The role of puberty in the making and breaking of young ballet dancers: Perspectives of dance teachers

Siobhan B. Mitchell, Anne M. Haase, Robert M. Malina, Sean P. Cumming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)
210 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Physical changes associated with puberty may conflict with functional and aesthetic ideals for a career in ballet. The dance teacher is in a position to guide young dancers through the pubertal transition, although dancers rather than teachers are often the focus of research. This study explores the social stimulus value of the female body in ballet as perceived by the dance teacher and how value may change during puberty. Ten UK dance teachers were interviewed; interpretative phenomenological analysis was used. Four main themes perceived by dance teachers emerged as central to the social stimulus value of the body among adolescent dancers: the ideal body; teacher approaches to managing puberty in the dance environment; puberty as a 'make or break' stage in ballet; and teacher awareness of pubertal onset and the implications of timing. Dance teachers can play an important role in moderating external and individual expectations during the pubertal transition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-89
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume47
Early online date12 Jan 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Dance
  • Health
  • Maturation
  • Qualitative
  • Teaching

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