23 October 2022 1 – 4pm

Introduction to Physiological Development in Dance (Exeter)

With dance being a physical activity, it is crucial that dance teachers have a secure understanding of the physiological principles which underpin movement so as to ensure what they teach ensures safe progression through the different stages of physical development.

This lecture-based workshop will guide you through the principles of physiological development so that you can ensure your teaching is informed and safe for the students you teach. You will explore the fundamentals of gross and fine motor skill development, the stages of skill acquisition and how growth spurts can impact the learning of dance techniques. With a focus on children from pre-school age through to late adolescence, the workshop will look at what students are capable of from a physiological perspective at different ages and stages, and some strategies you should employ to maximise potential and ensure safe practice in your teaching.

Throughout the workshop there will be opportunities for reflection, discussion and sharing of your experiences/challenges in delivering safe practice in dance.


The aim of this activity is to equip participants with an understanding of how physiological development of children and adolescents impacts the learning and teaching of dance.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the activity, you will:

  • understand the types of changes encompassed by physical development for children and adolescents,
  • understand the developmental tasks of childhood and adolescence in relation to physical capability and how these can be promoted in the dance class,
  • develop knowledge about children’s physical competencies at different ages and stages as they relate to learning dance,
  • understand the biological basis of physical change at puberty,
  • have an understanding of the physical changes of puberty and the implications for dance practice and teaching, and
  • have an understanding of developmentally appropriate approaches to dance teaching specific to childhood and adolescence.


University of Exeter, Streatham Campus, EX4 4QJ

Recommended preparation

You will find further information regarding recommended preparation in your booking confirmation email.


Dr Siobhan Mitchell

Siobhan Mitchell 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, she completed her doctorate in 2018 and currently works as a Research Fellow in Child Health at the University of Exeter. Siobhan’s doctoral research explored the psychological and social implications of early and late maturation in young ballet dancers.

Siobhan is currently leading on an ESRC funded Impact Acceleration Co-creation grant (GuiDANCE) in collaboration with the RAD which aims to address the challenges associated with the pubertal transition for young people in dance contexts. Her research interests are in child and adolescent development and Siobhan is active in research both within dance and sport and in public health. Siobhan is passionate about education in adolescent development and regularly delivers workshops for dance teachers, dance students and parents of young dancers.

CPD Hours

4 hours Time-Valued CPD


Members of the Royal Academy of Dance receive discounts on all CPD activities.

How to book

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If you have any questions or concerns regarding the above, please contact the CPD Team, cpd@rad.org.uk

Before this workshop, Dr Siobhan Mitchell is delivering Introduction to Child Development and Dance. You can book onto both workshops for £86/€100/$104 (Members) or £103/€119/$124 (Non-Members).

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Key Information

Time Fee
1 – 4pm Member Fee: £65/€75/$78
Non-Member Fee: £91/€105/$110