• Accessing pathways to training for young disabled dancers

      Aujla, Imogen; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire/Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, 2019-03-19)
      The aim of this project was to investigate means of translating Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) syllabi for young disabled dancers. There are numerous barriers to dance for disabled people but one which has received increasing attention in recent years is the lack of systematic training available. Many non-disabled young people join private dance studios which provide an established progression route using staged syllabi and assessments in a range of dance genres. The ISTD recognised that this progression route should be more accessible for disabled young people, and that it could play a key role in opening pathways to dance. The organisation recruited a number of teachers and specialists, and commissioned a researcher from the University of Bedfordshire, to explore how this could be done.
    • Independent dancers: roles, motivation and success research report

      Aujla, Imogen; Farrer, Rachel; University of Bedfordshire (University of Bedfordshire, 2016-01-01)
      The aim of this study was to investigate the experiences of independent dancers. We set out to gain a descriptive and analytical understanding of working life in the sector. We examined specific psychological factors such as motivation and self-definitions, and how these helped dancers in their careers. The term ‘independent dancer’ is commonly used within the UK dance industry to describe practitioners who work in multiple roles on freelance contracts. This approach to work enables dancers to engage with a range of dance communities, develop and apply diverse skills, and collaborate with multiple partners. Throughout this document we refer to such individuals as dancers or dance artists to represent those working in a range of roles and at a variety of levels. The independent dance sector is supported by an infrastructure of dance agencies that operate across the country to provide development opportunities and resources for independent dancers. It is estimated that around 40,000 people work in the UK dance industry, but the varied and ad hoc nature of their roles makes it challenging to quantify and describe the workforce accurately. In the past there have been several independent reports published about the sector as well as published interviews with renowned independent dancers that provide an insight into working conditions, rates of pay, infrastructures and funding, however with the industry developing so rapidly these sources are no longer current. More recently, doctoral research located within the independent sector has provided further insight into specific aspects of the dancers’ role. This, however, has focused specifically on artistic and choreographic concerns or is situated within a different geographical location. As a result, there is a lack of up to date knowledge about the UK independent dance sector meaning that this dynamic and mobile force still ‘works in relative invisibility’. Furthermore, academic research in the fields of professional practice, psychology and dance science has neglected to examine this important and continually developing part of the UK dance sector. Therefore, this research appears timely in order to provide current information about independent dancers and how they negotiate such a varied and challenging career. Although this research project has been disseminated in academic forums, the aim of this report is to inform dance artists, teachers and students of the findings in an accessible format.
    • ‘It’s my dream come true’: experiences and outcomes of an inclusive dance talent development programme

      Aujla, Imogen (Wiley, 2019-12-10)
      There are few opportunities for young disabled dancers to develop their talents, and even fewer studies investigating their experiences of such opportunities. The aim of this study was to explore the perspectives and outcomes of an inclusive talent development programme, and how these were facilitated. Semi‐structured interviews and focus groups with one teacher, four young dancers and four parents revealed that participation in the programme yielded multiple benefits for the young people involved. These included high levels of enjoyment, improved technical and creative ability, greater independence and confidence, and opportunities for socialising with like‐minded peers. A range of factors facilitated these benefits, such as the inclusive and caring ethos of the programme, its comprehensive development and teacher training, particular teaching strategies, and relationships between staff, students and parents. The study attests to the value of programmes designed for young disabled dancers who wish to develop their talents.
    • Subjective wellbeing among young dancers with disabilities

      Aujla, Imogen; Needham-Beck, Sarah (Taylor & Francis, 2019-05-11)
      Little is known about the subjective wellbeing (SWB) of young dancers with disabilities and whether it changes over time. The aim of this study was to assess the SWB of young dancers with disabilities enrolled on an extracurricular inclusive talent development programme in the UK at two time points. Twenty-two young dancers completed the Personal Wellbeing Index for people with intellectual disability at the beginning of the academic year. Thirteen dancers completed the questionnaire a second time towards the end of the academic year. Scores were compared with normative values, and a Wilcoxon Signed Rank test was conducted to assess change over time. The participants reported high levels of SWB at both time points in comparison with normative values. There was no significant change in wellbeing scores over time. The study contributes to a growing body of literature suggesting that people with disabilities have high levels of SWB. Although causality cannot be assumed, inclusive dance programmes may contribute to SWB and allow young people with disabilities to overcome the barriers associated with physical activity.
    • Understanding the independent dancer: roles, development and success

      Farrer, Rachel; Aujla, Imogen (Edinburgh University Press, 2016-11-01)
      Little research has been published about the varied role of the independent dancer. The aim of this study was to provide insight into the work independent dancers undertake and how their careers change over time. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 independent dancers. Content analysis revealed that the dancers had multifaceted careers that relied on both formal and informal activities, and varied according to three distinct stages (early, middle, late). The experiences reported by the dancers indicated that the realities of the independent dancer's role are not sufficiently recognised or supported within the industry.
    • Within- and between-person predictors of disordered eating attitudes among male and female dancers: findings from the UK Centres for Advanced Training

      Nordin-Bates, Sanna M.; Schwarz, Johanna F.A.; Quested, Eleanor; Cumming, Jennifer; Aujla, Imogen; Redding, Emma; Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences; Curtin University; University of Birmingham; University of Bedfordshire; et al. (Elsevier, 2016-07-09)
      Objectives This longitudinal study examined potential predictors of disordered eating attitudes (DEA) for male and female dancers, with a particular focus on whether environmental predictors (perceptions of task- and ego-involving motivational climate) added significantly to the prediction made by intrapersonal predictor variables (demographics/training, self-esteem, perfectionism). Methods and Design Young dancers (N = 597, 73.4% female, M = 14.69 years old, SD = 2.04) from UK Centres for Advanced Training completed questionnaires 1–5 times over a two-year period, depending on how long they were enrolled at their centre. Multilevel modelling was employed to examine both between- and within-person predictors of DEA. Results For females, lower self-esteem and higher perfectionistic concerns were significant between-person predictors of DEA. Increased levels of perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns were significant within-person predictors. For males, increased perfectionistic concerns and perceptions of the motivational climate as more task- and ego-involving were significant between-person predictors of DEA. No significant within-person predictors emerged. Conclusions Findings contribute to the literature on DEA in aesthetic activities and the debate concerning the (mal-)adaptiveness of perfectionistic strivings. They also raise questions about how environmental aspects should best be conceptualized and measured in studies of this type. In particular, however, results demonstrate that the predictors of DEA among males and females may not be the same, and suggest that future interventions may therefore need to be sex-specific.