Talent in dance encompasses a complex and multifaceted set of abilities and traits combining physical, emotional, and cognitive domains. What makes the charismatic performer stand out? What do we see in a captivating soloist—Mikhail Baryshnikov, Judith Jamison, Anna Pavlova, or Fred Astaire—that we don't perceive among the corps de ballet? What is the relationship between the creativity of an outstanding dancer and the creative skills involved in inventing movement and choreography? These questions highlight the difficulty in defining dance talent. It is certainly more than physical prowess, but can common characteristics be identified and measured?

Different dance styles and techniques value different characteristics, but all involve interplay of kinesthetic and aesthetic abilities that distinguish dance talent as a communicative art form from pure athletic talent. The ...

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