Obesity is on the rise in America, and it’s not just adults who are tipping the scales. An astonishing 17 percent of our nation’s children are clinically obese and one of every three children is overweight. Given these alarming figures, physical activity and exercise are getting a much-needed boost in today’s education curricula, and, this week, students in Southern Utah University’s College of Education are getting an edge on the subject with a whole new approach to keeping kids active.
This Thursday, February 7, rhythm and fitness sensation Robert Wallace will lead students in a fun and unconventional exercise routine designed to help kids get fit though the art of drumming. A trained percussionist, dancer and fitness instructor, Wallace’s approach to exercise is unique, to say the least. Combining the disciplines of dance, geography, music, isometrics and drumming, his innovative and inspiring method nourishes body, mind and spirit.
“Total Rhythm,” as he calls it, marries the art of drumming with physical movement to encourage fitness, spiritual wellness, cultural exploration and a sense of personal rhythm.
Three Total Rhythm sessions will take place in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Starlight Room on Thursday: 10–11:20 a.m., 1–2:20 p.m. and 3:45–5 p.m. Workshops are open to SUU students engaged in elementary and physical education. Drums and other rhythm and percussion instruments will be provided.
In addition to exercise instruction, participants will also learn about geography, music and culture from Africa, Cuba and South America through the study of rhythm. Throughout his routine, Wallace shares an overview of world music history, complete with maps and cultural interpretation.
Wallace will also lead separate sessions for elementary teachers across the region on February 6 and 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Interested educators may email Sue Houston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A native of the San Francisco Bay area, Wallace studied dance and drumming at the University of Ghana and received supplementary training in Port-of-Prince Trindad, Havana Cuba and Rio de Janeiro. He has led world percussion, rhythm and fitness programs throughout the country and abroad, including his popular BOOM! fitness routine for children and adults. A performer as well an instructor, Wallace has played with Bonnie Raitt, Mickey Hart, the Starlift Steel Orchestra and Joan Baez.
All rhythm and fitness workshops are free of charge, thanks to support from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, Art Works for Kids, and The Utah Division of Arts and Museums.