Foundations for Excellence: The nature of motivation: a question of ‘Why?’

dancer lunging on steps of Glasgow council building with large pillars. White female dancer with brown hair arms interlinked towards the sky. White cable knit jumper and white midi skirt.

By Eleanor Quested, Jennifer Cumming and Joan L. Duda, University of Birmingham

To train and perform as a musician or dancer requires high levels of effort, commitment and determination. There is little doubt that it ‘takes a certain something’ to rehearse and train for hour upon hour, as well as bounce back after unsuccessful auditions or periods of injury. These qualities are often captured by the term ‘motivation’. Motivation can be defined as the ‘drive to strive’ and is often inferred by the apparent effort and intensity directed towards a targeted behaviour. This infosheet explores the subject and offers strategies to sustain or improve the quality of your motivation.

Foundations for Excellence began as a Department for Children, Schools and Families’ Music and Dance Scheme conference in February 2009 at Dartington Hall. The energy that was evident at this event made it clear to the programme committee that this work needed to be developed and distributed further; to provide a resource to as many practitioners and young musicians and dancers to have access to the latest research, ideas, examples and good practice as possible.

Foundations for Excellence existed to share research, resources and best practice for the support and development of talented young musicians, singers and dancers. This was achieved through the online resource hub, the commission of new information sheets on a variety of specific topics and a biennial conference.

These information sheets were created by Foundations for Excellence in collaboration with One Dance UK’s Healthier Dancer Programme. You can find links to the other information sheets below.

Losing yourself in the work, or lost to nerves?
Beyond physical practice
The intricate dance between motivation, goals, and success in the performing arts: A guide for teachers
Managing Joint Hypermobility – A Guide for Dance Teachers


Who is this for? Health and Wellbeing

Created on 05 July 2023

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