The identification and development of young talented dancers with disabilities
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AbstractThere 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.
CitationAujla, I.J., & Redding, E. (2014) 'The identification and development of young talented dancers with disabilities'. Research in Dance Education. 15(1) pp54-70.
PublisherTaylor & Francis
JournalResearch in Dance Education
SponsorsCommissioned by Dance4 with funds from the Department for Education.