There is a common notion that exercise can only be done within the four walls of a gym, training centre or a sports facility. But actually, exercise can be expressed in many different ways: from taking a stroll in a park, shopping at a grocery or even cleaning your house. Engaging in any physical activity is a form of exercise. The intensity will just depend on the activity. For example, lifting weights is more physically intense than sweeping the floor.
So what about theatre? Is it a good form of exercise? Definitely.
Hollywood star Hugh Jackman himself thinks so. In an interview with the Huffington Post, he admitted that theatre helped him lose weight. “Take up musical theater. Then do a 2-2 1/2-hour one-man show,” the Wolverine star said. He further added that dancing helped him find his natural weight, which resulted to shedding off a lot of pounds.
Engaging in theatre already demands a certain level of physical movement. The intensity of physical activity may vary depending on what kind of performance is being executed. In Jackman’s case, dancing became the physical activity. Some would see this as physical theatre.
Physical theatre is a term that “highlights the physical aspects of performance.” Usually, the body becomes the medium of expression and thus may be subjected to a lot of rigorous training. Ballet for example demands a lot of physical movement, form, flexibility, and discipline. Rehearsals alone can be quite exhausting for ballet dancers.
Dance theatre or in German, tanztheatre, is another form of theatre that involves a lot of physical activity. Dance Magazine describes this as a combination of “dance, speaking, singing and chanting, conventional theatre and the use of props, set, audio equipment, and costumes in one amalgam. It is performed by trained dancers. Usually there is no narrative plot; instead, specific situations, fears, and human conflicts are presented.”
Theatre is also used indirectly to promote physical activity and good health. In a study done by the Morgan State University School of Community Health and Policy, theatre was successfully used as a means to convey health messages to low-income African American adolescents in adopting a healthy lifestyle.
So for anyone who wants to get involved in theatre, do expect to have some good exercise. It will not only help you stay fit but also keep your audience entertained.
If you plan on joining the theatre though, it is important to remember that you should also exercise during your free time. This is ensure that you have enough stamina during rehearsals and most importantly, during performance nights. It doesn’t have to be much but a few minutes on an elliptical machine should do be enough to build your endurance. Don’t worry, not all exercise equipment are expensive. In fact, a good number of the top ellipticals today are very affordable. Just make sure to do your research so you know where to get the best deal.