APATA – The Australian Performing Arts Teachers Association

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Let’s Get Physie

Posted by APATA | Sep 10, 2020

First of all it’s a girl thing! Physical Culture or ‘Physie’ (pronounced “fizzy”) is a modern Australian, competitive repertoire for women of all ages. It’s a practice for every age and every stage of life, from pre-school to seniors. It combines elements of low-impact modern dance, aerobic fitness, and rhythmic gymnastics, choreographed into a number of routines, where syllabus consists of marching, exercise, drills, and dance with a focus on good posture. Physie is an alternative to traditional dance sport, that all women can enjoy and by goodness its popular with schools and practice centres accessible across the country.

The original Physie school was the medical gymnasium Bjelke-Petersen Bros, founded in Hobart in 1892 by Hans Christian Bjelke-Petersen. It has been in continuous operation since that time becoming the Bjelke-Petersen School of Physical Culture Ltd. in 2011. Other leading historical schools include the Edith Parsons School of Physical Culture, founded in Sydney in 1961; and the Burns Association of Physical Culture, founded in Sydney in 1968, both still in operation. Competitions are held between local clubs with an annual championship and the attendance at comp time is incredible. The Physie community is extensive and roll on mass with a mix of leotards, costumes, make-up, and hairspray ready to perform and compete.

For Physie fans, who tend to start training from the age of three or four, it’s an essential, reliable activity that remains a constant daily practice throughout their lives. It’s also a community connection, family pursuit with its camaraderie, competition and perseverance helping generations of women navigate life’s challenges. For many its their happy place with personal connections and decades-long practice with friends – its therapeutic.

The origins of physical culture date back to a movement in the United States during the 19th century owing its foundations to several cultural trends to combat sedentary lifestyles resulting in the start of numerous exercise systems typically drawing from a range of traditional games, dances, sport, military training, and gymnastics. In Australia, the rich and colourful history of the Physie movement all started in 1982 with a vision to help Australians to be healthy. There’s not many associations or companies for that matter in Australia that can claim that they are older than the Royal Australian Navy, the Flying Doctors Service and the Australian Taxation Office but BJP the founding organisation of Physie can and its culture and practice across the generations is not only a testament of time but the love of the practice. In fact across Australian there is over 200 locations nationally to find a Physie club to sign up and get your Physie on and participate.

What can Physie do for you? It very common to find Physie instructors of today not only running their own schools but also visiting primary and secondary schools running classes for school physical education. The wonderful benefits of Physie exercise last a lifetime combing cardio fitness, increased flexibility, strength, balance, and coordination. Coupled with the physical benefits, Physie builds confidence, promotes self-discipline and commitment, while fostering teamwork, friendship, and sportsmanship.


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