Psychology for Dancers : Theory and Practice to Fulfil Your Potential book cover
1st Edition

Psychology for Dancers
Theory and Practice to Fulfil Your Potential

ISBN 9781138085183
Published August 1, 2018 by Routledge
208 Pages

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Book Description

Psychology for Dancers: Theory and Practice to Fulfil Your Potential examines how psychological theory can be related to dance practice. Aimed at the dancer who wants to maximize their potential but has no grounding in psychology, the book begins with an examination of basic psychological concepts, approaches and methods, before applying theory to dance.

The book explores why dance is so important in many people’s lives: as a form of fitness, a profession, or visual entertainment. Each chapter then examines a different aspect of psychology related to dance in an applied context. Self-perception is examined as dancers are under great scrutiny; a grounded sense of self will ensure a positive perception of self-worth and body image, and suggestions are made as to how a healthy and motivational climate can be created. The book also places an emphasis on how cognitive skills are as important as technical skills, including the ability to learn and recall steps and choreography as efficiently as possible. Social factors are related to the dance context, with a discussion of effective leadership and communication skills and the importance of group cohesion. Finally, there is a review of the impact of emotions on dance practice and how best to manage these emotions.

Each chapter reviews important psychological theories, offering practical suggestions on how they can be applied to dance practice. Psychology for Dancers is an invaluable resource for students, professionals, and teachers of dance.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Self-perception
  3. Motivation
  4. Skill acquisition
  5. Social factors
  6. Managing emotions
  7. Conclusions

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Cathy Schofield has been a lecturer in sport and exercise psychology for over 15 years. She has also been dancing for 45 years, including ballet, tap modern/jazz, salsa, street, jive, lindy hop, Zumba and FitSteps. She still appears in local shows as well as enjoying dancing in social contexts, most specifically funk, jazz and northern soul.

Lucy Start is an ex-professional classically-trained dancer who retrained as a dance educator and has been teaching dance for the past twelve years in the private and public sectors. As part of her professional role she has developed courses, choreographed countless productions and lectured at Move It Dance Convention, London.


A fascinating book that is well-tailored to suit the needs of a training dancer. The detail, along with the clear learning outcomes, makes this an accessible, thought-provoking and engaging tool. The personable approach allows the reader to mould the findings to complement their own practice; in both theory and practical work. A must have for any Dance reading list. Alice Marshall (Vale), Programme Leader BA (hons) Dance, University of Derby, Artistic Director of Adaire to Dance, UK

Psychology for Dancers is a very clearly written text book, ideal for the student dancer and teacher. Taking us through different psychological theories of performance specific to dancers, students will be able to easily navigate the book. Written in a style that is accessible, Schofield and Start outline basic theories, such as motivation, skills acquisition and self-perception. These are theories that are key to performers being able to understand what creates a healthy and successful dancer. As such, this is a very useful addition to the study of dance performance. Dr. Sara Houston, Department of Dance, University of Roehampton, UK