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  4. Membership Matters - Monthly Talks with Guest Speaker: Dr Siobhan Mitchell

About this event

Puberty presents a significant challenge for adolescents involved in sport, dance in particular. During this developmental phase, young people contend with physical, psychological and social changes; many of which directly impact performance, technique, selection and retention at top training establishments, psychological well-being, and injury risk.

Concurrently, the expectation for continued improvement remains and intensity of training increases. The challenges associated with pubertal change are further complicated by the significant variation in age of onset. Dance schools categorise and evaluate young dancers by chronological age, while individuals of the same chronological age may vary by up to five years in terms of their biological maturation. This approach overlooks individual differences in growth and maturation and has implications for the selection, retention and safety of young dancers.

The GuiDANCE project (Growing up in dance: Enhancing education and creating sustainable practices in growth and maturation in the dance sector) is a collaboration between the University of Exeter, One Dance UK, the Royal Ballet School and the Royal Academy of Dance led by Dr Siobhan Mitchell. The project aims to address the challenges associated with the pubertal transition in dance for young people. There are four key aims of the project:

  • To develop a dataset on the growth and development of young people in dance training which can underpin recommendations going forward
  • To review practices and protocols in the dance sector around growth and development
  • To evaluate and refine the education available on this topic within the dance sector
  • To work with partners to co-create a model of best practice for managing growth and development in dance and share this through an online resource and dissemination event

In this November Membership Matters, Siobhan will talk members' through some of the key findings from the project, and highlight how this information can impact your practice, with your own students.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have.


This webinar is FREE for members. You can watch our previous Membership Matters videos here.

Meet the speaker


Dr Siobhan Mitchell

Siobhan trained vocationally as a dancer before completing a BA Hons in Dance Studies (University of Roehampton), an MSc in Dance Science (Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance) and an MRes in Health and Wellbeing (University of Bath).

Awarded a full ESRC studentship in 2014, Siobhan completed her doctorate in 2018 and currently works as a research fellow in Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Exeter.

Siobhan’s doctoral research explored the psychological and social implications of early and late maturation in adolescent ballet dancers. Siobhan is currently leading on an ESRC funded Impact Acceleration Co-creation grant which aims to address the challenges associated with the pubertal transition for young people in dance contexts.

Siobhan is passionate about education in the area of adolescent development and regularly delivers workshops for dance teachers, dance students and parents of young dancers.

Pricing and more information

ISTD Member rate: FREE

Non-Member rate: £16

If you have any questions about this event please contact us via email:



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