• Developing talent among young dancers: findings from the UK Centres for Advanced Training

      Aujla, Imogen; Nordin-Bates, Sanna M.; Redding, Emma; Jobbins, Veronica (Taylor & Francis, 2014-04-28)
      The identification and development of talent is a key concern for many dance educators, yet little research has been conducted in the area. In order to understand better how to optimise dance talent development among young people, systematic and rigorous research is needed. This paper summarises and discusses the key findings of a ground-breaking longitudinal interdisciplinary research project into dance talent development. Over two years, almost 800 young dancers enrolled at one of the eight nationwide Centres for Advanced Training (CATs) participated in the project. Physical factors, psychological characteristics, and injury data were collected quantitatively while the students' thoughts and perspectives on commitment, creativity and cultural variables were captured using qualitative methods. The largest study of its kind, the project yielded a wide range of findings with a number of practical implications. The main focus of this paper is on how the project findings apply to important pedagogic topics such as audition criteria, passion and commitment, and teaching behaviour. The area of talent identification and development is complex, yet this research has begun to shed new light on the notion of talent and has provided novel insights to support its development.
    • The identification and development of young talented dancers with disabilities

      Aujla, Imogen; Redding, Emma (Taylor & Francis, 2014)
      There is a general recognition of the lack of progression routes for dancers with disabilities. Alongside this, there is a lack of understanding of how best to identify and develop talent among young disabled dancers. The current study sought to address this gap in the literature by investigating criteria that might be appropriately applied when auditioning young disabled dancers and then exploring important practical considerations for training and talent development. To this end, 18 expert dance practitioners working in the integrated dance sector were interviewed about their audition and training methods; this data was supported through the gathering of existing talent criteria which is used to assess young disabled dancers and observations of four specialist dance groups’ technique class. Content analysis revealed that movement quality (rather than specific technical skills), creative potential, passion and a strong work ethic are the most important and appropriate criteria with which to identify talent among young disabled dancers. In terms of training, knowing the dancer and his or her support needs before training commences appears crucial, as does adopting an open, flexible approach to teaching. High standards should consistently be set, while pacing and adaptation are key practical considerations. The results of this study offer practical recommendations to educators working in integrated and/or talent settings with young disabled dancers.
    • Multidisciplinary predictors of adherence to contemporary dance training: findings from the UK Centres for Advanced Training

      Aujla, Imogen; Nordin-Bates, Sanna M.; Redding, Emma; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor & Francis, 2015-01-02)
      Little is known about the predictors of adherence in a dance context. The aim of this study was to investigate adherence to a dance talent programme using a multidisciplinary set of variables representing psychological correlates of adherence, maturation and physical factors relating to dance talent. Psychological (passion, motivational climate perceptions, eating attitudes), physical competence (vertical jump height, handgrip strength, hamstring flexibility, external hip rotation, aerobic fitness), and maturation-related (age of menarche) variables were gathered from female students enrolled on a dance talent programme. Participation behaviour (adherence/dropout) was collected from the talent programme's records approximately two years later. Logistic regression analysis of 287 participants revealed that greater levels of harmonious passion predicted greater likelihood of adherence to the programme, and greater ego-involving motivational climate perceptions predicted less likelihood of adherence. Neither measures of physical competence nor maturation distinguished adhering from dropout participants. Overall, the results of this study indicate that psychological factors are more important than physical competence and maturation in the participation behaviour of young talented dancers.
    • A qualitative investigation of commitment to dance: findings from the UK Centres for Advanced Training

      Aujla, Imogen; Nordin-Bates, Sanna M.; Redding, Emma (Taylor & Francis, 2013-08-13)
      Commitment to an activity forms an essential part of the talent development process, yet little is known about the reasons why young people commit to dance training. The aim of this study was to investigate the factors that affect young dancers’ commitment to a selective dance talent scheme. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 committed dancers and transcripts were content analysed. Enjoyment was the most important factor relating to commitment, and stemmed from several sources such as self-expression, movement sensations and feelings associated with performing. Relationships with dance peers and teachers, parental support and the opportunities available on the scheme also enhanced commitment. While some potential barriers to participation were identified, such as concerns about injury, these seemed insufficient to affect the participants’ commitment. The results of the study may help educators to develop young dancers’ talents optimally by enhancing their commitment to training.