DanceSing, a unique fitness group, aims to promote mental and physical health in people young and old. Caroline Lindsay finds out more
If you’re looking for something to keep you fit, active and happy then look no further than danceSing. The fitness group was founded by former Scottish ballet dancer Natalie Garry, and combines dancing, singing, pilates and stretching.
The idea came to her after she attended a local choir where she realised just how much good it was doing for everyone involved.
“I wondered what would happen if I added a physical element to the singing experience,” she says. “I then spent the rest of the class thinking about how I could really make a positive difference in improving people’s health by fusing together a natural synergy of singing and dancing…and danceSing was born,” she explains.
“I hope the classes will make a difference to people’s lives by making them stronger and fitter, both physically and mentally.
“danceSing is intergenerational and sometimes we have three generations from the same family coming along,” she smiles.
With more than a million chronically lonely people in the UK, and bearing in mind Age UK’s campaign ‘No-one should have no one,’ danceSing is also playing its part in helping combat loneliness and isolation – over 80% of participants have noticed a greater feeling of wellbeing since joining the group, which has bases in Kinross and Bridge of Allan and will soon be coming to Fife and Tayside.
“We call it the danceSing family,” says Natalie. “We have people coming along who have lost their partner, or have nobody, and they say it’s been a life saver, giving them support and a sense of purpose.”
When members aren’t attending the classes, they’re performing at charity fundraising events.
Recently more than 60 members and 30 youth members sang their hearts out with a 40 piece symphony orchestra at the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline, raising over £1,300 of vital funds for Maggie’s Cancer Centres.
danceSing went on to raise an additional £350 when they performed under the Kelpies in Falkirk at the Summer Solstice, just as the sun was setting.
One woman who has benefited from the classes is Jen Horton who lives in Braco.
“I’ve been going to the Dunblane class since it began more than three years ago,” says Jen, 60.
“I love singing and I needed to do exercise so that’s why I joined up.
“It feels so good to push myself and there are no boundaries – you don’t have to be a talented singer or dancer and everyone can go at their own pace.
“I’m left handed so I’m always going the wrong way which makes the others laugh,” she smiles.
“The Kelpies event was wonderfully atmospheric but the night at the Alhambra was the highlight of my life.
“I just couldn’t believe I was up on the stage singing all those great songs to an audience that was jumping!
“We have a great social life too – we always go for a coffee after the class and we have a social secretary who organises bits and pieces. Come and try it!”