Music and Dance Can Pave the Road to Higher Levels of Physical Activity Among Youth with Disabilities
|Dance to the music! A fun way that everybody can be active!|
It dawned on me that if Ellen could get every member of the audience to move some part of their body in front of millions of people watching them on TV, there had to be a way to get youth with disabilities more physically active with the same technique - a good rhythm and a sound that makes the body want to move, rather than being told to move. Anyone who watched the 2010 Grammy Awards will know what I'm talking about. Certain musicians and dancers, such as Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, and dozens of others, know what it takes to get people moving.
Now, maybe there's a way to 'catch lightning in a bottle' and apply dance moves, such as hip-hop, jazz, and tap, to youth with disabilities. Can we create our own dance, dance revolution using the Internet as our stage? Would youths be interested in using some technologically savvy way to dance with other partners in a virtual world, using their own avatars to keep them in disguise? Would they dance until they burned off a few hundred calories to keep their body weight under control? Would they find it cool to meet others on the Internet and dance and talk like they were at their high school prom or the local dance spot? No one would have to worry about not being invited, because in a virtual world everyone gets to the big dance. We could even set up dance contests and have youth with disabilities competing online like they do on Dancing with the Stars. New art forms would be created. Youths could send us their dance routines performed solo or with partners, and we could post them online and have a group of judges evaluate their performance, give them a score, and keep standings over the same time frame as a network series.
Mrs. Obama's opening salvo about the obesity epidemic in our nation's youth should lead to thoughts about how youth with disabilities are going to become more physically active when high-level sports competition and the emphasis on winning dictate sports in America today. What Ellen DeGeneres was able to do with her audience, we should be able to do with our audience - convince youth with disabilities to become more active in a virtual world of music and dance.
Please send any questions or comments to Jim Rimmer, NCHPAD Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.