CAT Symposium: Passion, Pathways and Potential in Dance
This symposium in October 2011 launched the findings of a three-year interdisciplinary research project into the development of dance talent among young people.
The research project
Nearly 800 young dancers training at eight
government-funded Centres for Advanced Training (CATs) were
involved in the largest project of its kind.
Over a three year period, the interdisciplinary
research measured a wide range of characteristics related
to dance talent (physiology, anthropometry, psychology, injury,
adherence, creativity) and explored the factors that may contribute
to optimal talent development. Qualitative
interview-based research also investigated how these
factors relate to both creativity and commitment.
Emma Redding, Head of Dance Science and CAT research
Principal Investigator, highlights:
"To be successful, a dancer must be technically and
artistically proficient, while also being motivated, committed and
able to cope with a demanding profession."
"Talent is not static or just about particular individual
characteristics; it is dynamic and affected by a wide range of
factors such as relationships, the environment, and cultural and
"Our research found that the CATs nurture both talent and,
at the same time, well-being; the way they do this is consistent
with best practice as defined by existing research."
The research team (left to right): Dr Imogen Aujla, Dr Sanna
Nordin-Bates, Dr Emma Redding
To find out more about the research project
and the team visit Dance Science Research: The CAT Research
Delegates who attended the event in October 2011 came from
a wide range of backgrounds and included dance educators, industry
professionals and leaders, academic researchers and policy
The programme combined research presentations,
breakout groups, plenty of discussion and, in the evening,
performances by the talented young CAT dancers.
Keynote speakers were Janet Karin
OAM, Kinetic Educator at the Australian Ballet
School, and Shobana
Jeyasingh, Artistic Director of Shobana Jeyasingh
Shobana Jeyasingh, in her keynote speech,
"Good training in whatever discipline gives talented
dancers that physical literacy to be able go beyond their
"The identification of talent and the training of talent is
of huge importance to the dance sector and it certainly touches on
the practice and product of choreographers such as myself in a
"It is not only the physical skills and accomplishments of
the dance trained body that play a key role in the
choreographic process but, if like me one works with creative
tasks to generate movement, it is also education, physical literacy
(which might be different to being a good technician), imagination,
psychological robustness, powers of thought and analysis
and social and interpersonal skills. All these feed into the
definition of what makes a talented dance artist."
"This valuable research done on the CAT dancers I am
sure will enlighten and have far reaching consequences for the
dance activity in all its aspects and I would like to put on
record both my gratitude and appreciation for this
The research findings presented were received
with enormous interest by delegates. Comments
made both during and after the symposium illustrate the
breadth of positive responses and the sense of
Here are just some of the delegates' thoughts
recorded during the course of the day:
"Develop students' passion in a safe and comforting
"Dance Science needs to be more integrated into dance
"My practice must never stand still"
"Minister's question: Is dance really worth doing and
funding? Answer: Yes, Minister, and today we have the
"CAT dancers are injured less than adult dancers!"
"We need to be change-makers as well as nurture tomorrow's
"Communicate passion as learners and facilitators of
Following the symposium, we received
fantastic feedback. A few of
"Congratulation on that very inspiring and interesting
symposium and of course to your achievement with this long and
intensive study with the CATs! It is impressive to see what
has been accomplished here in the UK."
"Really informative and inspiring and I've come back geared
up to disseminate the information to our teaching team"
"I felt proud to be part of such a great project"
"The report is fabulous - what a brilliant piece of work
that will be an important reference tool for anyone involved with
talented young people, for a long time to come."
"... a landmark point in dance history"
The research report
The full research report is available
on-line. Please click
here to download your copy (18.7MB).
Alternatively, you can buy a hardcopy of the 80pp full
colour report via our eshop here.
Please contact Angela Kerkhoff, Research Administrator, with any
For further information about Laban's Centre for
Advanced Training, please go to the Laban CAT; you can
find contact information for all CATs at National Dance CATs.
Last updated on Thu 16 May 2013 14.01h