the audience to interact with him by suggesting rope tricks for him to perform.
“It’s always fun when the audience is coming up with tricks and trying to stump me,” he said. “I usually know the tricks they suggest, but sometimes they will come up with one I hadn’t thought of and I’ll think, ‘Oh that’s brilliant.’”
At the conclusion of the show, Fisher transfixed his audience with his grand finale. He performed a few of his world-famous routines that have been featured on national television, including rope tricks, bouncing a kickball off the ground with his feet while jumping rope and a glow-in-the-dark rope routine. Payne and Hahus agreed the glow ropes were really cool.
In addition to performing interactive shows, Fisher also provides rope jumping workshops for kids. Schools will often bring him in for a day to do a show or two, along with workshops provided during physical education classes.
He has also written and recorded two children’s CDs as well as science fiction books and a “how to” book titled “Cool Jump-Rope Tricks You Can Do!”
Combining fitness and fun, Fisher tries to make his performances, workshops and books as inclusive as possible.
“You don’t have to be a good jumper, you could be in a wheelchair and there’s something you can do,” he said. “There’s stuff a grandparent could do with a child.”
At the age of 55 and jumping for over 30 years, Fisher doesn’t know how many more years are left in his jump-roping career. But for as long as he can, the Rope Warrior will continue to teach kids and adults everywhere how to get in shape while having fun.
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