An investigation of professional ballet dancers experiences of flow and motivations perspectives

Vallo, Maria Ambra (2013). An investigation of professional ballet dancers experiences of flow and motivations perspectives. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.

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This study investigates professional ballet dancers’ experiences of flow: an extraordinary state of consciousness, reached by the dancers when fully immersed in their performance, which allows them to function at the limit of their physical and mental abilities, enhancing levels of achievement. Dancers’ flow experiences and motivational tendencies were analysed by quantitative and qualitative methods in order to test the theoretical relationship between intrinsic motivation and flow, to understand the performers’ subjective experiences of this optimal psychological state, and to identify factors that may help or hinder the achievement of flow in ballet settings. Fifty-four elite professional ballet dancers completed questionnaires measuring motivation and flow, and four participants were interviewed on their subjective experiences. The results demonstrated that intrinsic motivation was only weakly associated with the occurrence of this optimal state. The most self-determined form of extrinsic motivation, integrated regulation, was the most effective form of motivation associated with the frequency and intensity of the dancers’ experience of flow. Clear Goals, concentration on the task at hand, and autotelic experience were the most endorsed dimensions of flow, while challenge-skills balance, unambiguous feedback, sense of control and autotelic experience were the most representative characteristics of the interviewees’ optimal experience. Confidence was found to be the most influential psychological facilitator or inhibitor of their optimal experience. Lights, setting, floor, props, costumes, and musical conductor, were unique environmental and social inhibitors specific to the ballet world.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)


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