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Talent development - Talent Identification

In general, talent development is a wide field with many important components. Whilst no model can guarantee success, literature in this review has shown, there are still certain aspects which will further positive development vs negative aspects which can hamper the unfolding of talent. Also, certain cultural pre-conceptions and narratives are still upheld by gatekeepers and can influence the environment the identities of the people in them.


Talent identification

Research has shown that talent identification requires multiple means of identification. This should be considered together with talent development to allow for the effects of maturation (Walker et al., 2010). Taking into consideration that no model can guarantee success and that factors such as chance and timing can be essential, studies show that if combined, several types of models could demonstrate how talent criteria can be adapted at different stages of development (Walker et al., 2010). Many psychological factors can be enhanced through training and may not be eligible talent identification criteria – but they are essential to talent development (Walker et al., 2010). Thus, research suggests that the dancers of tomorrow might be difficult to identify today if the means of identification are too rigid or exclusive (Walker et al., 2010).

Trajectories and age differences in talent identification

Studies have shown there are significant cultural differences, not only how dancer’s talent are first identified, but also how their talent has been developed (Chua 2014; Hutichinson et al., 2013). While students in the Netherlands were between 10-15 years old when their dance teachers first told them that they were talented, dancers in the USA, Russia and Mexico have been identified as «talented» at a mean age of 8,47 (Chua, 2014). Overall, there seems to be two different systems for developing ballet dancers (Hutchinson et al., 2013). Ballet training for children in more individual and Western-based cultures (i.e., American and Mexican cultures) mostly depended on the family’s economic resourses. Subsequently, this leads to only a small number of young dancers eventually being selected for the best training or participating in elite ballet companies (Hutchinson et al., 2013). In contrast, in collective-based cultures (i.e., Russian culture), children with a promising body type are selected at a young age, supported by government subsidies and enrolled in educational environments characterized by emphasis and pressure on success (Hutchinson et al., 2013).

Cairns, C. J. 2010. “In Pursuit of Excellence: Uncovering the Knowledge, Philosophies, and Expert Practice of the Classical Ballet Master.” PhD diss., University of Canterbury.

Chua, J. (2014). Dance talent development across the lifespan: A review of current research. Research in Dance Education, 15(1), 23-53.

Chua, J. (2015). The role of social support in dance talent development. Journal for the Educationof the Gifted, 38(2), 169-195.

Chua, J. (2016). The influences of an exemplary ballet teacher on students’ motivation: ‘The Finnish Way’. Research in Dance Education, 18(1), 3-2

Haraldsen, H. M., Halvari, H., Solstad, B. E., Abrahamsen, F. E., & Nordin-Bates, S. M. (2019). The role of perfectionism and controlling conditions in Norwegian elite jun- ior performers’ motivational processes. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 1366.

Haraldsen, H. M., Nordin-Bates, S. M., Abrahamsen, F. E., & Halvari, H. (2020). Thriving, Striving, or Just Surviving? TD Learning Conditions, Motivational Pro- cesses and Well-Being Among Norwegian Elite Performers in Music, Ballet, and Sport. Roeper Review, 42(2), 109-125. Haraldsen, H. M., Solstad, B. E., Ivarsson, A., Halvari, H., & Abrahamsen, F. E. (2020). Change in basic need frustration in rela- tion to perfectionism, anxiety, and performance in elite junior performers. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 30(4), 754-765

Haraldsen, H. M., Abrahamsen, F. E., Sol- stad, B. E., & Halvari, H. (2021). Narrative Tensions in Strained Junior Elite Performers’ Experiences of Becoming Elite Per- formers. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 1767.

Hutchinson, C. U., Sachs-Ericsson, N. J., & Ericsson, K. A. (2013). Generalizable aspects of the development of expertise in ballet across countries and cultures: A perspective from the expert-performance approach. High Ability Studies, 24(1), 21-47.

Pickard, A. (2013). Ballet body belief: Perceptions of an ideal ballet body from young ballet dancers. Research in Dance Education, 14(1), 3-1.

Sanchez, E. N., Aujla, I. J., & Nordin-Bates, S. (2013). Cultural background variables in dance talent development: findings from the UK centres for advanced training. Re- search in Dance Education, 14(3), 260-27

Walker, I. J., Nordin‐Bates, S. M., & Redding, E. (2010). Talent identification and development in dance: A review of the literature. Research in Dance Education, 11(3), 167-191

Walker, I. J., Nordin-Bates, S. M., & Red- ding, E. (2011). Characteristics of talented dancers and age group differences: findings from the UK Centres for Advanced Training. High Ability Studies, 22(1), 43- 60.


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