Date of Award

Summer 2024



Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology


Educational Psychology and Methodology

First Advisor

David Yun Dai

Committee Members

David Yun Dai, Tianlin Wang, Seokhee Cho


artistic and physical talent, ballet, complexity in talent development, ecological perspective, qualitative studies, Korea

Subject Categories

Art Education | Education | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology | Gifted Education


Talent development occurs throughout an individual’s everyday life in a complex, evolving, and dynamic way. Focusing on the developmental perspective of human talent, this study aimed to comprehensively explore the long-term learning paths of students majoring in ballet in Korea. Six research questions were investigated regarding individual talent profiles in ballet, psychological and social stressors, the role of family and home, peer relationships, educational environments, and socio-cultural context. This qualitative study conducted in-depth interviews with 20 undergraduates and 14 parents about the students’ experiences in ballet. Through reflexive thematic analysis based on a hermeneutic phenomenological approach, six themes emerged as results: jagged profiles of individual talent in ballet, close connections between physical and mental stress, wraparound parental support, effective school curriculum and competent teachers, mixed feelings of rivalry and camaraderie among ballet peers, and culturally specific norms and priorities. The findings support conceptual changes in the definition of talent as an individual profile with a combination of multiple aptitudes and dispositions. The findings imply that the talent development process overlaps with various dimensions of a person’s daily life through multi-directional interactions between the person and environmental layers. The findings provide rich information about ballet education in Korea from an ecological perspective that supports the dynamics and complexity of talent development. This study provides more practical suggestions for parents, teachers, and policymakers on supporting artistically and physically talented students in pursuing their careers in safer, healthier, and higher-quality environments.


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