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Dance Psychology for Artistic and Performance Excellence With Web Resource

Dance Psychology for Artistic and Performance Excellence With Web Resource


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    The dance world is filled with technique books, which certainly serve an important role in helping dancers improve their performance. But the market has been conspicuously void of instruction on a vital aspect of dance performance: the mental aspect. By providing tools and strategies to enhance their mental toughness, dancers will be able to become more proficient and consistent in their dance performances, in addition to maintaining their wellbeing.

    Developing Psychological Strength in All Dancers
    Jim Taylor, a veteran sport and dance psychologist and author, and Elena Estanol, a dancer, dance teacher, choreographer and sport and dance psychologist, bring their experience and knowledge to Dance Psychology for Artistic and Performance Excellence to help dancers at all levels develop psychological strength to maximize their performance.

    Dance Psychology for Artistic and Performance Excellence will help dancers in these ways:
    • Understand how to use the mental aspects of dance to their advantage.
    • Learn simple techniques to raise their dancing to a new level.
    • Refine their technique and overcome performance challenges.
    Individualized Program and Web Resource Tools
    Dancers will build a strong foundation for performance by employing the dance-specific psychological strategies. The individualized program will help dancers reach their potential in artistry and excellence in school, the dance profession, and dance-related careers. The book comes with a companion web resource containing 32 worksheets that will help dancers grow mentally through reflection and self-examination. Dancers will be able to use these tools to refine their technique and overcome performance challenges.

    Scientifically Proven Psychological Methods
    Dance Psychology for Artistic and Performance Excellence incorporates some updated content from Taylor’s original best-selling book Psychology of Dance. Through the authors’ research and experience with dancers over the past two decades, this book offers the latest in scientifically proven psychological methods and practices that dancers have used to achieve optimal performance. As the authors write in their preface:

    What separates good dancers from the best dancers lies in how mentally prepared they are to perform their best, despite circumstances that dance and life throw at them. Dancers who are the most motivated to train, who have the greatest confidence in themselves, who perform best under pressure, who stay focused on their performance, who keep their emotions under control, and who are able to direct their emotions to elevate their performance and technique to true artistry are the most successful and revered.

    Key Psychological Concepts Explored
    To help dancers elevate their performance, the authors explore these concepts in the context of dance performance and provide practical exercises for each concept:
    • Self-knowledge
    • Motivation
    • Confidence
    • Intensity
    • Focus
    • Emotions
    • Goal setting
    • Imagery
    The authors also examine the foundations of dance psychology and delve into special concerns for dancers, including stress and burnout, pain and injury, and disordered eating.

    Making Your Mind the Most Powerful Tool
    Once you get to a certain level, your mind is your most powerful tool—or your most harmful weapon. Dance Psychology for Artistic and Performance Excellence will help dancers turn their minds into powerful tools not only to improve their technical and artistic performance but also to enhance their enjoyment, bring greater fulfillment, and enrich their lives personally and professionally. This text is an important contribution to the Human Kinetics dance list because it equips dancers with the psychological tools they need for success.


    Supplemental textbook for courses in technique and composition or dance company or ensemble courses in colleges and universities as well as magnet arts and other high schools. Also a reference for dance professionals and preprofessionals.

    Table of Contents

    How to Access the Web Resource
    Part I Building a Foundation
    Chapter 1 Foundations of Dance Psychology
    Chapter 2 Self-Knowledge
    Part II Prime Dance Pyramid
    Chapter 3 Motivation
    Chapter 4 Confidence
    Chapter 5 Intensity
    Chapter 6 Focus
    Chapter 7 Emotions
    Part III Prime Dance Tools
    Chapter 8 Goal Setting
    Chapter 9 Imagery
    Chapter 10 Routines
    Chapter 11 Individualized Program
    Part IV Special Concerns for Dancers
    Chapter 12 Stress and Burnout
    Chapter 13 Pain and Injury
    Chapter 14 Disordered Eating
    Chapter 15 Dance for Your Life
    About the Authors

    About the Author

    Jim Taylor, PhD, is a long-time sport psychologist and a consultant, speaker, and author who has worked with dancers for three decades. He is also a coauthor of Psychology of Dance, a predecessor of this book, and has consulted with Miami City Ballet. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. Taylor received a PhD in psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He enjoys skiing, running, and cycling.

    Elena Estanol, PhD, MFA, is a counseling sport psychologist, speaker, peak performance, wellness, and ADHD coach and executive director of Synapse Counseling, LLC, a wellness center that provides cutting-edge sport psychology services, eating disorder and ADHD treatment to dancers, athletes, and performing artists in Fort Collins, CO. She has spent most of her life dancing, teaching, and choreographing dance. She is a frequent consultant to dance schools, companies, and teams. Estanol is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, and the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science. She received her PhD in counseling psychology, MS in sport psychology, and MFA in kinesiology, choreography, and pedagogy from the University of Utah. In her leisure time, she enjoys hiking, yoga, dancing, writing, and aerial silks (aerial dance).


    The web resource includes 32 worksheets to guide your dance performance toward artistry and excellence. To view the ancillaries, visit