The Department of Education and The Leverhulme Trust jointly funded this ground-breaking three-year longitudinal dance science project at Laban. The project used scientific methods to examine the processes of developing talent in dancers aged 10-18 years.
Just under 800 young people training at the government funded Centres for Advanced Training (CATs) in dance around the country took part. The research was interdisciplinary, measuring physiological, anthropometric, psychological, injury-related, and creativity characteristics of talent in dance and exploring the factors that may contribute to its optimal development as well as to adherence and dropout. The project's findings contribute to the development of the CAT scheme, ensuring that it is developed in a rigorous and consistent way. The findings also inform pedagogic practice with young people across the wider sphere of dance education.
This is the first time a longitudinal study has examined young dancers in depth from a scientific perspective. Never before have dancers of any age or dance genre been studied in an interdisciplinary project that measures the characteristics of dance talent, their interrelationships and potential implications. It is also the first time an organisation has been in the position to follow a population of young people already identified as talented across a period of two years, thus enabling the notion of talent to be studied in depth.
The project measured a wide range of talent characteristics through quantitative and qualitative methods. The following variables were measured twice a year for two years:
- Aerobic fitness
- Lower leg muscular power
- Upper body muscular strength
- External hip rotation (turn out)
- Passive and active hamstring flexibility
- Anthropometry (arm span; height and sitting height; leg and arm lengths; calf, thigh and upper arm circumferences)
- General health
- Eating attitudes
- Motivational climate (psychological atmosphere in the studio)
- Passion for dance
In addition, interviews were conducted regarding:
- Commitment to training
To download a copy of the full research report click here
For other reports, see the Resources page.
CAT Symposium: Passion, Pathways and Potential in Dance
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.
A symposium in October 2011 launched the full findings of this research.
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