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Let’s get kids dancing!

With childhood obesity on the rise, more initiatives are targeting children who may be less interested in group sports. Synergy Dance has channelled its efforts to gain maximum exposure for its inclusive dance programme.

With more than one in four of us doing fewer than 30 minutes of physical activity a week and one in six deaths reportedly caused by inactivity, it’s hardly surprising that Sport England published a new strategy this month.

Close attention was placed on making sport appealing from the get go, with CEO Jennie Price closely referencing the success of the This Girl Can campaign by addressing the unifying barriers stopping so many women from getting active. Sporting participation figures among the youth were reported as being incredibly low in the government’s latest sporting strategy (December 2015), Sporting Future. According to the strategy, only 9% of under-fives met the UK chief medical officer’s guidelines for being active for three hours a day and less than a quarter of under-11s are active for an hour a day. Sport England has said that dedicated funding will be put in place to get children and young people active from the age of five, including a new fund for family-based activities. Sport England is also planning on offering training to at least two teachers in every school, to help them better meet the needs of children. Fit pros should realise the full potential of working with this population and have a responsibility to help work towards achieving a healthy generation for the future.

Government start-up Synergy Dance® asked the public to get behind its mixed dance fitness programme initiative for boys and girls (infants, juniors and teens) in schools and leisure centres last week. Also in development is an outreach programme for children with special educational needs and disabilities and its mission is to be wholly inclusive. The purpose is to reach those children and young people who may be less suited to team sports and who prefer a dance option to keep fit – both in mainstream and disability sectors. Synergy Dance offers a taste of many different dance styles, from breakdancing and street to disco and cheerleading, inspired by the aim to synergise the many different dance forms.

Founder of Synergy Dance Rachael Hurton said, “Our flexible and responsive teaching styles allow for children to be observed as individuals, so that language and teaching style has a good effect on all students. Working together and supporting each other in class through improvisation, creativity, dance games and patience in forming routines leads to each child’s personal best and a climate where they can strive for excellence.”

 Breakdance workshop which took place at Hoe Valley School in Woking, via Freedom Leisure Woking dance studio.

Breakdance workshop at Hoe Valley School in Woking, via Freedom Leisure Woking dance studio

To try and secure the best possible recognition, Synergy Dance took its initiative to the Pitch to Rich scheme last week, in the hope of securing acknowledgment from Richard Branson to get the idea off the ground and into the playgrounds.

The outcome?

“The aim of Pitch to Rich has been to expand our programme and gain important exposure and support for what we are trying to achieve via our inclusive dance programme – and I feel that, despite not making the finals, we have gone a long way towards achieving this,” says Hurton.

Elsewhere in the industry

Children’s fitness instructor Mel Carpenter told FitPro, “Children are very receptive when it comes to learning new things, as long as you can capture (and keep!) their interest! In my opinion, there aren’t enough children’s exercise programmes out there that educate while keeping it fun. I suspect this is because it’s such a niche market.”

Carpenter has introduced a programme to her local area called Cardio Kidz, which incorporates fun games with education built in. “Keep it fun,” she concludes, “and children will always learn well.” You can read more about Mel Carpenter in the summer issue of Fitpro magazine, where she has been chosen as our Hero Instructor.

For more information about Synergy Dance’s class offerings and initiatives, visit synergydance.co.uk