“The Show Must Go On!” Dance Talent Development in the Context of COVID-19



Fifteen pseudonymised transcripts.


Talent development research has identified psychology as an essential component to assist performers negotiate inevitable periods of transition or challenge. Importantly, psychobehavioral skills are useful when either transitioning up or out of a pathway. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the likely maintenance, development, or transition-out of the dance talent development pathway (or enhanced performance within it) and the talent development support provided during COVID-19 lockdowns. Interviews were conducted with 15 teachers, lecturers, or dance masters/mistresses (11 females, 4 males; Mage = 42.3 years; Mexperience = 18.4 years) across eight performance or educational government-funded organisations in Scotland. Data were analyzed inductively and deductively using reflexive thematic analysis against the study aim to explore the specific psychological and environmental derivatives impacting on performers during COVID-19. Findings revealed important perceived impacts on both physical and mental health and wellbeing amongst performers, with the majority of participants reporting surprise that some performers coped better or worse than expected. Coping well was perceived to result from taking advantage of developmental opportunities, facilitative environmental factors, and the possession of key psychobehavioral characteristics. Performers who did not cope well struggled with a range of teaching, interpersonal, physical, and psychological factors which were exacerbated by social/environmental contexts, ultimately leading to disengagement or derailment from the talent pathway. These data suggest a need for greater and proactive integration of psychobehavioral skills within dance talent development pathways to best support those advancing to professional status and those that do not.
Date made availableApr 2022
PublisherEdinburgh DataVault
Temporal coverageMar 2021 - Apr 2021
Geographical coverageScotland

Cite this