What is Physical Culture?
Physical Culture is one of the only sports you can start at 2 years of age and continue until you are 82 years of age. Physical Culture or 'Physie', is a unique competitive sport combining dance, floor and standing exercises for girls and ladies. It is based on basic ballet and modern dance. Physie is great for physical fitness, flexibility, coordination and posture, while building confidence and making new friends.
What are its benefits?
I find Physical Culture to be great for the body, as it helps with flexibility, muscular strength, core strength and fitness. It also helps with the mind and soul because you are learning, practising and refining routines and you are doing all this with friends and family. I also find that EP physie is great for different age groups for different reasons. For example, teenagers, EP physie gives them a break from school, but doesn't take up a huge amount of time. School and physie really compliment each other. For 3-6year olds it is fabulous for gross motor skills and brain development because they need to listen to the beat of the music and execute age appropriate movements that help with development. I also think that EP physie helps minimise physical and mental health issues as you get older. Regular exercise that focuses on core strength, flexibility and fitness helps with preventing injuries as you get older. In my mind there is no better way to complete a whole body, mind and soul workout, than Physical Culture.
Why do you choose to do EP Physie?
I have tried four different types of Physical Culture over my 32 years of competing. I started EP as a 6 year old, but came back to EP as an 18 year old. I really like the variety of routines. They are in a great order too. We do marching and deportment first to get our muscles warmed up. The most strenuous routines are at the end, these being floor drill and lunge group. The flexibility and strength involved in these two routines means the muscles are well and truly warmed up by the time we do more the difficult movements. We then cool down by doing a dance (except for the ladies section). This allows for a cool down and it ends the competition in a fun and enjoyable way for the audience and competitors. I also REALLY love the outfits. No other physie has the skirts and crystals "bling" together. It makes the younger children feel magical. The music that Edith Parsons Physical Culture (EP) uses is by far the best of any of the physie codes. We use modern top 40 hits and we use the real artists. This helps with the motivation to practise physie each week. You never get bod of the songs.
Who can do physie and is it available to all age groups and all abilities?
EP Physical Culture is great for any female. It doesn't discriminate against age, size, shape, flexibility, fitness or ability. The routines are choreographed in a way that allows for you to develop core strength, flexibility, fitness and dance ability throughout the years. There are even classes and routines especially choreographed for ladies who have never done Physical Culture or dancing before. That means grandmas, sisters, aunties, mothers and daughters can all start physie at any age and enjoy the family connection.
What surprises you about EP Physie?
How many people still do EP Physical Culture into their 80s because the work is choreographed taking in mind the flexibility and strength of these ladies. I am always so excited to hear how EP members have created and maintained life-long physie friendships. Although EP Physie is a competitive sport, there is always so much love and support from competitors and spectators. I remember when I came back to EP physie as an 18 year old I thought it looked quite simple compared to other codes, however, the strength and control you need to execute the positions correctly and safely certainly adds a strong element of challenge to those who want to compete at a state level.
Your most memorable or happiest moment?
I have so many memorable and happy moments. Opening up Lane Cove Physie club in 2021 is definitely a highlight. Winning overall grand champion in 2017, 2018 and 2020 was absolutely a childhood dream come true. Competing in team competitions is always nerve racking but memorable- celebrating the wins of course adds to the happiness.
Do you have an EP Physie Idol and please share the details with us?
I admire every person who does EP physie. Physie provides a challenge to every single person, whether that be a physical or mental challenge. I think every physie teacher is a physie idol to their club members. Having said that, my physie idol, if I had to select one person would have to be Adele. Not only was she the EP Grand Champion that won the year I started physie as a 6 year old, but her attitude to physie is so positive. She has had some of the biggest highs and lows that anyone can possible have to deal with in the world of physie but she still competes and supports everyone. It is amazing how many little girls look up to the grand champion.
Do you have a favourite routine? If so, what year was it and can you remember the music? Why is this your favourite?
My favourite routine usually changes each year depending on the choreography and the song. However, there are two particular routines that stand out to me. 2020 Senior lunge group to 'Chandelier' by Sia and the 2008 Senior dance to 'Please don't stop the music' by Rhianna. When a song and choreography resonates with me, as a performer, it seems to lift my execution of the routine up a notch.
Describe being in a Physie Team and the benefits?
I think the reason why so many EP physie girls and ladies like to compete in the team competitions is because the team competition focuses on so many different aspects than the individual side of competitions. When practising and performing in a team, the club members really come together like a family. There are tears, laughter and achievements that you share with a group. You are all working towards a common goal. You are no longer just thinking about how you do physie but how other people around you do physie. During team competitions I love watching the teacher calling the team as much as the performers. Seeing a teacher standing proudly at the front of the stage with a smile means so much, especially when deep down they are mentally doing the routines with you and their heart rate is as high as the performers.
EP Physie Grand Champion 2017, 2018, 2020
Teacher Lane Cove Physie Club