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Job Satisfaction of Professional Irish Dancers: Implications for Performer Health and Well-being

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This study investigates for the first time whether experienced former and current professional Irish dancers (PIDs) would recommend a career in Irish dance, and their perceived positive and negative attitudes toward this occupation. One hundred and sixty-five (71 current, 94 retired) PIDs participated in an online survey. Additional focus group interviews of six current and three retired PIDs were conducted to validate survey findings. PID comments were examined independently by the two investigators using thematic analysis and then cross-indexed and coded into the most common positive and negative themes. Ninety-four percent of surveyed PIDs and 100% of focus group participants stated that they would recommend a career in professional Irish dance. The main positive attributes identified included the opportunity to travel and experience diverse cultures, the development of enduring friendships, the pursuit of a hobby as a financially lucrative career, evolving personal life skills, and the maintenance of good physical health and fitness. The main negative themes included the insecure and short-term nature of the career, physical consequences in terms of pain and injury, potentially damaging psychological consequences, and practical difficulties inherent in a touring lifestyle. The effects of dancer job satisfaction on health, wellbeing, and performance are discussed, and recommendations for company managers and dance captains are developed based on findings.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Clinical Therapies, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland

Publication date: December 1, 2013

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