“The Show Must Go On!” Dance talent development in the context of coping during the COVID-19 pandemic

Howie J Carson*, Wendy Timmons, Florence Lebrun, Christine Nash, Dave Collins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Psychobehavioral skills are acknowledged as useful for coping within talent development pathways, but the idiosyncratic nature of challenge experienced across individuals makes it hard to evaluate their use and efficacy. This study aimed to explore the impact of a generic stressor, the COVID-19 lockdowns, on dancers within a talent development pathway. We were interested in how dancers were perceived to have coped with this challenge and what skills, if any, they used. Fifteen practitioners (11 females, 4 males; Mage = 42.3 years; Mexperience = 18.4 years) were interviewed across eight Scottish performance/educational government-funded organisations. Data analysis used reflexive thematic analysis. Findings revealed important perceived impacts on physical and psychological health and wellbeing, with the majority of participants reporting surprise that some coped differently than expected. Coping well was perceived to result from taking advantage of developmental opportunities, facilitative environmental factors, and possessing key psychobehavioral characteristics. Performers who were perceived to struggle did not cope well with teaching, interpersonal, physical, and psychological factors which were exacerbated by social/environmental contexts, leading to pathway disengagement/derailment. Data suggest a need for greater and proactive integration of psychobehavioral skills within this pathway to better support those advancing to professional status and those who do not.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalResearch In Dance Education
Early online date10 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Apr 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • dance
  • artists
  • schools
  • psychological characteristics for developing excellence
  • peformance arts


Dive into the research topics of '“The Show Must Go On!” Dance talent development in the context of coping during the COVID-19 pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this