CfP: TDPT Special Issue — Training for Movement, Physical Activity and Health — to be published June 2025

Call for contributions, ideas, proposals and dialogue with the editors

Guest Editors:
Dr Campbell Edinborough (Leeds), [email protected]
Dr Rebecca Stancliffe (Trinity Laban) [email protected]
Prof Andy Pringle (Derby) [email protected]
Training Grounds Editor: Zoe Glen (Kent) [email protected]

Physical inactivity is increasingly being linked to chronic health conditions and all-cause mortality. But despite a growing global interest in physical activity promotion, the varieties of movement and physical activity experienced by those who participate in performing arts training are rarely included or considered in policy documents and public health recommendations.[1] 

This special issue of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training will explore how performer training can be understood to offer opportunities for physical activity, movement education and exercise. It will analyse, evaluate and critique the ways in which performer training provides individuals and communities with unique and diverse opportunities for movement, exercise and play – providing an account of the ways in which performing arts participation might be understood as a valuable, alternative context for promoting and facilitating movement, physical activity and health from childhood through to older age.

Through exploring examples from professional training, participatory arts practice and education, the special issue also seeks to explore the critical and methodological questions that performing arts practices raise in relation to wider concepts of physical activity, movement training and health. The volume will provide space for analysing the ways in which paradigms of embodiment from the performing arts can be understood to provide alternatives to those found in the fields of public health, sport and exercise – articulating how performer training challenges deficit models of various health conditions and produces a more complex, and less isolated, view of health and wellbeing.

Contributions are invited on (but not limited to) the following themes and/or topics:

  1. The historical intersections between performer training, movement education and health. The editors seek contributions from scholars looking at the intersections between histories of physical education, health, and performer training.  Contributions in this area could include: analyses of the historical use of performing arts in the context of physical education and health (e.g. Margaret Morris, Rudolf Laban and global folk dance traditions); performing arts training that draws on knowledge from physical education (e.g. Georges Hebert’s influence on Jacques Copeau, the relationship between gymnastics and dance, or the influence of martial arts on traditional East Asian and South Asian performance forms); and the use of somatic education in performer training (e.g. Yoga, BMC, Feldenkrais and Skinner Releasing Technique in post-modern dance, or  F. M. Alexander’s influence on acting).
  2. Mixed mode analyses of how performing arts are used in promoting and facilitating physical activity and health in community and participatory contexts. We are particularly interested in submissions that investigate the specific qualities and characteristics of performing arts activities when implemented as physical activity, physical education and health interventions. The focus here may include how the performing arts encourages embodied self-awareness, relationality, ownership, and autonomy across the life course through creativity, artistry, and self-expression. 
  3. Analyses of performing arts as a means of promoting inclusion in physical education and physical activity.  Key points of focus here could include: analysis of dance as a context for encouraging participation in movement education and physical activity amongst girls and young women; theatre and dance as non-competitive contexts for moment and play; and the performing arts as a context for older people to keep active and develop movement competencies.
  4. Critical analyses of how dance and creative movement is used/taught/experienced within physical education curricula in schools. Contributions here might consider the challenges and benefits of including dance and creative movement within physical education curricula. 
  5. Pedagogical analyses of classical dance and theatre forms as life-long processes of movement education and bodily entrainment. (Examples might include: ballet, Kathakali, Khon and Noh).  
  6. Autoethnographic accounts of performer training as processes of movement education and physical activity.  We are interested in hearing from performing arts practitioners who can reflect critically on their training through the lenses of health, embodied experience or movement education.

We welcome submissions from authors both inside and outside academic institutions, from professional practitioners and those who are currently undergoing training or who have experiences to tell from their training histories.

To signal your intention to make a contribution to this special issue in any one of the ways identified above please email an abstract (max 250 words) to Campbell Edinborough ([email protected]), Rebecca Stancliffe ([email protected]) and Andy Pringle ([email protected]). Training Grounds proposals are to be made to Zoe Glen ([email protected]), copied to Campbell, Rebecca and Andy.

Our deadline for these abstracts is January 8th 2024

Theatre, Dance and Performance Training has three sections:

  • “Articles” features contributions in a range of critical and scholarly formats (approx. 5,000-6,500 words)
  • “Sources” provides an outlet for the documentation and analysis of primary materials of performer training. We are particularly keen to receive material that documents the histories and contemporary practices associated with the issue’s theme.
  • “Training Grounds” hosts shorter pieces, which are not peer reviewed, including essais (more speculative pieces up to 1500 words); postcards (up to 100 words); visual essays and scores; Speaking Images (short texts responding to a photo, drawing, visual score, etc.); and book or event reviews. We welcome a wide range of different proposals for contributions including edited interviews and previously unpublished archive or source material. We also welcome suggestions for recent books on the theme to be reviewed; or for foundational texts to be re-reviewed.

Innovative cross-over print/digital formats are possible, including the submission of audiovisual training materials, which can be housed on the online interactive Theatre, Dance and Performance Training journal blog:

Issue Schedule

  • 8th January 2024: proposals to be submitted.
  • Early March 2024: Response from editors and, if successful, invitation to submit contribution
  • March to July 2024: writing/preparation period
  • July to early October 2024: peer review period
  • October 2023 – January 2025: author revisions post peer review
  • June 2025: publication as Issue 16.2

We look forward to hearing from you.

[1] None of the proposed strategic actions from the WHO’s GAPPA mention the potential and existing roles that arts and cultural activities play in promoting and facilitating physical activity.  Likewise, the UK’s 2017 All Parliamentary Report, Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing, mentions physical activity only four times within ninety-nine pages (referencing participation in dance and music).