An exploration of the perceptions and experiences of professional ballet dancers using a wellness monitoring application

Carly Harrison, Mandy Ruddock-Hudson, Sue Mayes, Paul O’Halloran, Katia Ferrar, Scott Ruddock, Jill Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Athlete injury and illness surveillance methods have been explored; however, dance-health monitoring systems are scarce. This study aimed to explore the experiences of professional ballet dancers using a wellness application, and the applicability of a wellness application for the dance industry. Fourteen professional ballet dancers (female n = 8, male n = 6), over the age of 18-years (M = 26.0 years, SD = 2.60) and employed full time in a national ballet company participated in one semi-structured interview, approximately 40–50 minutes in duration, reflecting on their perceptions and experiences using a wellness application. The interview material was analysed via thematic analysis. Three overarching main themes emerged: 1) Applicability of a wellness application in the professional ballet industry: experiences entering wellness scores; 2) Dancers conceptualisation of wellness: perceptions and difficulties; and 3) Psychological impact of entering wellness scores. Findings indicated that a wellness application enhances dancer’s self-awareness of wellness, specifically psychological wellbeing which is often ‘not at the forefront’ of dancers’ minds and focused attention. Further, dancers explained difficulties in processing and acknowledging wellness scores and subsequent avoidance as a coping mechanism from ‘confronting’ experiences of consecutive poor wellness scores. Monitoring wellness may assist companies in developing interventions that promote positive adaptive behavioural responses to changes in wellness scores for optimal wellbeing in training and performance. However, further education, support structures and strategies for acknowledging and coping with fluctuating wellness are required.

Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • avoidance
  • coping
  • Dance
  • fatigue
  • holistic wellbeing
  • prevention
  • psychological health
  • stress
  • wellness
  • wellness monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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