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.
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Person: Research & Teaching, Core staff