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Partner Spotlight: UDOIT! Dance

Schools around Wales are getting in the fitness groove with street dance – thanks to the help of UDOIT!

The charity group – and Sport Wales partner – offers young people opportunities for physical and mental health benefits from dance that sit alongside more traditional sporting activities.

UDOIT! Dance Foundation - founded in 2014 - have been visiting schools in areas across Wales and providing the know-how and practical help to encourage children of all ages to get involved in dance.

Unlike most sports and activities, dance can be done without any equipment. All you need is some suitable space.

Sport Wales partnered with UDOIT! in 2016 to enable the wider spread and improved popularity of street dance. Since then, they have been helping provide opportunities for thousands of young people.

UDOIT! run a satellite club programme that involves going into schools to give pupils the chance to try street dance in an environment that is comfortable to them. 

After the 12 weeks are complete, children with the confidence and motivation to continue can join a partner club in the community.

Throughout the generations, people who love dancing have known that it keeps them fit, healthy and happy – whether they be fans of Ceroc, Salsa, Zumba, ballroom, Bollywood, line dancing, tap, flamenco or wheelchair dancing.

Street dance can offer as demanding a workout as any of them and is fun, expressive, and very sociable.

UDOIT! operations and development manager, Natalie Pitman says: “Sport Wales fund our dance foundation as a national partner and we aim to inspire, engage and empower through the vehicle of street dance.

“Our partnership with Sport Wales allows us to ensure that street dance is accessible to all, creating opportunities for those in disadvantaged communities to access street dance on their doorstep.

“They do that in a place that is known and safe to them, at a price that is affordable and through a style of delivery that is motivating and inspiring.

“That all ensures they want to keep coming back each week.”

So far, the group has run clubs in Wrexham, Flintshire and Pembrokeshire, Torfaen, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly, Newport and Swansea with more to follow.

“Our programmes are tailored for each area and audience that we work with,” adds Natalie.

“We will tweak our programmes as and when to ensure we meet the needs of the group we are working with.”

Street Dance is just as popular with male and female dancers and the mixed groups utilise various spaces such as gyms, church halls, youth clubs and even car parks.

“No specific kit is needed,” says Natalie. “Just have comfy, sensible footwear. Dance is relatable to all ages, genders, beliefs, and can be done at any level from complete beginners to advanced level.”

A dance leader getting a large group of children dancing
Picture: UDOIT! Dance
It’s important that we keep inspiring the younger generation to want to come through to become leaders to the children in their communities.
UDOIT! Dance Foundation

Studies have shown that dance, as an active exercise, can actually burn more calories than running.

A study conducted by the University of Brighton found that a 30-minute session of dance can burn 534 calories, whereas 30-minutes of running burns just 528.

But there is more to the partnership – and its aims – than just physical fitness.

“Through our partnership, we have seen how Street Dance has so many other benefits to people including on their physical health, mental health, social inclusion, bringing communities together, and inspiring those to be active who may not engage with a traditional sporting offer,” adds Natalie.

“We have developed programmes using Street Dance to help those who are suffering from mental health issues, individuals involved in gang or knife crime, right through to those that help the elderly living in care homes get active.

“We have also developed a street dance leadership programme, which allows young people who would like to start their journey into leadership and teaching street dance.

“With street dance being forever changing, it’s important that we keep inspiring the younger generation to want to come through to become leaders to the children in their communities.”

UDOIT! run a satellite club programme that involves going into schools in an area to deliver street dance. This enables children to get a taste and a pathway towards an after-school club that will then be set up.

For those who want to perform at a higher level, there are also workshop and competitions, with the Welsh National Schools event taking place on March 23 at Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff. 

 

If you would like to get more information on being involved with UDOIT Dance Foundation, please contact: [javascript protected email address] or via social media.

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