A brand-new free mobile app is aiming to help dancers from across the globe become mentally fit and emotionally strong by building resilience from the stresses and strains of dance training and performance.
Help4Dancers, which can be downloaded from both the Apple and Google play stores, provides dancers with access to a professional program of daily sessions, including weekly check-in health questionnaires and advice from dance-related psychotherapists and counsellors on many aspects of mental health; exercise and meditation videos; and injury prevention and maintenance with leading physiotherapists.
Other features are strength and conditioning sessions and Pilates with professional coaches, advice on career development and nutrition, and regular guest speakers including UK and international dance professionals.
Help4Dancers has been created by psychotherapist Terry Hyde MA MBACP, founder of Counselling for Dancers. Hyde started ballet classes at the age of six, was awarded a five-year scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dance in London and attended The Royal Ballet Senior School. He later joined The Royal Ballet, followed by a move to London’s Festival Ballet (English National Ballet) as a soloist. After five years, he moved to musical theater, performing in London’s West End, film and TV.
Hyde said, “During the pandemic, dancers have been missing in-person training and performing and sadly, as a result, I have seen an increase in clients seeking my help. Because of my own experiences as a performer, I can bring a genuine understanding of the unique demands that are placed on dancers, from body image and bullying to audition anxiety.”
Hyde, who has been running free online well-being sessions for those in the performing arts throughout the pandemic, has been working on the app for the last six months on its design and comprehensive, professional content as well as trialing it out to a team of dancers. He feels the app will help dancers to continue their career, keep mentally and physically fit, and prepare them for live performances and in-person classes.
Hyde added, “On this free app, users will be able to join a six-week program which tracks their progress and, in turn, helps them to recognize what they can do to help improve their emotional and physical strength. And, as it’s mobile, we can reach dancers across the globe, providing free access to expert help whenever they need it.”
Help4Dancers participants can join pre-recorded sessions with a host of professional dancers and practitioners, including Director and Choreographer Br
endon Hansford, who has shared his skills with the likes of Sam Smith, Rod Stewart and David Guetta; Isabella Gasparini, soloist with The Royal Ballet; Tomorr Kokona, coach, mentor and former international arts professional; Ballet Physio Luke Abnett, who spent six years treating students at The Royal Ballet School; Mikko Nissinen, artistic director of Boston Ballet and School; and Professional Irish Dancer and Pilates Teacher Joe Duffey (Riverdance/Lord of the Dance/Broadway).
If successful, the team behind the app hopes to expand its offer with the introduction of seminars, workshops and conferences.
Help4Dancers, for professional and student dancers as well as parents and teachers, is available for all dance styles, including ballet, Irish dance, tap, hip hop, ballroom and South Asian dance.
The Help4Dancers app can be downloaded now from both the Apple and Google play stores.