FOOTY NOT FOR YOU? HIT THE STAGE!
With so many budding idols and favourite dancers stepping up to plate, the performing arts sector is definitely on the rise in Australia. So its good to know that there is a wide range of benefits associated with singing and dancing- and were not talking about the fame and fortune.
Its health and well-being.
The National Institute of Youth Performing Arts Australia has researched the valuable factors when it comes to song and dance, utilising them when teaching its 3500 students across Australia how to improve their talents as well as their health. The evidence speaks for itself.
A good singing session can stimulate the mind as well as the body - increasing awareness and even boosting the immune system! The benefits of dancing are twofold with young groovers and shakers improving their confidence as well as their flexibility.
If you think singing is just for the birds - think again!
According to the people at the National Institute of Youth Performing Arts Australia (NIYPAA) there's a mound of evidence to link singing with mental, emotional and physical health.
In fact, researchers in Sweden, the USA and UK have hailed singing as a tonic for mind and body.
But that comes as no surprise to NIYPAA director, Julie McKenna, who's been guiding Australian Youth Choir (AYC) performers into wellbeing for the past 24 years.
NIYPAA is the umbrella organisation for the AYC (established in 1975) and the Australian Youth Dance Theatre (AYDC, created in 1984). The two performance streams cater for young performers aged seven to 18 years at 33 venues nationally.
"I've had the privilege of witnessing hundreds of young people blossom through singing," she said. "It boosts personal development, general wellbeing and physical health."
Yes, according to McKenna a good choir session will give the lungs a work out and that in turn stimulates the other organs and gets the rest of the body working too.
"Singing heightens breathing and body awareness, exercises abdominal muscles and the researchers believe it may even bolster the immune system," Julie McKenna explained.
She even goes as far as describing choir singing as a team sport!
"Singing in a choir is a lot like executing the coach's winning game plan - you need to listen to each other and work with each other, waiting until the ball comes in your direction and then you need to make the play. In a choir, you get the team work and camaraderie and performance thrill, without the mud!"
"Singing is enjoying a real resurgence. Recently, popular television shows such as Australian Idol has done much to take the stigma out of singing and the AYC is noticing a sharp increase in girls and boys keen to test their vocal chords.Dancing is also proving to be growing in popularity amongst kids looking for an active alternative to sport.
While the benefits of dance as an adjunct to fitness are a little more obvious, Julie McKenna says that research* conducted in the UK in 2007 revealed that involvement in a 10-week dance program provided both fitness and wellbeing benefits to children.
"Physical fitness improved in three areas - lung capacity, flexibility and aerobic capacity - and the researchers found positive improvements in a wide range of psychological factors including intrinsic motivation and self-esteem.
"Again, popular programs such as Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance and the stage hit Billy Elliott have done much to inspire the next generation of twinkle toes," Julie said.
Members of the AYC and the AYDT really enjoy the powerful sense of friendship and camaraderie that develops at rehearsals, while their parents enjoy the fact that they are developing physically and mentally and having a structured break away from TV, computer screens and SMS messaging.
"It's a win-win for everyone," McKenna said.
To find out more about the AYC and AYDG visit: www.niypaa.com.au