Since August 2014, the Marshall University Center for Wellness in the Arts (CWA) has provided health and wellness education to the university’s performing arts students through a collaboration between the College of Arts and Media and the College of Health Professions. Due to the positive response from participants and the impact on student success, the CWA will expand the services offered in years to come, according to college deans Don Van Horn and Dr. Michael Prewitt.
“Over 150 performing arts students utilized the training provided by the Center for Wellness in the Arts and each of them said they saw improvements in their craft, whether it was more agility on stage or less anxiety when performing,” Van Horn said. “We could see a difference on stage during the performance of ‘Cabaret’ this past spring after our theatre students went through the CWA’s conditioning program. Just after three weeks, we were able to see a difference in their hip flexor mobility, upper body strength and overall physical activity. Thanks to the work done by both colleges, we now have measurable outcomes that show us exactly how successful this project has been.”
This is just the beginning of what the CWA has to offer its students, according to Prewitt.
“Marshall University will continue to offer this destination program for students interested in improving health and wellness within their given professions,” Prewitt said. “We believe that by incorporating health and wellness training as a necessary element into our degree programs, we convey the idea that this type of training isn’t optional. It remains an integral part of a process, which makes it possible for dancers, actors, musicians and all artists to reach and maintain their highest levels of performance.”
In the upcoming academic year, the CWA will offer the following services:
- Injury prevention sessions with certified athletic trainers
- Performance anxiety workshops with health scientists
- Nutrition and weight management training with registered dietitians
- Agility and mobility training with exercise scientists
- Baseline hearing assessments, vocal education and treatment with speech-language pathologists
- Vision training to improve reaction times in performances with exercise physiologists
Photos: Over 150 performing arts students worked with the Center for Wellness in the Arts to improve their overall health and wellness this past year. (Above) Elliot Smithson (far left) is shown leading warm-ups for theatre students in the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse before they began rehearsals for their fall semester play, “Tom Sawyer.” (Below) Kate Colclough, a local high school senior, worked with the hurdles to improve her hip flexor mobility, in preparation for the spring production of “Cabaret.”